Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Discover Magazine reassures us about the Large Hadron Collider and the safety of Earth (and maybe the Universe)

The August 2008 issue of Discover Magazine has a blog-like entry or editorial on p 45 reassuring us that the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland don’t threaten Earth (and perhaps the entire Universe) with the ultimate mega-disaster. The same could go for other colliders in Illinois and Texas.

In print, the article is called “The Menace of Mini Black” and online it is called “The extremely long odds against the destruction of Earth; don’t be too concerned that the world’s largest particle accelerator is about to go online.” The link is here, , and it is authored by “The Editors”. We really don't have to worry about the ultimate "purification," perhaps on the Mayan Calendar doomsday date on December 21, 2012.

The basic concern has to do with black holes being created inside the accelerator. Although such an object usually results from the explosion of a supernova (and there are several ways this happens, well documented on the History Channel’s Universe series), on a micro scale it might happens because of the concentration of mass-equivalent energy. The editors translate the explanation into consideration of the graviton, and postulate that in other dimensions (yeah, like the name of the horror film movie studio) unseen to us (accessible through mathematical objects called “branes”) these pseudobox-particles might be a lot more energetic and temporarily “massive”. We don’t know if that’s really true, but it might be. Nevertheless, since the black holes would be small, they would be hot and emit Hawking Radiation and evaporate almost instantaneously. That is, unless there is some sort of Buckeyball structure that could hold onto them, like in unusual isotopes (that is a postulate for one of my sci-fi script proposals).

The editors describe the risk in quantum terms. The probability of a mega destruction of Earth is like the probability of suffocating because suddenly all the air in the room concentrates on one side.

Nevertheless, there are some naysayers, such as James Blodgett, who emailed me one time. A site that discusses him is here. Another example is Sir Martin Rees, who raises concerns about runaway strangelets from colliders in a book called “Our Final Hour.” Perhaps our one-in-a-universe civilization would self-destruct by starting "The Big Rip"!

Discover Magazine has always had interesting, prospective articles. In 1983, it presented the work of Stanley Prusiner and the prion, long before mad cow disease was well known. There was even a brief period when some people speculated that this agent could have something to do with AIDS.

Even given all this, sometimes I wonder if Krysztof Kieslowski, director of "The Decalogue" (1987), is right in questioning the "god" of science or "Wissenschaft" (as depicted in Richard Strauss's famous orchestral tone poem "Also Sprach Zarathustra"), particularly in his film on the First Commandment.

Update: August 6, 2008

Fq(x) provides a story by Kevin Black, to the effect that the Hadron project could be nullified by particles from the future, a kind of "The 4400" effect.


Anonymous said...

Man's technology has exceeded his grasp. - 'The World is not Enough'
Zealous Nobel Prize hungry Physicists are racing each other and stopping at nothing to try to find the supposed 'Higgs Boson'(aka God) Particle, among others, and are risking nothing less than the annihilation of the Earth and all Life in endless experiments hoping to prove a theory when urgent tangible problems face the planet. The European Organization for Nuclear Research(CERN) new Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is the world's most powerful atom smasher that will soon be firing subatomic particles at each other at nearly the speed of light to create Miniature Big Bangs producing Micro Black Holes, Strangelets and other potentially cataclysmic phenomena.
CERN physicist Alvaro De Rújula in the BBC LHC documentary, 'The Six Billion Dollar Experiment', incredibly admits quote, "Will we find the Higgs particle at the LHC? That, of course, is the question. And the answer is, science is what we do when we don't know what we're doing." And CERN spokesmodel Brian Cox follows with this stunning quote, "the LHC is certainly, by far, the biggest jump into the unknown."
The CERN-LHC website Mainpage itself states quote: "There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions,..." Again, this is because they truly don't know what's going to happen. They are experimenting with forces they don't understand to obtain results they can't comprehend. If you think like most people do that 'They must know what they're doing' you could not be more wrong. Some people think the same thing about medical Dr.s but consider this by way of comparison and example from JAMA: "A recent Institute of Medicine report quoted rates estimating that medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 people a year in US hospitals." The second part of the quote reads "...but what's for sure is that a brave new world of physics will emerge from the new accelerator,..." A molecularly changed or Black Hole consumed Lifeless World? The end of the quote reads "...as knowledge in particle physics goes on to describe the workings of the Universe." These experiments to date have so far produced infinitely more questions than answers but there isn't a particle physicist alive who wouldn't gladly trade his life to glimpse the "God particle", and sacrifice the rest of us with him.
This quote from National Geographic exactly sums this "science" up: "That's the essence of experimental particle physics: You smash stuff together and see what other stuff comes out."
Find out more about that "stuff" below;
Popular Mechanics - "World's Biggest Science Project Aims to Unlock 'God Particle'" - http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/extreme_machines/4216588.html"

JTankers said...

I am the founder and co-administrator of LHCFacts.org.

The award winning and eminent Professor Dr. Otto Rossler explains why he believes that if the Large Hadron Collider creates a micro black hole it may likely destroy Earth.

A Rational and Moral and Spiritual Dilemma by Professor Dr. Otto E. Rossler.