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LHC Black Holes: Worst Case Scenario

September 10, 2008 on 10:48 am | In Physics, black holes |

So, the LHC has turned on, and has circulated protons both clockwise and counterclockwise inside of its main ring. These particles, at their fastest, will get up to 7 TeVs of energy apiece, which means they’ll be moving at 99.99999898% the speed of light! To give you a feel for how close that is, the speed of light is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second. In the LHC, these protons move at 299,792,454.9 meters per second. Pretty damned impressive!

The world hasn’t been destroyed yet, obviously, but what happens if one of those collisions makes a black hole? What is the worst case scenario for the Earth here?

Well, the most massive black hole one can possibly make is if all of the energy from the collision goes into making that black hole. Let’s assume that one million of these collisions occur, and all of them make black holes, which can then merge together (again, this is incredibly, unrealistically optimistic, but let’s go for it). For the maximum collision energy at CERN (14 TeV), E = mc2 tells us that the end black hole would have a mass of 2.5 x 10-14 grams. That’s 25 femtograms, which means this black hole would have an event horizon trillions upon trillions of times smaller than the size of a proton.

Now, maybe you think it’s reasonable that this black hole, if it’s created at rest, would simply fall into the Earth, consuming all the particles in its path. Let’s assume it could do this, in fact, and let’s find out how much mass it would eat.

As it falls into the Earth, it starts running into protons, and let’s assume whenever it runs into one, it gobbles it up. By time it gets to the center of the Earth, it will have eaten about 10-16 grams of matter, which means it can grow by about 0.4% in the 30 minutes or so it takes to get to the center of the Earth. It will then head towards the other side, gobbling up that matter until it stops in the upper mantle, and then heads back towards the center of the Earth. It should do this over and over, each time gobbling up more matter (at a constant rate of about 4 x 10-16 grams per hour), each time getting farther and farther away from the Earth’s surface, never to quite reach it again.

At this rate, it would still take three billion years for the black hole to suck in even one gram of matter! So the chances of this happening?

Zero. Not one in 50 million, like Martin Rees says, but zero. This is the worst case scenario, and it still takes billions of years to even eat one gram’s worth!

And if we come back to reality, we learn one more thing. Black holes decay, and the smaller ones decay the fastest. Even if you managed to make this 25 femtogram black hole, it would decay into normal matter incredibly fast. How fast? According to Hawking radiation, this black hole will be gone in 10-66 seconds, which means, unless there is some incredible new physics (like extra dimensions), we can’t even make a black hole! Why not? Because anything that happens in a time less than the Planck time (10-43 seconds) cannot physically happen with our current understanding of physics.

So there you have it: the worst case scenario. Still scared? Back off, man. I’m a scientist!


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  1. See?! You said it yourself! It can’t decay!

    Doomed! We’re doomed, I say!

    Heh. Thank you. I’d actually pondered just how small it’d be (not that I believe it’ll be made). Nice to see some numbers.

    Comment by Sili — September 10, 2008 #

  2. Know what’s amazing about this LHC thing? A post I wrote a while ago was actually picked up by WIRED!

    Are we famous now?

    Comment by ethan — September 10, 2008 #

  3. I agree with your overall conclusion that there is no risk. However, I do not understand why you claim that the hypothetical black hole would have a constant rate of growth.

    The Schwarzschild radius is afaik proportional to the mass of the black hole, and if we assume that its gobbling of matter is in turn proportional to the radius, the growth should be exponential.

    You assume growth by 0.4% every 30 minutes. This roughly corresponds to a 10% increase per day and a doubling every week. Such growth is quite powerful. The Earth would have about 2.4*10^41 times the mass of the original black hole, and this means 137 weeks would suffice to swallow the Earth whole.

    (It would probably be much faster as the hole would eventually come to “rest” in the center of the Earth and as soon as its mass is big enough to exert noticable gravitational pull, as opposed to only colliding without otherwise interacting, it would suck everything in fast.)

    Comment by Jeppen — September 10, 2008 #

  4. Ya know what I like about this site? That you use real numbers. I read other astro-blogs that give good, if fuzzy, overviews, but Startswithabang has spelled out a number of things for me that make them clearer, often because there are real numbers and some real (and simple) math included in the posts. Even if people take issue with a post (as in Jeppen’s comment), the numbers are there for discussion. Excellent job!

    Comment by Kendall — September 10, 2008 #

  5. Jeppen,

    It’s a constant rate of growth (about 4 x 10-16 grams per hour) as long as the radius of the black hole is smaller than the size of a proton. It is *not* an exponential growth, which it would be if it were growing by 0.4% every 30 minutes. It grows by 0.4% for the first 30 minutes.

    The size of a one gram black hole, FYI, corresponds to a Schwarzschild radius of 10-30 meters, or about a quadrillion times smaller than the radius of a proton. That is why the gobbling of matter is not proportional to the radius; the radius is too danged small!

    Your contention might work, but you’d have to start with a 1015 gram black hole, which is about a billion tons. So don’t worry, there’s no way the LHC can produce that.

    Comment by ethan — September 10, 2008 #

  6. Jeppen,

    I think you forgot to account for the fact that the black hole would evaporate via Hawking radiation, and that the rate of evaporation is inversely proportional to the size of the black hole. As stated, “Smaller black holes evaporate faster.” The one discussed would be gone in 10^-66 sec. So, your point is moot. The black hole would evaporate long before it would have a chance to ‘eat’ enough and grow big and strong.

    I think the idea of such a small black hole is interesting, however. With such a small black hole, it would have to collide almost exactly with a particle for anything to occur. Considering atoms are made of so much empty space and that the black hole is so small, it seems to me that if the black hole lived long enough to encounter an atom, the worst damage it would do is suck up an electron or two or a proton or neutron here or there. This hardly spells the end of the world.

    Comment by Richard Helmich — September 10, 2008 #

  7. Great post, and I’m sure it will calm down the skeptics, but you know that some conspiracy theorists will NEVER believe anything remotely resembling rational thought.

    Doomed!! Doomed I say!! The reptilian master plan worked!! We will be sucked into their dimension where they will make us work as sex slaves!!

    Oh yeah baby, rational thought is for squares :)

    Comment by Jon — September 10, 2008 #

  8. Thanks, Jon. When all you find left of me is my tungsten carbide wedding ring, you’ll know it was the reptiles who got me!

    Comment by ethan — September 10, 2008 #

  9. The problem I see here, is that at some point blacks had to start, maybe they didn’t start out at the size of this one, but what piece of math suggests that as they consume more matter that their rate of sucking in more material stays constant? I can’t imagine, and maybe that is the problem, that all the massive black holes that supposedly exist took more than a few hundred million or a few billion years to grow to their current size, because alot of the ones we are seeing are from back at the beginning of the universe. So if black holes grow so slow on their own, what allows massive ones to form so quickly. Is combining with other supernova created black holes the only way it can happen in a span less than the current age of the universe.

    Comment by Mars Man — September 10, 2008 #

  10. Hm. Well as the mass gets bigger, doesn’t the schwartzchild radius also get larger? Implying at least some sort of nonlinear growth.

    Two, the statement of zero risk imply that the Hawking evaporation model is exactly correct. Which is at best unverified. No one can even say what the risk is to certainty. It’s not implausible that the micro black hole has a chance encounter with dense matter then continues to accumulate mass, no matter how implausible.

    The gut however says the chances are phenomenally low, but is it worth risking the earth over the gut? Maybe we should build this thing in space.

    Comment by Yonemoto — September 10, 2008 #

  11. You forgot to link to the LHC Rap:

    Once you get past the cheesiness of it, I think viewers will find it’s actually pretty good.

    Comment by Brian — September 10, 2008 #

  12. I am glad to here what this won’t do, but has the thought of what it might be able to do, been discussed? Might it be possible to use this technology so we may be able to travel at light speeds? I have read some articles stating that one way to exceed the speed of light would be to warp space time by shrinking it in front of a space craft and warp it again by expanding it behind the space craft. If we can create black holes, couldn’t this technology be adapted as a space time warping catalyst? Granted, this is a simplistic explanation but the basic idea seems fairly sound.

    Comment by cowboy John — September 10, 2008 #

  13. […] este artículo lo escribió Ethan Seigel en su blog Starts With A Bang!, es un científico y yo básicamente me limité a traducir su post, para tranquilizar a nuestros […]

    Pingback by Haplo » Blog Archive » ¿Nos va a matar el Gran Colisionador de Hadrones? — September 10, 2008 #

  14. […] aqui (em inglês) as probabilidades, tamanhos e duração de buracos […]

    Pingback by Números do LHC, isto é, buracos negros! « A ciência como ela (me) é (?) — September 10, 2008 #

  15. While I think any black hole will evaporate the instance it was made, I wonder what will happen if more than a single hole was created at a time at close proximity? Will they merge? ;P

    Comment by Daniel — September 10, 2008 #

  16. I don’t get why “Cern” would take such a chance and base the blackhole risk on a theory.
    People are already killing themselves over fear of a blackhole.

    Myself, I have a anxiety problem and just thinking of scientists making something that has a potential danger towards earth and all of humanity makes me depressed.

    I’ll for sure email/call all my friends and family before they start shooting particles at each other, just in case its the end of days.

    Comment by Jeremy — September 10, 2008 #

  17. thankyou that was very intresting

    Comment by leigh — September 10, 2008 #

  18. Well now this ruins my day. So you’re telling me I can’t skip next month’s mortgage payment? Spoil sport.

    But ok, smarty, what if you have that little black hole and it actually does slip into the other 11 string-theory dimensions? It will at least make a big noise on its way out even if only a radio-noise and what if THAT gives some wunderkind the notion for a new kind of postal-service delivered EM-pulse weapon? I mean, if string theory is right, then like em>anything is possible!!

    Comment by mrG — September 10, 2008 #

  19. Great blog and even better comments Ethan!

    My concern is that I find Reverse Hawking Radiation very plausible.

    If dark energy exists all around us and virtual particles are formed near the micro black hole…

    Fast initial growth from Reverse HR eventually dominated by gravitational accretion.

    Now take the argument to the next level.

    If all that existed before the big bang was dark energy and a single micro black hole what would happen?

    Comment by JTankers — September 10, 2008 #

  20. Assuming 1eV = 1.6022 × 10-19 j and c = 299 792 458 m / s, then 14TeV = 2.243 x 10-6 j, and I calculated m (E/c2) to be 2.5 x 10-23 kg or 2.5 x 10-20 grams (25 zeptograms).

    Is a while since I have done this sort of thing though, so my maths may well be out.

    Comment by Ian — September 10, 2008 #

  21. Richard: I didn’t “forget” the Hawking radiation, that’s why I stated that I agree with Ethans overall conclusion. My post concerned the growth of a hypothetical black hole without HR.

    Ethan: Ok, I accept that the radius is too small for growth to be proportional to it - thanks for the explanation.

    However, have you considered the high pressure and rapid movements of particles in the center of the Earth? Also any quantum effects - how determined are the positions of the black hole and any close-by particles (Heisenberg uncertainty), really, and how does that relate to a black hole’s gobbling? To me, this is not a given. Can you say for sure that your calculations take everything into account?

    Again, please note that I fully accept that Hawking radiation takes care of stuff, but I find the theoretical discussion disregarding that interesting anyhow.

    Comment by Jeppen — September 11, 2008 #

  22. great….so now i have to go to work today?

    Comment by dw — September 11, 2008 #

  23. If the event horizon is trillions of times smaller than a proton, then if/when a proton does get swallowed, it would cease being a proton as it is torn apart. I don’t know if pulling apart a proton is endothermic or exothermic, but that withering proton is going to either gain or emit energy and probably lots of it. If any of what I just said is even remotely correct, then wouldn’t that energy transfer “kill” the little black hole on the first proton it tried to eat?

    Comment by SteveF — September 11, 2008 #

  24. WRT the energy released by one proton as it is consumed by the singularity, though I am not a scientist, my lay person’s understanding of the subject tells me that the energy released is insignificant compared to what is happening to hold the black hole together. Remember, with the exception of Hawking radiation, nothing that a black hole eats never comes back out. That’s a tremendous amount of force being exerted. The conversion of one proton completely to energy seems paltry compared to that.

    But here’s a thought. As I said, I’m no physicist, but as I recall from my college physics, a proton is not one solid entity, but made up of smaller particles. Considering the incredible smallness of the singularity, wouldn’t it be more likely that the black hole would “eat” one of the subparticles of the proton and leave the others alone?

    And here’s another thought. Atoms are mostly space. Just for argument’s sake, let’s assume that this incredibly small singularity does get created and begins its roundabout journey to the center of the earth, what’s the odds that it will even come in contact with a proton as it falls through the interior of an atom? Isn’t it far more likely to miss due to the extreme distance between electron shell and nucleus? (I’m sure the probability is not zero, but I bet its really small!)

    Okay, I’m done with my questions now.


    Comment by John in Missouri — September 11, 2008 #

  25. One question…is Hawking radiation proved real?, how can you use something uncertain to certainly say it won’t occur?


    Comment by mBH — September 11, 2008 #

  26. So, the following assumptions were made in this calculation:
    1) When a black hole collides with a particle, whether it be a proton, neutron, or electron, it eats the whole thing. Any other assumption will cause the black hole to grow more slowly than this one. (Although it’s plausible that, as black holes pass through a proton, they won’t capture anything at all.)
    2) So long as a proton (radius ~ 0.8 x 10-15 meters) has a larger cross-section than the black hole (whose cross-section doesn’t approach the proton’s until its mass is already ~ 1012 grams), the proton’s cross-section dominates, and the black hole’s is negligible. (That’s why a growing black hole doesn’t consume more matter until it passes a certain threshold.)
    3) Hawking radiation is wrong, otherwise the black hole would decay instantly. (Hawking radiation is probably right, and so the black hole probably will decay instantly. Still, this is a worst-case scenario.)
    4) There are only 4 dimensions; if there are more, the black hole will live longer than expected, possibly even longer than the planck time, depending on the number of extra dimensions. This is why people are saying a detection of black holes will be a signature of extra dimensions, so long as they can distinguish a black hole from a neutral. unstable charged particle with no quantum numbers.

    There are some interesting comments here, but I’ve never heard of a few of these ideas.
    Reverse Hawking Radiation? Why would such a thing happen?
    Why would CERN risk destroying things based on a theory? It’s all theories; are you saying that we shouldn’t have discovered electricity or nuclear power because it could’ve been destructive and was based on a theory?
    We haven’t discovered any black holes (or black hole candidates) that are smaller than about a few-tenths of a solar mass, so we don’t even know whether tiny, tiny black holes can reasonably form. Can they?
    And finally, Ian in the comments is right; I lost the “-6″ in the exponent when I went from Joules to grams. I actually did the calculation for a million ‘14 TeV black holes’ that all merged together and fell into the Earth. I will edit the article to reflect that.

    Thanks for the great comments!

    Comment by ethan — September 11, 2008 #

  27. Since the world has not ended and we all have to make our mortgage payments, could you please calculate the risk of getting killed driving to work in the morning… or better yet just stepping out the front door… and compare it to the risk of the LHC killing us?

    Comment by Aaron — September 11, 2008 #

  28. Aaron makes a good point. When will the improbable D-Day be? Yesterday they ran protons in one direction then ran them in the opposite direction. When will they run them little bugger protons into each other? After all, it’s possible that the workers at CERN are actually Vorgons and they are simply making room for a highway… Now, where’d I put my towell…

    Comment by SteveF — September 11, 2008 #

  29. Ethan, I’d love to read your explanation of the Higgs Boson. how does it result in “mass”?

    Comment by sdrDusty — September 11, 2008 #

  30. All I see is an opportunity to expand our understanding of how things work, and a way to advance ourselves beyond our wildest dreams! what a great time to be alive.

    Comment by Dan — September 11, 2008 #

  31. […] […]

    Pingback by The LHC « Scepticon — September 11, 2008 #

  32. […] to LHC, I was fortunate enough to go through this interesting web site from a Astrophysicist called Ethan Siegel. Here are some statistics to say how improbable it is to even think about the world ending due to […]

    Pingback by LHC Black Holes: Worst Case Scenario ! « Sudip’s Place on the Net — September 11, 2008 #

  33. let’s hope then that our current understanding of physics is the correct one.
    Let’s also hope that the project will be worth all the lives the $3billion it cost to build, could have saved.

    Comment by vincent — September 12, 2008 #

  34. […] posts de otros blogs, o meterme en la misma pelotudez amarillista de los medios, paso a linkear este post de este blog donde describen el “Worst Case Scenario”, eso es el peor de los casos, si se llegaran a […]

    Pingback by Un agujero negro made in Earth? « TaTooKa’s BLoG — September 12, 2008 #

  35. One question…is Hawking radiation proved real?, how can you use something uncertain to certainly say it won’t occur?


    Comment by mBH — September 11, 2008 #

    So you’re perfectly happy to accept that minature black hole are ‘proved real’, but Hawking radiation is bunkum? You don’t see any problem with that?

    let’s hope then that our current understanding of physics is the correct one.
    Let’s also hope that the project will be worth all the lives the $3billion it cost to build, could have saved.

    Comment by vincent — September 12, 2008 #

    And how many lives would that be? And which lives? $10G really isn’t all that much (and the US ‘only’ contributed about $500M - though that was back in ‘97).

    Let’s see - how many lives have the Internet saved? I mean that was also just a random off-shoot of CERN. It’s not like it’s ever made any difference. People are still bombing, shooting and starving eachother. In fact why did we ever leave the caves? We’re still dying! What’s the point?!

    Sorry, Ethan. I seem to be venting a lot lately. I guess that’s a sign I need to get a blog …

    Comment by Sili — September 12, 2008 #

  36. Sili,
    It’s ok. I do my venting here, too. It’s a good outlet for me. That’s a funny sentiment though: blogging as anger-management therapy!

    Comment by ethan — September 12, 2008 #

  37. Ah, though your points are well taken, Sili, I’m afraid you are incorrect on one small detail. The Internet was created by ARPA, a Defense-related research organization put together by the United States Defense Department. I think what you are referring to is the advent of the World Wide Web, which piggybacks on the Internet–that CERN can rightfully and proudly take credit for.

    Comment by John in Missouri — September 12, 2008 #

  38. […] Posts If the LHC won’t get you, what will?LHC Black Holes: Worst Case ScenarioRumors abuzz about Dark MatterWeekend Diversion: Fun with the Sun and MoonThe future of Telescopes: […]

    Pingback by If the LHC won’t get you, what will? | Starts With A Bang! — September 12, 2008 #

  39. […] Posts Weekend Diversion: Gone Camping!If the LHC won’t get you, what will?LHC Black Holes: Worst Case ScenarioRumors abuzz about Dark MatterWeekend Diversion: Fun with the Sun and MoonThe future of Telescopes: […]

    Pingback by Weekend Diversion: Gone Camping! | Starts With A Bang! — September 13, 2008 #

  40. Haven’t they turned it on yet? It is really a massive piece of scientific equipment of which the purpose could not be fathomed.

    Comment by Jomark Osabel — September 13, 2008 #

  41. Of course, John. My apologies. I guess this is what happens when I get riled up.

    Thanks, Ethan.

    Comment by Sili — September 13, 2008 #

  42. How am I supposed to use pickup-lines like “I heard it’s the end of the world, so this is your last chance, let’s go!” now? You have ruined everything!

    Comment by Linus — September 13, 2008 #

  43. Black hole? BLACK hole? Is that a veiled reference to Michele Obama?

    Comment by fellow democrate — September 13, 2008 #

  44. With all the reality based things in the world there are to worry about, being destroyed by a black hole should rank 10 to the -100 power in importance! Is anyone out there with a femogram of sence left?

    Comment by Adrienne — September 13, 2008 #

  45. This whole thing is an amazing step for man kind!!!!!!!! I WISH OTHERS WOULD UNDERSTAND!!

    Comment by CALGARY MAN — September 13, 2008 #

  46. so if they make a black hole that eats the earth, how long will it take? will everything be instant gone or take maybe 10 min? or even years?

    Comment by carni — September 13, 2008 #

  47. Wow, I feel really stupid now, but at least my life doesn’t revolve around hypothetical events…

    Comment by Jeff Berkley — September 14, 2008 #

  48. Hi Ethan, great blog!

    Just one question: according to your 4th assumption “There are only 4 dimensions; if there are more, the black hole will live longer than expected”.

    But doesn’t this assumption mean that this is not the worst-case scenario? I mean, should not the worst-case scenario take into account the existence of more dimensions?
    So, there must be something I don’t get here, what is it?

    Comment by Deddy — September 15, 2008 #

  49. […] Planck time (10-43 seconds) cannot physically happen with our current understanding of physics. LHC Black Holes: Worst Case Scenario | Starts With A Bang! On the other hand if a black hole is very small the radiation effects are expected to become very […]

    Pingback by Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in action - Page 2 - Interfaith forums — September 15, 2008 #

  50. Deddy,

    The point is that even if they *do* live infinitely long because of enough extra dimensions, they still don’t affect us. Or rather, they eat about a gram’s worth of mass from the Earth in 3 billion years. I think that’s an important point to make!


    Comment by ethan — September 15, 2008 #

  51. very impressive Blog. I am glad so many people are aware of the possible dangers that the LHC experiments bare.

    After having done a lot of personal research, also discussions with physicists and drawing my own conclusions based on logic and intuition I’ve decided to make a video that hopefully can contribute to make people think and perhaps even to make those folks at CERN stop playing God. Anyway, here’s the vid:


    Comment by shadow — September 15, 2008 #

  52. “the speed of light is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second” IN A VACUUM.

    //fucking religitards (shadow)
    ///how do you play something that doesn’t exist?

    Comment by Phil E. Drifter — September 17, 2008 #

  53. ps: they’re not going to automatically be slamming atoms together at top speed (i.e. 99.9999~% the speed of light), they’re going to start ‘much’ slower, and start measuring the effects from there.

    IF the effects SUGGEST that they could cause a black hole that would eat the entire earth if they sped them up more, I’m sure they’d stop the experimenting.

    Comment by Phil E. Drifter — September 17, 2008 #

  54. Shadow,
    Thanks for the link to your video. I disagree with the conclusions you’ve reached in it, however; I don’t find much validity in those arguments.


    I appreciate the sentiment of support, but we can do it without alienating people just because of differing belief systems. The important thing is that regardless of beliefs, they understand science and the scientific process.

    Comment by ethan — September 18, 2008 #

  55. Did you see this video?

    Comment by Till — September 22, 2008 #

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  57. Hi Ethan,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this and follow up on comments, I have a few questions.
    1. Are your calculations on Hawking Radiation based on the black hole being in a vacuum or constantly bombarded by particles as it would be if created in the LHC ring?

    2. I thought that Hawking Radiation only applied to spinning black holes and related to the velocity near the event horizon, does this scale well with micro black holes?

    Thanks Again.

    Comment by unomi — September 23, 2008 #

  58. Whups forgot one:
    3. The environment of the LHC will be one of many collisions and the constant release of particles much smaller than a proton ( that is after all the whole point of a collider ) while these particles are considered to decay fairly quickly yet slowly enough that they can be picked up by sensors and the like, would the ready supply of sub proton sized particles affect your model of micro black holes?

    Comment by unomi — September 23, 2008 #

  59. It turns out the Collider is going to be out of commission for 2 months from what the news says. It may even be longer due to this place shutting down for winter too, Thank god! These scientists are freakin retarted and I hope it never works. They suck for building this and I hope the machine falls to pieces b4 they shoot out the protons or whatever the hell they are doing to create the big bang experment. What a scarey piece of shit experiment and why the hell is the world sitting back & allowing it??? WTF????

    Comment by Cher — September 23, 2008 #

  60. Cher,
    Nobody tried to stop you from trying to turn back time; I don’t see why you’re opposed to others doing it in their own particular fashion?

    To answer your questions:
    1) In vacuum. Fortunately, 10^-66 seconds is so short that even in the LHC, bombardment is negligibly small.
    2) Hawking radiation applies to all black holes, regardless of angular momentum.
    3) Yes, but it would actually result in the creation of even smaller mass black holes than the ones I used in this calculation.

    Comment by ethan — September 24, 2008 #

  61. Ethan, I oppose because it scares me. The possibility of black holes forming and growing freaks me out, sorry. I do not have any interest of knowing about the unknown. They can do all the experiments they want, but no one will ever know the real story if you want my opinion. It’s like the chicken question… What came first, the chicken or the egg? We will never know…

    Comment by Cheryl — September 24, 2008 #

  62. 1) in vacuum.. So not the environment of the LHC which is chokfull of all kinds of radiation?
    This is the formula you used or?

    3) What I meant was that you would have more readily absorbable particles/radiation for a fledgling black hole.

    as for your argument involving the short time a micro black hole is deemed to exist, how do you account for the black holes that do seem to exist?

    in a collapsing star scenario, wouldn’t you always start with ‘1′ black hole caused by a limited number of particles at the center where the density is highest?

    Comment by unomi — September 24, 2008 #

  63. […] original Starts With A Bang!. Categorias: JuggernautCrunch, Humor, Salva el planeta, […]

    Pingback by — September 25, 2008 #

  64. Cheryl, the whole point of what I’ve written is that there isn’t anything to be afraid of. We understand the physics that arises from the LHC well enough to know that it doesn’t pose a danger to us. We also don’t understand it well enough that we may discover new particles there.

    Unomi, for #1 and #3, the black hole doesn’t exist long enough to encounter any of the radiation or particles that exist in the LHC, which is why it’s fine to treat is as though it’s in vacuum. The important part of the Hawking radiation formula is that the survival time is proportional to M^3, so that’s why, as long as you create one that is initially massive enough, it doesn’t decay.

    Comment by ethan — September 25, 2008 #

  65. What I am wondering is how do you create one that IS massive enough?

    In a collapsing star scenario is the black hole not created at the moment the conditions are sufficient for even a micro-black hole?

    Are you saying that a micro black hole will absolutely encounter numerous virtual particle pairs in the right conditions to cause evaporation, but will not encounter any of the particles or debris from the 600 million collisions per second(from cern website)

    Comment by unomi — September 25, 2008 #

  66. Unomi,

    In a collapsing star scenario, the central core is initially a densely packed series of atomic nuclei. Although the density is comparable to the densities in the LHC (perhaps even slightly lower), the volume is huge, so the mass is allowed to be much greater. Once you create a black hole that is about 100,000 kg, or the mass of about three fully-loaded Mack Trucks, it will live long enough to eat mass faster than its decay time, and it can grow into a stellar-sized monstrosity.

    A micro black hole that lives for 10^-66 seconds will have, on your odds of 600 million collisions per second, a 1 in 10^56 chance of encountering one particle from a collision. That’s the same as your odds of winning the New York State lottery jackpot eight drawings in a row. The virtual particles are always there, however, so there is about a (10^56 - 1) in 10^56 chance of encountering them instead. So yes, that is what I’m saying.

    Comment by ethan — September 26, 2008 #

  67. Ethan, Thanks, I hope you are right. I am not worrying about this again until spring. I just feel we should not be messing around w/ mother nature, that’s all. I have a 10 year old son that heard about this from school and he is scared now. It is heart breaking & difficult to explain to him that we will be ok, and at the same time, not allow my fears to show. But, your web-site has made me feel better, so thanks. :) There are other things in the world right now to be worried about (our economy) so this will go on the back burner for now. Peace out…

    Comment by Cheryl — September 26, 2008 #

  68. Ethan,
    I just want to say that it is a pleasure to be able to discuss this with you, I enjoy being able to learn in this format. I also want to apologize if I come across as agressive.
    In many ways I am simply trying to get a handle the models that you use.

    ‘the volume is huge, so the mass is allowed to be much greater.’
    Isn’t black hole creation a function of density slash pressure?
    You seem to be saying that the ‘core’(implying a sizable volume) of a collapsing star will somehow instantaneously transform itself into a black hole of considerable mass. Where I take it that in the very center when the pressure is great enough a very limited number of particles will coalesce, this would then cause a reduction of volume. Certainly the void will be filled rapidly but not instantaneously.

    It is interesting that black holes force virtual particles into appearing, they do not seem to be limited in number or have bounds on the frequency with which they can appear, so why do they not interact with larger black holes ‘constantly’? if a black hole can cause an unlimited(infinite?) number of instantenously appearing virtual particles why wouldn’t they all bleed out ‘instantaneously’ when you consider background radiation is finite.
    if they are bound by planck limits, wouldn’t that also hold true for the micro black hole scenario?

    Comment by unomi — September 27, 2008 #

  69. Hi, Ethan! A sociological consideration: it’s incredible how fast and how deep this whole “earth-destroying black hole” story has spread across the world. Children scared… Reading Cheryl’s comment remembered me of my childhood, when my friends and I would hear about the tremendous effects of a possible nuclear war and had to live with this constant anxiety (and the chances then were real, not like in this para-scientific scenario).
    People need reassurance: I wish there were more “actions” like the one you did here with your blog.
    Thanks again,

    Comment by Deddy — September 27, 2008 #

  70. Hi Ethan,
    Hope you haven’t left us.
    I reread what I wrote and I can see you might be shaking your head and given up on the discussion.
    What I meant to allude to regarding density slash pressure was the fact that it seems that the schwartzchild radius would be met / exceeded initially at the very core due to what I only have the term of compression forces to describe.

    Let me know if you think this is an unreasonable assumption.

    Comment by unomi — September 30, 2008 #

  71. Cheryl,
    I’m sorry it’s difficult to see your son afraid of things. But I’m happy that you’re using this opportunity to show him that there’s no need to be afraid of things in the world once you understand them; knowledge takes away the power of things to scare you irrationally.

    I’m glad you found such positive things in my simple writing! Thanks for the compliment.

    Sorry for the lateness of my reply. Black hole creation isn’t a function of density as much as it is of total mass. Our Sun, for instance, is not a black hole, and has a smaller density than Earth. But if you increased its total mass by a factor of 10,000 and kept it at the same density, it would turn into a black hole!

    It sounds like you’re worried that if black holes can radiate energy away so efficiently when they’re small, then how could they ever grow in mass to form larger ones? The simplest explanation (and I’m not sure it’s right) is that the radiation (i.e., energy) has nowhere to escape to, since the matter surrounding it is so dense. I hope this helps,

    Comment by ethan — October 1, 2008 #

  72. Hi Ethan,

    This is way off subject but it sure would be nice if the contrast/font/colors were a little easier to read on your site, my eyes can use all the help they can get, my color deficiency doesn’t help either.

    Thanks for the interesting articles, I particularly enjoyed your analysis of “Null Physics”

    Good luck on convincing the paranoid

    Comment by Tired Eyes — October 1, 2008 #

  73. Thanks TE,

    I’ll see if I can darken the background further for you. I like the look and layout, but if the text is hard to read, maybe I can do something about that. Check back later this evening.

    Comment by ethan — October 1, 2008 #

  74. Thanks Ethan,

    Seems a little better. It’s likely the color hues are the real culprit. I can appreciate that those with normal color vision have a difficult time understanding the impact slight changes in hue can have on those with a color vision deficiency. It’s something I have lived with all my life and since my version of the deficiency affects only about 1% of the population it’s not something for you to fret about, thanks for the improvement. There are some sites that want to be creative in the use of color and they are truly impossible to read, thankfully, yours is not one of those. Best wishes and clear skies.

    Comment by Tired Eyes — October 1, 2008 #

  75. Tired eyes,
    Thanks. I hope it is a little better — I like the layout and the picture, but I’d like for everyone to be able to read it, too!

    Comment by ethan — October 1, 2008 #

  76. screening comments now?

    Comment by unomi — October 1, 2008 #

  77. Weird This wouldnt go thru the first time:

    But if you increased its total mass by a factor of 10,000 and kept it at the same density, it would turn into a black hole!

    And yet, it seems that :

    is saying that if you compress the current mass of the sun to a radius of 3km then it does become a black hole?

    Isn’t that the fundament of the theory of highly energetic interactions such as the ones at LHC being able to create Micro Black Holes? That all this energy is forced into a small area? IE that it is energy relative to volume it is compressed into rather than energy in ‘absolute’ terms


    Comment by unomi — October 1, 2008 #

  78. Unomi,

    I have a spam filter that watches out for too many links. There are two ways to make it happen; one is to compress what we currently have, like wikipedia says. But you could also have a very sparse, diffuse, but massive object. As long as light can’t escape from it, you’ve got yourself a black hole. Both ways will make one.

    Comment by ethan — October 1, 2008 #

  79. It sounds like you’re worried that if black holes can radiate energy away so efficiently when they’re small, then how could they ever grow in mass to form larger ones? The simplest explanation (and I’m not sure it’s right) is that the radiation (i.e., energy) has nowhere to escape to, since the matter surrounding it is so dense.

    Yes that was my thought aswell, that in the initial stages these nascent black holes would alternate between being formed and evaporating in a stream of gammarays that would serve to energize the surrounding matter yet not enough to withstand the inwards pressure, you would get a period of oscilation in the center, a K-Z reaction like non-equilibrium effect. Until finally you get to a point where the schwartzchild radius is big enough in relation to hawking radiation.

    This still leaves the question of the manner in which virtual particles can collapse into ‘being’ if we posit that ‘black holes can just make a number of virtual pairs (honestly it must be a very high number indeed if we say that a subset of them are in the exact right conditions to have just one particle ripped into the black hole) so what *is* this number it can create? and why wouldnt it be infinite and instantaneous?

    Comment by unomi — October 1, 2008 #

  80. Virtual particles are really just a visualization tool. It isn’t like we understand “the physics of nothing” well enough to conclude that there’s a number it can or cannot create. The fact that there’s a micro-black hole there (i.e., that space is so curved in such a small region) is what’s causing the decay to happen so quickly.

    I suspect that what’s going on is that the core of the collapsing star creates a high enough density over a large enough volume so that hawking radiation is slow compared to the rate of stellar collapse, and that’s when you get a black hole.

    Comment by ethan — October 2, 2008 #

  81. e physics of nothing” well enough to conclude that there’s a number it can or cannot create. The fact that there’s a micro-black hole there (i.e., that space is so curved in such a small region) is what’s causing the decay to happen so quickly.

    the fact that the virtual particle pairs are forced to interact/that there is a result of them being there that is over some threshold (i suppose) causes them to collapse into being.
    As far as I understand everything is a wavefunction with all possible states superimposed until there is some interaction.
    Its somewhat hard for me to visualize what everything is when everything is a wavefunction, it is also somewhat difficult under those circumstances to know why it would collapse into being with a particular set of parameters rather than another set of parameters that would also cause an interaction. For example, if we say that interacting with a black hole crosses the threshold of ‘having been observed’ as per the copenhagen interpretation, then particle pairs that induce hawking radiation is just a statistical probability, unless we also say that the only kind of interaction that crosses the threshold is the kind that results in hawking radiation.
    In that case all virtual particles that ‘come into being’ cause hawking radiation, and the only explanation for the existance of black holes is that there is some limiting factor in how many virtual particles are available over a certain period.

    To say that black holes over a certain limit have access to more background radiation or other sources of energy/mass than what is lost to hawking radiation is to imply that virtual particles are finite or limited in how quickly they are ‘replenished’.

    If they are limited in such a fashion, obviously these limits would apply to how they can interact with micro black holes as well.
    In the end I reckon the cat knows.

    Comment by unomi — October 2, 2008 #

  82. Can we not just decide to stop this? Come on….I don`t wanna!!! I`m serious I don`t care how curious the scientists are I don`t wanna and I live here to can`t we send them all somewhere else to do it first I`m scared just STOP PLEASE!!!

    Comment by Aishling — October 2, 2008 #

  83. The fact that there’s a micro-black hole there (i.e., that space is so curved in such a small region) is what’s causing the decay to happen so quickly.
    Actually sorry I don’t know what you mean by this.

    Comment by unomi — October 2, 2008 #

  84. Well, maybe I can guess, and in that case I think it would be more fair to say that because there is something there that the virtual pair can interact with etc.
    Unless I am missing something there would be no difference in a micro black hole’s ability to collapse particle pairs into being compared to a more conventional black hole, apart from the fact that a conventionally sized black hole would have a much greater ’surface area’ in which to do so.

    So it seems that for all this to make sense, limits would have to be imposed on the creation of virtual pairs?

    Comment by unomi — October 2, 2008 #

  85. Aishling,
    The whole point of this article is to show you that there is no way that what’s going on at the LHC can, in any reasonable way, harm anybody. You are infinitely more likely to die from setting your own pajamas on fire than you are from a collision at the LHC. Your chance of death from the LHC is zero, and so there’s nothing for you to be afraid of.

    The reason Hawking radiation works faster for smaller black holes is because the only place Hawking radiation can occur is at the event horizon. For micro-black holes, the event horizon is very close to the singularity, but for larger ones, it is kilometers away. That is why space is more curved at the event horizon for tiny black holes, and that is why they decay so much more quickly.

    Comment by ethan — October 3, 2008 #

  86. That would make sense if the universe was a computer game from the 80’s where you could only have a set number of ’sprites’ / elements in play at once. You fire off 3 missiles or whatever and you have to wait until one of them hits a target or goes offscreen before you can fire more.

    So you are implying a set number of virtual particles? Welcome to the matrix on an underpowered computer.

    If not, then obviously a larger blackhole will have a larger event horizon surface.
    We could have a discussion about volume as it relates to surface area and what that would imply about mass and differing ratios of loss. However,lets skip that and affirm that it all goes back to set limits on the rate of virtual pair production, yes?

    Comment by unomi — October 3, 2008 #

  87. Unomi,

    You talk about the “rate of virtual pair production” as though it’s something that’s both constant and well-understood. I am telling you that it is neither, as far as we understand it.

    But if we do assume that there is a set density and I look at it from your point of view, my argument still works. Here’s why: for a highly curved event horizon, a large percentage of virtual particle pairs will have one fall in and the other escape. The escaping one is a bit of Hawking Radiation. For a barely curved event horizon, they will either both fall in (who cares; they still annihilate) or neither falls in (who cares, they annihilate), and you get no radiation. So it’s not about the rate of pair production as much as it is about the rate of one falling in and the other escaping, which is the rate of Hawking radiation.

    Comment by ethan — October 4, 2008 #

  88. An event horizon is (as I understand it) a clearly delineated perimeter where matter/energy that is inside it is unable to escape, and matter/energy that is outside potentially could.
    I would imagine the ‘thickness’ of this perimeter is as thin for a large black hole as a micro one.
    It is true (or so I have read) that for larger black holes the energy of the escaping particle is much lower, this could be due to the inceased curvature and hence cost of escaping the gravitational field even when outside the event horizon. Obviously the event horizon surface area increases with the mass of a black hole, and so would the number of orphaned particles.

    I realize that virtual pair production is not well understood, which is why I point it out.
    Considering that this ‘not well understood’ mechanism is at the heart of your supposition I think you can understand why it is interesting to me.

    The point I am trying to make is that we should all be sceptical, there is, in my mind, no inherent difference between blind faith of one or another.
    All scientific ‘truth’ that we have and use now has supplanted and invalidated past scientific ‘truth’. To think that the scientific truth of today will not be invalidated in the future is I think chronocentric hubris on the worst order.

    People tend to be overconfident of their own ability to appreciate and discern. Unfortunately many will use their influence to discredit science which does not fit into their cultural world view. The scientific community has ample evidence of this; Eddington vs Chandrasekhar, Einstein vs Gambling.

    1951 January 1, Albert Einstein, letter to Maurice Solovine, as published in Letters to Solovine (1993)
    I have found no better expression than “religious” for confidence in the rational nature of reality […] Whenever this feeling is absent, science degenerates into uninspired empiricism.

    It is a shame that.. but this is the human condition.
    I know that you meant well with your article, but to me it reads as no different than :
    1611, King James Version of the Bible, I Timothy 6:20-21
    O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding vain and profane babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

    I am not religious, I am however a devout sceptic. Nor do I really care if I am to die by black hole, honestly I think it would beat cancer.

    But lack of intellectual curiousity is disconcerting.


    Comment by unomi — October 5, 2008 #

  89. Ethan,
    My apologies, your argument regarding a soft gradient gravitational field leading to a decrease in differentiation between outcomes for one particle of a pair vs another seems entirely reasonable.

    Comment by unomi — October 5, 2008 #

  90. Unomi,
    Of course, the only way to test everything is to actually do the experiment, and that is important for science of any type.

    We don’t know whether we should be confident that there is a nature of reality that is rational, but our empirical scientific laws appear to be constant in time.

    And don’t worry about it; understanding how quantum mechanics works in highly curved spacetimes is a very difficult area with a lot of active research going on in it!

    Comment by ethan — October 6, 2008 #

  91. hey guys there;s no chance of a black hole being formed in the LHC. You see they r going to collide the protons with 99.99% the speed of light. according to the theory the matter(i.e. the protons) will get converted into energy and this energy wont stay in this form it will again start to convert into matter. this theory is actually the big bang theory for a black hole to form it needs matter to be more than 3 solar masses and even u can imagine the difference between the mass of two protons and 3 solar masses not to mention the high amount of energy. and the result of the collision will be the subatomic particles that is matter and antimatter that is the four fundamental forces viz. the strong nuclear force the weak nuclear force the electromagnetic force and the weakest of them all the gravitational force. nd so as expected by the theory there will a kind of war between the matter and antimatter nd if correct then the matter will be abble to survive. nd they have done a lot of research and calculations nd have judged all the possibilities nd then only have conducted the experiment. so its clear that there will be no black holes as a result of this experiment nd plzzz sorry to say that dont rely on the news channels nd the newspapers especially the indian ones. as u have stated above that what if all the energy goes into making a black hole???
    well there will be only one collision initially nd not trillions so the energy generated will not be much and i repeat black holes need mass more than three or i think even four solar masses when the supernova explodes and also the stars have to be supergiants. if its less than that then it turns into a neutron star if even the energy is used up. so idont know what to say else but these were my views maybe sumthing new must have been discovered u r i think a professional astrophysicist……………. so plzzzzz dont think dat i am opposing u
    all that i have written were atleast the known facts so i took the liberty to share them
    if u agree with my views let me know thru e-mail ill be happy as this will clear the doubts from the minds of thousands of people.

    Comment by astrodude — October 21, 2008 #

  92. is it not possible that black whole can grow much bigger as it starts to eat.

    does the blackholes really evaporate.?

    if yes then why till now the black whole that exists in our solar system has not evaporated?

    Comment by Niraj — November 2, 2008 #

  93. Niraj,

    Big black holes take a long time to evaporate; it’s the small ones that evaporate very quickly. It means they won’t live long enough to grow unless you create one that’s large enough in the first place. Small ones have to be bigger than a few million or billion grams, or they’ll evaporate relatively quickly. For the one at the center of our solar system, we’re okay, because it comes in at about 1039 grams. So it’s not going anywhere soon.
    But yes, as long as we understand quantum mechanics, the black hole will really evaporate.


    Comment by ethan — November 2, 2008 #

  94. Ethan

    Im Writting a 4 parts issue on this LHC controversy, but i need your help.

    I Read in sompelaces that Jtankers says that cosmic rays, never hit white dwarfs and neutron stars in 1 year, as well as never, even putting some caulculations….

    can you correct them?, or tell me what do you think?

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 8, 2008 #

  95. Baragon-kun,
    I don’t know who Jtankers is, but the only thing that could possibly keep cosmic rays away from something like a White Dwarf and/or a neutron star is its magnetic field. For neutron stars, they’re very strong, for white dwarfs, they’re about 10,000 times weaker.

    We have millions of cosmic rays hitting Earth, including incredibly high-energy ones. I haven’t done the calculations myself, but considering that most high-energy cosmic rays are Protons, I can’t think of a good reason why they wouldn’t enter the magnetic field, shower (produce new particles while losing energy) and eventually decelerate and strike the surface of the star in question.

    Can you link to Jtankers’ work somewhere?


    Comment by ethan — November 9, 2008 #

  96. Hi Ethan,
    I don’t know who Jtankers is either, but I found a quotation from “a” Jtankers here.
    By the way, what do you think of the ideas expressed therein?

    Comment by Deddy — November 9, 2008 #

  97. Deddy,

    Thanks for the link. The ideas in that link are articulated fairly well, but it is mostly invalid (although a few of the calculations are correct). First off, the micro-black-hole creation probability is extremely tiny, which his estimates are grossly incorrect about. Second off, his ideas about the rates of accretions are completely incorrect, as you can see from rereading the article I’ve written here.

    Jtankers’ profile is here. Note that he is a former military man and a software developer who works in consulting. Notice that he has no credentials or publications in physics. I’m not saying he didn’t do his calculations correctly, but I’m saying that if you’re looking for a credible expert, I have no reason to believe that he is one.

    But the big problem with his estimates (11-25% chance that the LHC will be catastrophic for Earth) is that they are not logically arrived at, just like most of the numbers quoted in the article. This isn’t surprising, considering the author is not a scientist, and has no background in research science. It’s somewhat interesting, but horrifically wrong. And remember that: the ideas expressed by someone are only as good as the person doing the expressing.

    Comment by ethan — November 9, 2008 #

  98. Quote by Ethan
    The ideas in that link are articulated fairly well, but it is mostly invalid (although a few of the calculations are correct)

    what calculations you say?

    In the profiles of Jtankers and Fausto Intilla, they say that they are interested in particle psysics and Intilla says that he is a scientific populizer, while Jtankers says that he is an independent physics researcher, but how this make them scientist and psysics?

    also, can you point a few of the erros in that article.

    and a few more things, if theres anythong aside from hawking radiation, that avoid the micro black hole to grow up faster, in less time, lets says, 4 years, and lets think, the sixe of a tennis ball?.

    and if is true that the black holes grows more slowly by the time, then how do normal ones do grow more faster?

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 9, 2008 #

  99. oh and when you say the probabilities of Micro Black Hole creation are extremely tiny, how much in numbers and porcentage?

    cause someone says that 0.01% actually means 100%

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 9, 2008 #

  100. and 3)

    if the LHC does collisions 600 million x second, awhat if it does 600 million micro black holes per second, and all of them dont decay or even worse, become one big one???

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 9, 2008 #

  101. and number 4)
    in what model you based your calculations???

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 10, 2008 #

  102. dammit ethan, WHERE ARE YOU????

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 11, 2008 #

  103. I’m at work! Working! At my job!

    Alright, kid, calm down. First off, I don’t understand how they calculate their numbers. Here’s what I don’t get.

    1.) 100% of the collisions cannot make black holes. Not even 1% can. We know this already from the events we’ve already seen at low- and high-energies. At most, we’re talking about 1 per 600 million, and that’s wildly optimistic.

    2.) If you do make one, it will evaporate from Hawking Radiation in more than 99% of scenarios, including the wild extra dimension ones.

    3.) Even if they do stick around, they will not be 0.02 grams in mass, that is ridiculous. I calculate above that one collision gives you 2.5 x 10-20 grams in your black hole. That takes a looong time to grow. Like, billions and billions of years to be even the mass of a grain of sand.

    4.) Normal ones grow because their gravity is strong and they can pull things in. At this level, gravity (even of a black hole) is insignificant, and the black hole just has to get a “lucky collision” to do anything.

    5.) I base this on a conservative model of standard particle physics. I have my PhD in theoretical physics. I have a number of published papers in different journals about physics, astronomy, and even one about extra dimensions.

    Even if your (impossible) 600,000,000 black holes merge immediately scenario comes true, it will still take billions of years for the black hole to grow to even one gram.

    I’m not worried.

    Comment by ethan — November 11, 2008 #

  104. Quote from Ethan:
    “I’m at work! Working! At my job!
    Alright, kid, calm down.”

    Well, Ethan, now you know what you put youself into when you wrote this article ;) And no matter how many times you will repeat the same answers: it will never end, unless you decide to stop it (or untill the LHC finally turns on and it turns out that you were wrong LOL! ;) [joking]

    Seriously, you have my total admiration, thanks again,

    Comment by Deddy — November 11, 2008 #

  105. thank you sir, and i apologize, it just that the last days i got related lhc dreams, and itmakes me feel uncomfortable

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 11, 2008 #

  106. just one more question?

    theres any possibility that cosmic ray collisions should not have relation with particle collisions on colliders?

    or how its possible that this style of collisions cane be similar?

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 14, 2008 #

  107. The question you’re asking about is total energy. For a particle accelerator, it’s just double the energy of the particle, or 2 * 7 TeV = 14 TeV for the LHC. (The TeVatron, at Fermilab, gets up to 2 * 1 TeV = 2 TeV.) One TeV, by the way, is 1012 eV.

    But what about cosmic rays? It’s basically one super-energetic particle hitting another one at rest. How much energy is available to make particles? The formula is that total energy = sqrt( 2 * m_particle * E_cosmic ray ). Although a proton at rest has a mass of just 938,000,000 eV, cosmic rays can be up to (and over) 1020 eV. Which means they get a total energy of 433 TeV, which is about 30 times as powerful as the LHC will ever be.

    Neat, hmm? Maybe that deserves its own post?

    Comment by ethan — November 14, 2008 #

  108. thanks mr ethan, if you do a post over this, it will be so helpful

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 14, 2008 #

  109. but i was actually asking about this

    2 proton moving at speed of light on colliders agaisnt 1 proton moving faster and smashing with one at rest

    the results will be the same (refering to hypotetical products), after all we are talking about elementary particles in colliders, there is a diference in cosmic rays?

    Comment by baragon-kun — November 14, 2008 #

  110. Okay, let’s hope I answered it for you:

    Comment by ethan — November 14, 2008 #

  111. Mr Ethan

    Im 13 Years old, and i got 2 questions to ask:

    1.- if there any possibility that cosmic rays only produce charged black holes, while the ones at the LHC will have no charge?

    2.- jow do you know the longevity of neutrons stars and white dwarfs, one friend tell me that whiet swarfs only live for a few seconds, and how did you know that cosmic rays collide with them too?

    Comment by Milli Eliionor — November 19, 2008 #

  112. by the way my daddy tell me abou these, but i got nightmares and i feel sad

    Comment by Milli Eliionor — November 19, 2008 #

  113. Milli,

    Thanks for your questions. First off, it is possible to have a charged black hole; they’re called Reissner-Nordstrom black holes. They can be produced, in theory, by either cosmic rays or in an accelerator.

    Second, your friend is wrong; neutron stars and white dwarf stars both live for billions of years. White dwarfs are estimated to live for about 6 billion years, before they cool enough that they go dark and become black dwarfs. But neutron stars, as far as we know, can live forever, as just a rotating bunch of neutrons.

    Sorry you feel sad and have nightmares, but the LHC is safe, and we on Earth are safe from anything that can go wrong at the LHC.

    Comment by ethan — November 20, 2008 #

  114. thanks sir, i already posted the same questions in the post of the particle acelerators, oopsie >U<

    thanks sir anyways

    Comment by Milli Ellionor — November 20, 2008 #

  115. check the other article sir, i put an interesting question

    Comment by Milli Ellionor — November 20, 2008 #

  116. I’ll take a look over there.

    Comment by ethan — November 20, 2008 #

  117. New evidence in, Black holes can last up to a second.
    Who is correct here? We don’t know, you don’t know, it is uncharted territory. Would you bet the entire human history and the existence of our solar system on it?
    I wouldn’t.

    Comment by soon to be missing — January 28, 2009 #

  118. stbm,

    Luckily, your judgment is not paramount. People can invent exotic “what if” scenarios to make anything they want happen. It doesn’t make them realistic, probable or true.

    So it goes for every micro-black hole scenario. I’m not scared. But be whatever makes you happy.

    Comment by ethan — January 29, 2009 #

  119. this looks like the basic math or theory that cern dishes out. I can tell there is a mindless robot to give the same old calculations like cern.Do us a favor come up with a new theory Mr. genius until then go and air up hot air ballons.

    Thank you.

    Comment by TexasDogg2008 — March 18, 2009 #

  120. O is One

    Changes never end
    That is never change ever……
    Because it had just only
    one thing is the change
    without anything else ever….
    Sometime I try to find to
    some answer
    for the true of life……
    What is the life?
    And why all of everything happens
    at here in the Galaxy
    and the world?
    We could to knows
    in the first time of the Universe
    it could start come from
    nothing or empty
    by without the empty
    or No the empty though
    No everything or it’s the “O”
    But in certainty so
    “Nothing” is a thing
    or “O” is the one like-wise
    So I can see in the first time
    of the Universe happened
    it could not be start
    come from the empty
    because it’s have a thing
    being before all the times
    that is nothing
    cause the meaning of nothing
    that is a thing
    Yes, a thing that is the empty
    but that it’s not the empty
    like we understood
    Something we called it’s the empty
    but not be so like that
    And what is it?
    All that I can see a thing
    it still never change ever
    So could you believed or not?
    Everything and every-life
    never to be lost out of the Galaxy
    or all the Universe
    And that because
    when all everything to the end
    it will became nothing empty again
    but no lose all
    because nothing
    that is a thing one more
    So I have asking you
    How everything happened
    at here in Galaxy or the Universe?
    When everything it can happens
    and when it lost out of the Universe
    Why it cannot come back again?
    Yes or not
    But in the true of everything
    It will be come back
    to start again forever
    Because all the Galaxy of
    the Universe all of everything
    all is the One
    And nothing empty is the One
    It is the One never change
    Never lose
    Never end ever
    Everyone have been so like this
    We are everyone never knew
    Yes or not
    That we have been circle never end
    Between birth and die like everything
    Cause all space in the Universe
    Without back side
    Or out side of space
    And that is “O” nobody
    When whatever life to the end
    Or die and the Universe
    No space to keep and hide them
    So everything every-life
    that to be lose or die
    When the time of them come
    All will start to happen again
    And circle never end
    It’s not the reason
    If you will talk about is
    When all everything to be lose
    And to the end
    And it will not come back
    To start again anymore
    The most important that is
    all everything can happened
    in this now when it can happens
    And when it lost it will must
    turn back to happens again
    Everything that the eyes can see
    in this now that is
    the reasons and most important
    it’s the answer of everything
    that be lost and
    it will happens again ever
    When everything
    there’s in front of the eyes
    in this now
    all happened from the empty
    and when it lost and gonna be
    the empty and from the empty
    that become back as everything
    all that the eyes can see
    in this now
    like in the first time of
    the Universe all that’s nothing
    so but everything happens
    as that you can knew
    when you read that I wrote
    and how you think of about it
    But everything
    cannot be as usual forever
    So when all everything
    changes never end
    that is never change……
    And I can see to something add up
    That is in the Universe or Galaxy
    In certainty
    Universe without the time
    But the time is distance
    connection with speed
    When it has
    changes never end
    That’s never change
    That’s never had
    the time………….
    The walking of the time
    It always ran never stop
    Every-time when it walking
    It will always make space
    and distance add up to ever
    There happens from
    The empty making
    chemical reactions
    with atoms of everything
    Explain is everything
    in the Universe that
    the eyes can see and
    we can touch to knows
    all that is one piece
    and nothing empty
    that is piece one more
    the pieces both make
    reactions together
    And if whenever the time
    to the end real or stop,
    All space, distance and speed
    It will be lost with the time
    And everything is “O”
    When it is “O”
    That is one piece (nothing-empty)
    In this case O was One finished
    And this piece will start to make
    new reactions with piece one more
    (or new nothing-empty one more)
    together again never had to stop
    right here it will new atom happens
    for every-time ever
    In the true nothing-empty
    it will always have stand forever
    whenever that have anything happen
    it will have nothing happen follow
    altogether forever
    (it’s automatic time-real)
    All everything every-life
    never to be eternal ever forever
    : Nothing-empty is
    center one of the Universe
    center all of the time
    Everything always had changes forever
    That is all the reaction of reasons
    That talk about is nothing-empty
    and everything make energy by
    change itself forever

    Comment by Pure Empty — May 14, 2009 #

  121. Hello Ethan my name is Robert and I am a freshman in college and physics is one of the courses I am taking and I have a question about the relativity of a worm hole and for my second question ‘dark matter’ is in a slow but constant state of motion dragging our universe or should i say ripping?..any how if the lhc could create dark matter could it affect space/time ?..

    Comment by Robert Howard — May 17, 2009 #

  122. Well written, and highly informative…
    I do believe i’ve found a rare good site with sound reasoning and logic to check out when i feel the “physics” itch i get every now and then (basically just the desire to try to understand everything all at once… which i know is entirely futile, unreasonable and damn well impossible). I find your views 99.99999898% :P more intelligent and thoughtful than just about every other site ive visited.(the thought occurs that i may just be bad at searching)

    thank you for your enlightenment

    Comment by Marcos — May 20, 2009 #

  123. […] happen to Earth in the worst case scenario of the LHC generating a planet-eating black hole – the result is that not much would happen at all. The problem is that he is basing his entire criticism of the calculations on the fact that someone […]

    Pingback by Conversation with an Anti-LHC Lunatic « The Skeptical Teacher — June 4, 2009 #

  124. tKMNDk

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  126. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Comment by sandrar — September 10, 2009 #

  127. man is the product of imperfection learning only throgh his mistakes and correcting them to improve his knowledge in the case of lhc he can not afford making a single mistake or be prepared to pay dealy, perhaps the ultimate price.

    Comment by iasbez — September 26, 2009 #

  128. man is the product of imperfection learning only through his mistakes and correcting them to improve his knowledge in the case of lhc he can not afford making a single mistake or be prepared to pay dearly, perhaps the ultimate sorry for the previous alphabetical errors in my comments have now corrected them

    Comment by iasbez — September 26, 2009 #

  129. is there any possible way for this to destroy earth?
    like, if you made a ton of black holes then they merged, would they then go as you described in the origional post, only increase the rate at which this would occure?

    Comment by Evil_Scientist — October 6, 2009 #

  130. TWO German scientists recently claim by moving the mirrors apart about 3 feet and using special relativity quantum theory they have claimed to move by radio microwaves to accelerate their particles beyond the 300,000,000 meters per sec.constant.
    Tachyons are also theorized to move faster than the Einstein constant but that’s still not proved.

    Comment by bob — November 1, 2009 #

  131. […] of this is actually happening extremely slim, so slim that it’s practically negligible. Furthermore, even if a black hole were created, it certainly would not be able to destroy the earth. Doesn’t stop people from freaking out and suing CERN […]

    Pingback by » The Inadequacy of Language — November 3, 2009 #

  132. […] of this is actually happening extremely slim, so slim that it’s practically negligible. Furthermore, even if a black hole were created, it certainly would not be able to destroy the earth. Doesn’t stop people from freaking out and suing CERN […]

    Pingback by chemicalparadigms » The Inadequacy of Language — November 7, 2009 #

  133. Bro ur calculation r quite precise bt then too black hole can not b formed in an instant…..
    the pressure surges neededs to b reduced below a certain level..

    Comment by Sid — December 21, 2009 #

  134. Well, we know that *normal* black holes decay. But we don’t know anything about the micro ones. Our Physics has no idea what would happen within this 10^-66 seconds. I can say that it will not decay because “the lack of time” and it will be as true as saying it will decay - simply no one can say what *will* happen.

    What is more, you assume that the micro black hole will just eat the matter it collides with on it’s way. But what about the attraction forces? We don’t know *anything* about gravity in the micro scale. It’s said that they are weak forces, but nobody created a *heavy* micro object yet to check if they are weak in micro scale as well.

    Personally, I don’t believe any doomsday will happen due to the LHC. Still I would not give any explanations nobody is sure of.

    Comment by oO — December 25, 2009 #

  135. A really big woops! - 5-21-2011

    Comment by Al — February 14, 2010 #

  136. haii shut it

    Comment by emma — February 25, 2010 #

  137. Isn’t it true that physicists lack understanding about what happens when subatomic particles collide at speeds close to the speed of light?

    For that same reason isn’t it true that there could be things that physicists don’t understand about how blackholes may form and how they behave if they do form?

    Isn’t there a possibility that physicists predictions are wrong?

    Isn’t it true that in physics, quite often, a totally unexpected, new phenomenon emerges that no one predicted?

    Comment by Pavlo — March 6, 2010 #

  138. Oy, you forgot about electric charge.

    I have a feeling the lil’ hole would suck up electrons like there’s no tomorrow with it’s +2 charge!


    Comment by Foobar — March 29, 2010 #

  139. YES, physicists lack understanding about what happens when subatomic particles collide at speeds close to the speed of light- thats WHY LHC is built for!!

    Comment by Miha! — April 1, 2010 #

  140. Is there a remote possibility that the Lhc is somehow causng all these recent earthquakes?

    Comment by Gravitypushes — April 4, 2010 #

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  142. Foobar,
    Just 2 im afraid.

    Comment by Tom S — April 9, 2010 #

  143. You metioned and i quote “unless there is some incredible new physics (like extra dimensions)”… i assume you know nothing about monatomic gold and the experiment that PROVES other dimensions exsist! we are all fucked as before the machine was turned on its all in theory what the point in knowing what the conditions where like just before the big bang when we are all dead… If it aint broke dont fix it comes to ind!!!

    Comment by Shaun Dunning — July 27, 2010 #

  144. wow

    Comment by legacy — September 21, 2010 #

  145. ;)

    Comment by legacy — September 21, 2010 #

  146. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article If so, try to pick a colour or style that would be appropriate for other formal events.

    Comment by Wendi Bohlander — October 8, 2010 #

  147. Very nice! Now imagine all you scientists in cosmology if you were to accept that your spirits are composed of the most primordial light, energy and life that there has ever being and will ever be and let say for the same of the argument that you descend beyond the space of the singularity that gave rise to our and every other universe(s) then, guess what? You will find the androgynous G-d the infinity unity of all things and the infinite creating force that permeates everything when you arrived at the infinity of the infinitesimal space so the biblical g-d is nothing compare to mine! The problem is by the time you enter into the state of being in repose within the infinity of the infinitesimal space you will no longer be a spirit, but infinite mind, space, intelligence, life and pontential in repose unto you awaken again and come back to your actual present life and form.

    Who am I? I am a no body who transcended the universe as we know and understand it and fused with G-d and the infinite pontential in space in order to become it!

    Comment by Jose Baez — November 11, 2010 #

  148. I read that CERN uses liquid helium as a coolant/refrigerant. I didnt know this was even possible. I know about liquified CO2 and Nitrogen being used as refrigerants, but what is the temp for helium to become a liquid? Also what is its most practical use other than the LHC?

    Comment by Eric — April 11, 2011 #

  149. you’ve an ideal blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

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  150. i am wary prawed of the lhc project because i think this is the finel drape creative section in wonder

    Comment by siva — August 10, 2011 #

  151. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome site!

    Comment by Franklin Angermeier — September 24, 2011 #

  152. i think we should live life before things start happening nobody really nows what really is going to happen in the world or us.

    Comment by martina — February 3, 2012 #

  153. Ethen, thank you for your time on this subject… and patience with the slightly biased and bemused of us.

    My question is this. Should a subatomic event occur surely the gravitational pull of the surrounding electrons, atoms and the like would effect a) the likely formation calculations and b) the growth of said event.

    Sorry, I’m not a numbers man…. and I may have got the wrong end of the photon so to speak.

    Comment by Scott — June 19, 2012 #

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  157. Just a simple question, as its growing 0.4% every 30 mins isnt she sucking more matter cuz event horizont is also growing bigger and from other hand this means that while she growing it starts to consume more and more matter with every consumed matter.Also she cant evaporate due hawking radiation becase this is only possible if she isnt consuming matter.Isnt it like that or im in mistake ?

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