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Thread: could particle accelerators end the world/universe

  1. #1 could particle accelerators end the world/universe 
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    particle accelerators seem to be somewhat unknown by the general public.
    i hear lots of rumours along the lines of. a particle accelerator could create a black hole that could end the world.
    or manipulating the particles could create a chain reaction that could end the universe.
    I put it to people with great scientific brains. is there any truth behind these rumours?


    everything is mathematical.
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  3. #2 Re: could particle accelerators end the world/universe 
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    particle accelerators seem to be somewhat unknown by the general public.
    i hear lots of rumours along the lines of. a particle accelerator could create a black hole that could end the world.
    or manipulating the particles could create a chain reaction that could end the universe.
    I put it to people with great scientific brains. is there any truth behind these rumours?
    The idea of a particle accelerator creating a black hole is basically discounted by the fact that cosmic rays, which occur very frequently and have much more energy than an accelerator could provide haven't produced earth-destroying black holes, so an accelerator isn't likely to either.

    The 'chain reaction' than you mention (or maybe you know this) is the possible production of something called strange matter, which would then proceed to convert everything else to strange matter, and strange matter doesn't hold up as well as the matter we're used to, so everything would kind of fall apart (basically). But I imagine, again, there's not a great chance of this happening, because scientists likely wouldn't be doing experiments that they know would be potentially very dangerous. Although...if the Earth is destroyed, who's around to care?


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  4. #3 Re: could particle accelerators end the world/universe 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemboy
    But I imagine, again, there's not a great chance of this happening, because scientists likely wouldn't be doing experiments that they know would be potentially very dangerous.
    I agreed with everything else you wrote except this. It seems invalid on two grounds. Firstly, this assumes that scientists can be aware of all potential problems with an experiment. Secondly, it assumes that no scientist is reckless, or wholly insensitive to risk. I think both these assumptions are false.
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    Forum Junior Twaaannnggg's Avatar
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    Can you spell "basement under a Chicago sports stadium"?

    And to answer your initial question: If you make certain assumptions, yes there might be the chance to produce miniature black holes in the LHC in -or rather underneath - Geneva. But those - according to theory - behave differently from a BH formed by the collapse of a star or the supermassive BHs in the center of galaxies. So do not lose sleep over this. The accelerator at the SUNY National Synchrotron Light Source at Long Island was actually intended to mimic Quark-Gluon-Plasma that's supposed to have exist very shortly after the Big Bang and a couple of ButtNuts protested against the start-up of said accelerator for exactly the same reason: The End of the world as we know it. As far as I am concerned the world's doing just fine this very moment
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  6. #5 Re: could particle accelerators end the world/universe 
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Chemboy
    But I imagine, again, there's not a great chance of this happening, because scientists likely wouldn't be doing experiments that they know would be potentially very dangerous.
    I agreed with everything else you wrote except this. It seems invalid on two grounds. Firstly, this assumes that scientists can be aware of all potential problems with an experiment. Secondly, it assumes that no scientist is reckless, or wholly insensitive to risk. I think both these assumptions are false.
    That's a very good point and something I definitely missed. Thank you for pointing it out. I suppose I should change what I said to "I should hope that scientists wouldn't do anything they know would potentially be very dangerous."
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twaaannnggg
    Can you spell "basement under a Chicago sports stadium"?

    And to answer your initial question: If you make certain assumptions, yes there might be the chance to produce miniature black holes in the LHC in -or rather underneath - Geneva. But those - according to theory - behave differently from a BH formed by the collapse of a star or the supermassive BHs in the center of galaxies.
    I read that should a black hole be created, it would be very small and immediately fold into the 5th dimension, being lost to this world. Sounds a bit out-there, but that's what I read.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Junior Twaaannnggg's Avatar
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    Hey, those guys doing the research are waaayyyy out there and I must admit that I do not really understand (as in "use this theories to explain things and make predictions) most of their stuff but I understand that the BH should be detectable due to their decay and the particles that result from this decay.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemboy
    Quote Originally Posted by Twaaannnggg
    Can you spell "basement under a Chicago sports stadium"?

    And to answer your initial question: If you make certain assumptions, yes there might be the chance to produce miniature black holes in the LHC in -or rather underneath - Geneva. But those - according to theory - behave differently from a BH formed by the collapse of a star or the supermassive BHs in the center of galaxies.
    I read that should a black hole be created, it would be very small and immediately fold into the 5th dimension, being lost to this world. Sounds a bit out-there, but that's what I read.
    Fold into the what??? Well you are right about the harmless result any way. A small one would give off Hawking radiation very quickly to release the energy put into it and disappear, so unless you use world destroying quantities of energy to make the black hole then it is no big deal. In fact, the general answer to the danger of such accelerators is the conservation of energy, which scientist have a very high degree of confidence in.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    yeh i was a bit skeptical about the rumours.

    seems to me that if particle accelerators could end the world it would of happened by now.
    also consulted my physics teacher, and he said that the LHC may create miniature black holes but they would instantly be destroyed or fold in on themselves.


    the general answer to the danger of such accelerators is the conservation of energy
    can you expand on this idea please. i don't quite understand sorry
    everything is mathematical.
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  11. #10  
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    I have images in my head of a bunch of blokes in lab coats stood around a miniature black hole whirling around, saying "Awesome!"
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  12. #11  
    Forum Junior Twaaannnggg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimboWizbo
    I have images in my head of a bunch of blokes in lab coats stood around a miniature black hole whirling around, saying "Awesome!"
    If the temporal resolution of your percetion is on the level of 10^-20 seconds and the spatial resolution on the order of 10^-3 nm then you could probably do this. Most of the time results of your experiments in modern day physics is unimpressive to the naked eye if not invisible.

    Click here to see a Bose-Einstein-Condensate forming. Absolutely hot topic when it comes to quantum computing but rather unimpressive
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  13. #12  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimboWizbo
    I have images in my head of a bunch of blokes in lab coats stood around a miniature black hole whirling around, saying "Awesome!"
    Twang's point is that the kind of harmless black hole we are talking about would not be visible to the naked eye - not even close. In fact it would not be much different than the other massive particles produced in the collider, a brief existence marked mainly by shower of particles and radiation produced by their decay.
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  14. #13 Re: could particle accelerators end the world/universe 
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    is there any truth behind these rumours?
    Rumors of what will be created, possibly. Rumors of the end of the world, HA!

    This is the same ignorance which causes the field of nuclear physics to be so stunted. The general population is afraid of anything with the word "nuclear" in it, since they believe anything with said word is an atom bomb or a radioactive deathray.

    MRI machines were originally called NMRI's (the N for Nuclear) but people (patients) refused to go near them because it was "nuclear".
    Wolf
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