Friday, December 5, 2008

Atom Smasher LHC

Do you have any advice for the skeptics out there that think the LHC collider may create a black hole?


There are equations and theories that can be written down, which show that any black hole formed in our accelerators would be VERY VERY small, and live for only VERY VERY short lengths of time. So short and so small, that they probably cannot be detected, certainly not very easily. They evaporate very quickly. But, to fear that they can be formed and destroy the earth (or even destroy the accelerator!) are totally unfounded.

One simple argument people point out is that we here on earth are constantly bombarded by particles from outer space. The sun and stars and distant galaxies spew out particles all the time (we call them Cosmic Rays) and pass through the earth. (They're passing through you right now!) We constantly detect these particles with our detectors here at Fermilab all the time. In fact, if you're interested, your teacher can see about getting a Cosmic Ray Detector through the QuarkNet program -- visit the web site:

The point is, the particles from space often have MUCH more energy than we can produce with our accelerators. And these particles have been reaching the earth for billions of years -- and the earth is STILL HERE! So, if black holes can be formed this way, they've already been formed (and evaporated) and haven't harmed the earth. So, there should be no worry about the energies that we reach with our accelerators.

-Mike Syphers

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