A Lawyer's View of the Risk of Black Hole Catastrophe at the LHC

Jan 22, 2010 By Lisa Zyga feature
Is an LHC doomsday scenario a groundless fear or a legitimate concern? Image credit: CERN.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Just bringing up the topic of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) creating a black hole that destroys the Earth might seem unscientific and out of place on a science news website. After all, the subject is generally considered to be out of place in the particle physics community, since peer-reviewed studies have shown that there is no significant risk of an LHC doomsday scenario.

But, right or wrong, many people continue to voice their concern about the LHC’s potential to produce a worldwide catastrophe. Some of these concerns clearly go overboard, stemmed by fear and ignorance. In the midst of this extremism, is it possible for someone outside the physics community to analyze the LHC’s risk of producing an Earth-swallowing black hole in a rational way?

Eric E. Johnson, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Dakota, has undertaken this task from a legal point of view. He has recently published a paper in the Tennessee Law Review in which he investigates how the courts might handle the LHC case and other future cases of largely unprecedented, potentially dangerous sci-fi-like experiments. The 90-page paper is highly readable for non-scientists, and is available at arxiv.org. Johnson, who admits that he is “unanxious” about a doomsday scenario, has two reasons for writing the paper: first, to present a kind of case study for debate among lawyers; and second, to prepare to solve such a in real life.

“I intend to provide a set of analytical and theoretical tools that are usable in the courts for dealing with this case and cases like it,” Johnson writes. “If litigation over the LHC does not put a judge in the position of saving the world, another case soon might. In a technological age of human-induced , genetic engineering, nanotechnology, artificially intelligent machines, and other potential threats, the odds of the courts confronting a real doomsday scenario in the near future are decidedly non-trivial. If the courts are going to be able to play their role in upholding the rule of law in such super-extreme environments, then the courts need analytical methods that will allow for making fair and principled decisions despite the challenges such cases present.”

The Science

In his paper, Johnson begins with an overview of the background of the LHC, as well as the lab at which it’s located, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. This overview is followed by a short history of one of the LHC’s predecessors, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, and then a brief explanation of alleged dangers such as strangelets, magnetic monopoles, bosenovae, and vacuum transitions. Regarding the safety of these potential disaster scenarios, CERN’s argument is the same for each of them: high-energy cosmic-ray collisions (which are similar to those produced in particle colliders) have been occurring in Earth’s atmosphere throughout the planet’s history - so anything dangerous that the LHC could create would already have been produced by cosmic rays long ago. The fact that the Earth still exists is living evidence of the safety of these scenarios.

The question of the black hole risk came up recently in 1999, inspiring particle physicists at the RHIC to analyze the possibility. They found that the forces created by modern accelerators were insufficient to create a black hole - at least in a four-dimensional world. Shortly after, physicists found that could be produced if there were extra dimensions, a possibility in some theories. In light of these findings, CERN physicists reexamined the safety issue and found that the LHC would likely produce black holes, but that they would rapidly evaporate due to Hawking radiation.

While very few particle physicists have challenged the orthodoxy of Hawking radiation, the theory does have a few outside critics. Johnson highlights a few of these critics, including chaos theoretician Otto Rossler, who calculated that “LHC-produced black holes might grow fast enough that the world might end slightly more than five years after the LHC’s first full-energy collisions.” Although CERN physicists didn’t respond directly to Rossler’s shocking argument, media and citizen inquiries regarding the LHC’s safety prompted CERN to set up the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG).

In a paper written in 2008, Mangano (a CERN employee) and Giddings (who accepted a future visiting position at CERN) turned to the cosmic ray argument rather than the Hawking radiation argument, which was becoming less persuasive. However, they found that black holes produced by cosmic rays could potentially slip through the Earth, which is made mostly of empty space, while black holes produced by the LHC could remain in the vicinity for a long time, slowly gaining mass. Looking deeper into the universe, the physicists found that a kind of white dwarf star, eight of which have been observed, could likely hold black holes for a long time, and so their continued existence must serve as living evidence that the LHC is safe.

Although Giddings and Mangano concluded that there is no risk of “any significance” from black holes produced by the LHC, Johnson notes that CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee (SPC) took an extra step, announcing to the public that the results excluded “any possibility” of risk. When the Giddings and Mangano paper was posted publicly in 2008, astrophysicist Rainer Plaga wrote an unpublished paper arguing that Giddings and Mangano’s paper did not exclude all possibilities of disaster. In one argument, Plaga showed that, if black holes were smaller than the CERN physicists calculated, they could conceivably sail through white dwarfs as well as the Earth, showing that the white dwarf argument isn’t conclusive.

Johnson said that, while researching the subject, he was surprised at the legitimate science controversy surrounding the crazy-sounding idea of black holes destroying the Earth.

“Many of the physicists quoted in the media on LHC safety issues seem not to have engaged with the literature in any depth,” Johnson told PhysOrg.com. “Physicists speaking to the public about the black-holes question portray it as a simple matter. It really is not. At the end of the day, the LHC may or may not be safe, but most of the arguments you hear in favor of the collider lack robustness.”

The Law

Complex disagreements such as these lead to great challenges when it comes to analyzing the risks of science experiments in a court of law. First of all, the only people who have the qualifications to understand the physics are the physicists themselves, which creates an obvious conflict of interest. The problem of insider testimony is just one of the unique problems in this kind of unprecedented case, which Johnson describes as a “jurisprudential singularity.” He explains that the legal problems posed by black holes mirror the problems they create for physics.

“Physicists relate that in the vicinity of a gravitational singularity, equations break down, and the known laws of physics seem to fail,” he writes. “With reference to American law, I discuss three lines of legal doctrine that suffer similarly: preliminary-injunction analysis, expert-testimony gatekeeping, and cost-benefit analysis. Developed for a world of automobile accidents, toxic waste, and teratogenic pharmaceuticals, these doctrines all start to break down when confronted with the extreme facts of the black-hole case.”

In order to stop the LHC from operating, a plaintiff would likely seek a preliminary injunction against CERN. As Johnson explains, “under American law, a preliminary injunction is a way for a court to order an immediate halt to a specified activity, without the necessity of going through a full course of discovery and trial.” Preliminary injunction requests are used, for example, to stop impending plans to demolish buildings of historical significance and as restraining orders in domestic violence cases. After a preliminary injunction has been issued, the lawsuit would continue with a more comprehensive trial. Eventually, the defendant would either receive a permanent injunction, or the suit would be dismissed and the preliminary injunction removed.

Already, several suits to stop the LHC have been initiated by “a colorful assortment of plaintiffs,” but none has been successful, for various reasons. For example, in a Hawaii lawsuit, the issue was considered one of political policy. Also, CERN has signed treaties with its host states, Switzerland and France, that guarantee CERN immunity from legal processes.

As Johnson explains, it would not be difficult to get a preliminary injunction if CERN overtly threatened an illegal action, which of course it has not. On the other hand, getting an injunction against a perceived future risk is rare, aside from specific situations, such as domestic violence. A plaintiff would have to show that the defendant, CERN, has been negligent and not done what a reasonable entity would do to protect others from foreseeable risks. Such cases are rare because usually there are laws that explicitly prohibit negligence of various sorts (such as traffic laws to prevent accidents). In the arena of cutting-edge science research, there are no specific laws that CERN has broken because of the uncharted territory. In addition, by performing a cost-benefit analysis using the Hand formula, Johnson shows that the risk of the LHC destroying the world can be calculated to be either infinite or nothing simply by tweaking the inputs just a tiny bit - just like the singularity of a black hole, to further his analogy. This lack of certainty in risk analysis contributes to the difficulty of getting an injunction.

A Judge’s Challenge

When deciding whether or not to issue an injunction against CERN, Johnson suggests that a judge should perform a meta-analysis of the case, going beyond the current scientific analysis to look at four issues: errors in the scientific theory on which the safety analysis is based, errors in the calculations or assumptions in the safety analysis itself, cognitive biases such as psychological and cultural biases, and non-innocent errors motivated by self-interest.

In the last 20 pages of his paper, Johnson provides several examples of these four issues. For instance, he points out how scientists tend to exercise caution when presenting their research and readily admit to its limitations, yet on the issue of LHC safety, CERN seems to show a sense of absolute confidence. Even a relatively small observational error of the eight white dwarfs could undermine the safety argument, Johnson notes, since these eight objects are all that the ultimate conclusion rests upon. Such errors would not be unprecedented in science, as even scientists are subject to human fallibility. Johnson points out that, in 2003, it was found that the two papers written to address safety concerns about a potential strangelet disaster at the RHIC both contained conceptual math errors that affected their conclusions.

“Giddings and Mangano conclude that there is no conceivable risk,” Johnson writes. “But it does not follow that LHC risk is zero: An accurate assessment of risk must include the possibility that Giddings and Mangano themselves are mistaken.”

Finally, Johnson suggests that the courts should look at the psychological and sociological issues that contribute to the vulnerability of the scientific process. Stopping the LHC now would destroy the investment of billions of dollars and many physicists’ careers. In this sense, an individual physicist is better off concentrating on the science research than getting involved in safety and legal issues.

The CERN culture, which consists of thousands of physicists from around the world working together, is a great international collaboration that has pushed science forward. Yet, as Johnson notes, such a group culture also has the tendency to push dissenters to the fringe, and perhaps artificially inflate the certainty of unanimously enforced views. These sociological factors are difficult to acknowledge, since they are at odds with the field of science itself, which attempts to be as objective as possible. Nevertheless, from a judge’s point of view, all humans are subject to the same human law.

Scientists have a responsibility to the rest of the world to ensure that their experiments are safe. While scientists are not above the law, the case of the LHC is obviously a unique situation that deserves special treatment - especially since it may be setting a precedent for future cases as scientists continue to make extraordinary advancements. Without offending the profession, the question is fair to ask: what is the best way to continue to make scientific discoveries without risking human life? Is it possible to agree on an accepted level of risk?

Or, as Johnson puts it, “Can human law survive in a realm ‘where physical law ends’?” He argues that the courts have the power to perform an in-depth analysis - involving a thorough review of the evidence and gathering testimony from scientists with no personal stake in the LHC - that could provide answers to these questions.

“At the end of the day, whether the LHC represents an intolerable danger is, in my view, an open question,” Johnson concludes. “I have not endeavored to provide a definitive answer. But I think the courts should. … Courts must develop tools to deal meaningfully with such complexity. Otherwise, the wildly expanding sphere of human knowledge will overwhelm the institution of the courts and undo the rule of law - just when we need it most.”

Explore further: Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

More information: Eric E. Johnson. “The Black Hole Case: The Injunction Against the End of the World.” 76 Tennessee Law Review 819 (2009). Also available at arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0912/0912.5480.pdf

4.1 /5 (43 votes)

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User comments : 191

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Doug_Huffman
2 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2010
"Up jump de Debbil!"

Up jumps the precautionary principle devil as the democratization of science advances even to lawyers.
seneca
1.6 / 5 (14) Jan 22, 2010
By existing theories LHC is safe. Main purpose of LHC is to reveal some limits of existing theories.

Therefore the main purpose of LHC is to violate its safety. No lawyers can save us, if LHC would really do, what is designed for.
hylozoic
4 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2010
“Can human law survive in a realm ‘where physical law ends’?”

Straight-faced anthropocentric hubris makes this a conceptually tasty quote:)
SincerelyTwo
4 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
delete me.

(why can't we delete our own posts during the edit time?)
fourthrocker
2.3 / 5 (11) Jan 22, 2010
I would be concerned by any experiment that creates conditions that don't exist in the current universe. Whether or not the LHC is doing that I don't know and they probably don't either. If there is any potential in us destroying ourselves with a scientific experiment it is by doing that. The sad truth is that if they could create conditions that don't exist in the universe, they will. If they can't do it now they probably will someday. As in all things we only deal with problems after they occur, almost never pre-emptively. That will bite us in the behind severely sooner or later. Like global warming, we won't deal with it until it creates a disaster.
Adriab
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
LHC has been running for a little while now, right?

Hasn't caused a catastrophe thus far.
Noumenon
4.4 / 5 (55) Jan 22, 2010
How is it that a judge and opportunist lawyers better qualified as arbiters than the vast majority of physicists?
--------------
That it "Hasn't caused a catastrophe thus far.", or that 'cosmic rays haven't done us in yet', are weak arguments and out of context (which is everything in science), and only give the appearance of uncertainty.
kasen
4.9 / 5 (12) Jan 22, 2010
is it possible for someone outside the physics community to analyze the LHC’s risk of producing an Earth-swallowing black hole in a rational way?


Well, just plain no. Problem solved. Anyone possesing the knowledge to understand all the stuff that's going on there is most likely already working there, or otherwise supporting the project. And we're talking hundreds of people. They couldn't all be evil masterminds, now, could they?

Creating new and unusual conditions is the only way we can further our practical knowledge. Everything else is teleology(equally useful). Of course, one can debate whether or not it would've been a better idea to first colonise another planet, but maybe the results of this experiment will provide a source of innovation for space travel.

And, really, if we're all gonna die, who'll give a damn?
hylozoic
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2010
"Well, just plain no. Problem solved"
Argument from authority is a thinly veiled reality dodge, regardless of it's source, be it a physicist or a lawyer.
flaredone
1 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
..hasn't caused a catastrophe thus far.
Just the apparent demagogy of this post demonstrates, arguments of LHC proponents are driven by politics - not by real needs of society. Everyone knows, LHC didn't reach its maximal energies / beam densities at least a bit.
rKoso
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
Adriab, as flaredone points out rather snippishly, the LHC hasn't run at anywhere near it's intended power. Up until now the experiments have barely exceeded previous energies. So the fact it hasn't blown up yet means nothing.
Mayday
2.8 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2010
Very interesting article.

I personally have no worries about the LHC whatever, but I am surprised at how thin and frankly arrogant the physicists arguments are in support of its safety.

Reading between the lines, any reasonable person must conclude that the physicists simply don't know.

Powerful(and as of yet merely theoretical) science + out-sized, ego-basted technology + a bushel basket of unknowns + a smattering of incalcuable risks = ?

I wish us all luck.
flaredone
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
..is it possible for someone outside the physics community to analyze the LHC’s risk ..
It's still possible to demonstrate, there are many risk factors, which were "neglected" by official security analysis. After all, does such analysis exist so far?

For example, I cannot create a window in my house, until it's approved by independent committee. I cannot even store safe explosives in my house by existing laws. Why my school cannot built experimental nuclear reactor without approval?

There's no official political of economical need to run LHC experiments at all - it's scientific experiment like any other. Why some rules are valid for someone - and for someone else not?
flaredone
2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
the physicists simply don't know..
The whole story is even much more controversial, because the evidence of theories expected by LHC directly contradicts the claims of safety. The problem is, experiments at LHC aren't of completely different quality, so that physicists cannot say, their experiments doesn't require presence of black holes or strangelets in colliders at all. We cannot have proof of supersymmetry in LHC without tangible evidence of black hole, in fact.

Instead of this, scientists ARE EXPECTING to prepare black holes or strangelets just to prove their theories. Well, before ten years they were even courageous enough to admit it, at least.

http://www.unisci...1012.htm
JayK
4.5 / 5 (10) Jan 22, 2010
Most of the same physics that is going to be done at the LHC is done in our upper atmosphere all the time. The LHC was built in order for scientists to be able to actually measure the events.

The rest of you are just fear mongering without knowledge of the subject except for possibly some cursory glances at quantum physics/theories.
kasen
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 22, 2010
How many judges/lawyers are there with degrees in physics? The fact of the matter is, it's pretty advanced science that you can't get simply by reading and comparing a handful of papers. I doubt this lawyer guy even looked for anything other than mentions of black holes in what he read.

Sure, there are people who beg to differ, but there are also people who believe cameras steal their soul. Are we to enforce preventive legislation(as if there were another kind) for that too? Oh, and let's apply those psycho-social criteria to judges and lawyers, too, while we're at it.

There's no official political of economical need to run LHC experiments at all


Technically speaking, I think we could easily survive and thrive as hunter-gatherers. Sometimes I really wish we did.
flaredone
1 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2010
.. fear mongering without knowledge of the subject
It's not difficult to see the holes in reasoning of LHC safety.

For example can black holes without magnetic field exist in nature? If not, why all existing security analysis considered the speed of black hole interaction with Earth by using of much weaker gravity force only?

Who is responsible for such "omittance"? No one?? How is possible, some scientific project without person responsible for completeness of its security analysis can be allowed to start at all?

This is how publicity should ask. Until complete peer reviewed security analysis will not be available, LHC cannot be restarted. It's as simple, as it is.

After all, the ability of scientists to predict some problems is pretty pathetic. Even small child could expect, when some supermagnet will explode, the leak of helium from neighboring supermagnets will lead to their quenching, too.

Believe it or not - no one expected it.
flaredone
2.2 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2010
I think we could easily survive and thrive as hunter-gatherers
The problem with contemporary physics is much more deeper, as this physics has transformed into force hostile to interests of civilization.

For example cold fusion research is ignored by mainstream science, because it violates existing theories, despite of its apparent economical and political significance (no oil wars anymore...)

Despite of this, physicists prefer LHC research from the same reason (they could violate existing theories) - albeit its evident, the practical applications of particle physics are thirty years after experiments, to say at least. The advances in particle physics or Moon exploration are the residue of cold war in 60's - the contemporary economy is unable to replicate it, to employ the less.

So we can wait with LHC experiments until technology will allow us to build collider in free cosmic space in safe distance from Earth WITHOUT any negative impact to economy.
barakn
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 22, 2010
However, they found that black holes produced by cosmic rays could potentially slip through the Earth, which is made mostly of empty space, while black holes produced by the LHC could remain in the vicinity for a long time, slowly gaining mass.
Basically this argument relies on the assumption that since high velocity cosmic rays collide with nearly stationary Earth nuclei, due to conservation of momentum the resultant black holes will be created with a velocity relative to the Earth that carries them safely away. But consider this: cosmic rays could collide with each other in the atmosphere with a combined momentum that is basically zero with respect to Earth's frame of reference. Of course the chances of this happening are much smaller than of a cosmic ray hitting an ordinary nucleus, but over the course of 4.55 billion years it has happened over and over again. This has also been happening in the much larger atmosphere of the sun and in those of much older objects.
JayK
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
@flaredone

Yes, a mechanical engineering problem is exactly the same as the theoretical quantum physics that goes on at the collision site.

False equivalence is not a reason to try to stir up fear mongering amongst 99.9999% of the world population that doesn't understand the physics behind the LHC.
MVV
3.3 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
I would plan LHC security as if i was SURE there will be a big enougth black hole , so to decect and contain it. No reason at all to stop science , just make it sure.

But if the LHC start producing lawyers , we are all doomed.
flaredone
1.4 / 5 (7) Jan 22, 2010
..a mechanical engineering problem is exactly the same ..
If it's false equivalence, then every argument regarding "safe cosmic rays" is false equivalence as well. But the absence of risk factors in existing security analysis is evident even for mechanical engineers. And I don't want to stir up any fear - on the contrary. If LHC can be stopped for one year (after twenty years of reconstruction) - it could be stopped for another few years without problem, until physicists publish & review anonymously a complete analysis with all risk factors estimated in transparent numbers.

If they're unable to do so, then they're incompetent to carry out such kind of experiments at all. They should wait, until technology will allow to carry out experiments safely.

And please, don't underestimate my understanding of physics or politics behind LHC. Word population cannot expect independent analysis from persons, which are interested in LHC restart - this is an apparent conflict of interests.
JayK
4 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
@flaredone

You really have no idea how many new products, developments and science has come out of the construction and operation of the LHC, do you?

You are obviously biased against the LHC and CERN, you've done no real research or education on the matter and you are spinning as hard as possible to demonize the entire thing with nothing more than fear mongering. Why? If you are really afraid of what can happen, then why aren't you on the rooftops demanding that asteroid surveillance be increased dramatically? After all, the chances of a massive impact within the next 10 years are fairly high, right?
maxmc
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
this is completely outrageous. this is true paranoia of science if we can't do an elementary level experiment! (cleverness)
If they shut down the LHC then maybe humans were never meant to unlock the secrets of the universe :(
JayK
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
flaredone
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
We aren't required to consider fringe "cosmic ray" arguments at all. The absorption of jets, the evidence of gluonium, tetraneutron, pentaquark or dimuon events can serve as a tangible evidence of condensation of matter due the supersymmetry effects of surface tension. Such force stabilizes particles inside of these clusters by pressure in similar way, like the neutrons are stabilized in atom nuclei - so they could be detected well outside of collider tube. I know perfectly, what happens there.

http://www.physor...766.html

So I needn't more experimental evidence of strangelet formation bellow surface of Earth - we have them enough. I repeat, next experiments must be done in safe distance from Earth. Physicists should save money spent in planning of more powerful accelerators for safe research in free cosmic space.
flaredone
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
JayK
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
flaredone
1 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
the chances of are probably lower
I know about it. The civilization as a whole cannot reflect consciousness of their individuals at all. If people face the war, they accept the war like sheep - their intelligence compensate mutually. We are particle gas without free will.
flaredone
1 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2010
..why aren't you on the rooftops demanding that asteroid surveillance be increased dramatically..
In fact, just these colliders could destroy these asteroids at distance in the same way, in which they're threatening the Earth. I'm not enemy of CERN, if it builds accelerator in free space. After all, such projects couldn't be so expensive at all - we could save money for refrigerators, helium, vacuum pumps, noise and heat insulation and for supermagnets, too - such collider could be linear, i.e. without energy lost via synchrotron radiation.
kasen
5 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
So I needn't more experimental evidence of strangelet formation bellow surface of Earth - we have them enough.


An uneducated guess here, but I think the experiment concerns a bit more than that. So you should have stayed with the security argument.

As for the economic argument, you're basically pushing for worldwide socialism(how cliche). Thing is, CERN has some 29 countries cooperating, so the actual economical impact on everyone is limited.

A space project of the scale you imply is probably several orders of magnitude more expensive, not to mention it'd tie up a wider array of resources and manpower. You'd probably need worldwide cooperation.

Of course, provided we have an efficient means of space launch/propulsion. Which we currently don't. We need another huge leap and, statistically speaking, CERN is a safer bet than increasing population and living standards indefinitely, in the hopes that a genius will emerge.
vantomic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
�At the end of the day, whether the LHC represents an intolerable danger is, in my view, an open question,� Johnson concludes. �I have not endeavored to provide a definitive answer. But I think the courts should. � Courts must develop tools to deal meaningfully with such complexity. Otherwise, the wildly expanding sphere of human knowledge will overwhelm the institution of the courts and undo the rule of law - just when we need it most.�

This quote lights a fire inside me. The law has no place in science. Courts and laws are for the peons that can't tie their own shoes (this includes lawyers). Stay out of science, we are smart enough to police ourselves, we don't need god or laws to do it for us. And by the way, courts could never determine the safety of an experiment...ROFL kthxbye

and, to all of you that are "uncomfortable" with these experiments go take some classes and then come back with an opinion. Your fear mongering sickens me just like those morons on fox news.
flaredone
1 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2010
you're basically pushing for worldwide socialism(how cliche). Thing is, CERN has some 29 countries cooperating
I'm not pushing anything - I just require people to understand, what happens in collider experiments to recognize their risk.

After all, why I should be promoter of socialistic government of EU, which just enabled the construction of accelerators, like the LHC? Such politicizing has no meaning and it could be used in both dual ways. And the discussion about LHC safety isn't problem of lawyers in the similar way, in which it is not the only problem of scientists interested in it, too.
flaredone
2 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
The law has no place in science.
Of course it has. This is why we cannot synthesize viruses in free air, for example. There exist very low probability, such virus could really become dangerous in the similar way, like strangelet during LHC experiment. It's the problem of the same category.
vantomic
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2010
flaredone your talking of a scientists moral obligations not of the law. As a scientist myself and as a member of the human race I'm not going to risk the lives of the people on earth by making viruses in my basement. I don't need a law telling me not to make a high voltage circuit and let my kids play next to it.
flaredone
1 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
I don't need a law telling me not to make a high voltage circuit
You're ignoring emergence principle. If all people in the crowd staying against wall make only slight step ahead, most of people near wall get crushed. Who is responsible for it, after then? No one killed these people directly.

After all, this is the way, in which Nazism gained its power in country full of responsible, intelligent and peaceful people..;-) The LHC proponents are just the people, who want to finish their scientific carrier, write thesis, start a family...
JayK
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
vantomic
5 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
your statement doesn't make sense. I'm trying to simplify this as much as possible. What I'm saying is, what we build we build with the highest moral convictions. The law is for the amoral. We are not trying to hurt people and if you can write up a paper that says we may hurt people, we will read it with our undivided attention. I don't need a lawyer reviewing my work, only my fellow physicists.

There are not separate interpretations of what we are doing. Science is in no ways similar to politics. There is no emergence, only truth. If our experiment is not safe it will be proven and that is that. There are not two sides to this.
Caliban
2 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
It seems to me that the main point of this paper is to set up the legal framework for litigation. By litigation I mean primarily the creation of yet another market wherein the Legal Industry can generate income.
If past experience is any guide, then it should be obvious that the main point of this type of litigation is the litigation itself- except for in the rare case where some technology, substance, or product creates immediate, visible, unequivocal harm- not the actual prohibition or cease and desist ruling you would be looking for. LEGAL ACTION=MONEY, ongoing action=MORE money.
You really don't have to look any further than your own home to see this principal in action- pretty much everything you own or consume is chock full of known poisons. Not convinced? Look at the case of GE and the litigation against them regarding PCB contamination. Hundreds of millions spent in legal, PR, and lobbying- and so far maybe 30 million in actual cleanup dollars spent.
flaredone
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
RubberBaron
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
After all, why I should be promoter of socialistic government of EU, which just enabled the construction of accelerators, like the LHC?

Switzerland isn't in the EU...
danman5000
5 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
After all, this is the way, in which Nazism gained its power in country full of responsible, intelligent and peaceful people..;-)

I always love it when someone is trying to defend their point against the majority, and with their back against the wall they resort to a Hitler comparison. Really helps your credibility.

Do you realize how expensive it would be to launch into space enough materials to build the LHC? The savings you mention are valid, but the thing is still 85km long. That's a lot of pipe, and a lot of rocket fuel. No way the savings would beat the extra expense.
vantomic
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
LOL flaredone, you are officially off your rocker. You are purposely spinning this to create an argument. Have fun. i'm gonna go get a beer and play on the highway
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2010
In the case of an actual Big Science-generated global catastrophe, you would expect any ruling to most likely come too late. If civilization collapses, who is going to enforce the Rule of Law?
JayK
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
I've seen two more false equivalences thrown out by flaredone:

1) Biological engineering where real viruses are created in laboratories are just like experimenting with particle physics!

2) Those who think that beneficial science has acceptable risk factors are like the Nazi's of WWII.

This goes great with the really blatant one above where a mechanical system is equivalent to particle physics (a failure in one means the other is inevitable). This thread has not failed to deliver entertainment in the drapery of some science!
flaredone
1 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
.Switzerland isn't in the EU...


versus
CERN has some 29 countries cooperating, so the actual economical impact on everyone is limited


You shouldn't use such naive demagogy just here. The LHC problem is complex even for the most experienced moralists and philosophers.
flaredone
1 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2010
That's a lot of pipe, and a lot of rocket fuel
No pipes are required at all in free cosmic space. And there is lotta solar energy in there. In fact, accelerator in cosmic space could serve as a weapon easily - it's not so easy to destroy it by single laser shot..
..who think that beneficial science has acceptable risk factors are like the Nazi's of WWII..
Nope, like the people who voted the Nazi's. In 1936 92% of Germans voted Hitler. Such bunch of people simply cannot be evil, or there would be a huge mental mutation, which is really impossible. They just serve as an experimental evidence, how simply people could be manipulated in their belief & ignorance. How can you demonstrate me, the same situation just doesn't repeat again right now?
JayK
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2010
Nope, like the people who voted the Nazi's. In 1936 92% of Germans voted Hitler. Such bunch of people simply cannot be evil, or there would be a huge mental mutation.


Ah, another false equivalence (or two, I'll let the reader be the judge). Keep going! I think this thread may deliver a whole new legacy for them.
vantomic
not rated yet Jan 22, 2010
"How can you demonstrate me, the same situation just doesn't repeats again right now?"

Because this is not a political debate. go pick up a damn book and draw your own conclusions. If you don't believe your friend did a math problem correctly go do it yourself and make sure you agree. This is what science does, we don't follow anyone blindly, we never have and never will.
flaredone
1 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
.Because this is not a political debate..
But when I say, scientists ignored the risk of charged black hole or the surface tension of dense particle clusters, everyone ignored it - I only got some negative points for it.

What else such discussion is, after then?
danman5000
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
No pipes are required at all in free cosmic space.

Except for all those pesky cosmic rays and micrometeorites that our atmosphere and magnetic field shields us from, which is probably going to interfere with your experiments.

Congrats on three Hitler references in one thread btw, keep em coming!
bigsur
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
"In 1936 92% of Germans voted Hitler"

His was the only name on the ballot paper though......................
kasen
not rated yet Jan 22, 2010
In regards to CERN facts, it's actually 20 members and 8 observers. European countries, true, but not all in the EU, and plenty of global interaction. It's an international scientific collaboration, not a pact, or a treaty. Most interestingly, however, is 2008's budget, which totalled 664 mil euro(queue numerical jokes).

That's pretty infinitesimal, considering the scale. The average cost/kg of payload with current space launch vehicles is roughly 20.000 euro. So the annual CERN budget would buy 33 tonnes of cargo per year. Which would require at least 2 launches. And I'm talking just mass here, volume would most likely be an issue, too.

If it were that easy to build stuff in space, there wouldn't be an energy crisis.
vantomic
5 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
But when I say, scientists ignored the risk of charged black hole or the surface tension of dense particle clusters, everyone ignored it - I only got some negative points for it.

What else such discussion is, after then?


you know why we ignored it flaredone? either A) because the people reading this board don't know what you are talking about or B) because some of us can tell you don't know what you are talking about.

flaredone
1 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
some of us can tell you don't know what you are talking about
Such thing could say virtually everyone here. But who can prove, I'm just plain wrong? Nevertheless, thank you all for your attention.
JayK
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
You know the best way to get your message across? A big sandwich style board and to run around a major city square. You could write something like "LHC Black Holes End of World" and for full effect put a date on it, say April 1, 2010.
flaredone
4.5 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
Let say December 21, 2012... I'd recommend not to plan any LHC experiment for this date...

Just for sure..;-)
PS3
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
JayK
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
CERN and LCH should be shut down!

The scientists say themselves they !HOPE! for things to be created that they didn't expect.


You created a new account to say that? Come on, you can do better. At least fit in a genocide story or something cute.
vantomic
4.5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
some of us can tell you don't know what you are talking about
Such thing could say virtually everyone here. But who can prove, I'm just plain wrong? Nevertheless, thank you all for your attention.


I would love to know what makes people like you tick...you take the concept of philosophy and turn it into the quest for infinite arguments. Philosophy is something I appreciate. What you are doing is giving the concept a bad name.
zevkirsh
5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2010
i'm a lawyer with an avid background in science and some engineering.

i'll say that any intelligent lawyer would realize this is not a legal issue and that assessing real risk (rather than legal risk) is left to the experts in the area of risk.
the legal risks are what might happen legally in response to something 'going wrong', financially or in tort....respective contract and tort areas of law apply. short of something unforseen there are no meaningul criminal risks i can think of.

this article, which applies a risk analysis of catastrophic dmage resulting from a machine in the event of a .000001 scientific possiblity is silly. there are an infinite amount of catastrophic possibilities with such low possiblities of occuring that they are trivial.

if the universe explodes by an accident, so be it. science must march on.
Tachyon8491
1 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2010
All lawyers have an event horizon from which only fawking radiation can escape. This of course slowly evaparates lawyers by frustration who are then often observed to crawl back into their wormholes.
PS3
1 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2010
CERN and LCH should be shut down!

The scientists say themselves they !HOPE! for things to be created that they didn't expect.


You created a new account to say that? Come on, you can do better. At least fit in a genocide story or something cute.

I don't need to do better when they say flat out they have no clue what could be created.

JayK
4 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
I don't need to do better when they say flat out they have no clue what could be created.

Do you have something useful to post or are you just trying to troll? You obviously don't understand the physics and there is a good chance you don't understand science in general.

Portions of quantum physics still relies on statistical analysis of experimentation data, the constants are rounded and errors propagate throughout the math as a result, yet your computer works.

As for the LHC, maybe you should get an education before trying to comment?
PS3
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Ant
1 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
Never before in the history of human endeavour have so many been put at risk by so few. I hope we dont need the chance to say we told you so.
PS3
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Elward
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2010
If human law ends where physical law unravels then we should all be free from the corruption of the court and attys anyway cuz science has still to xplain much and cannot!!!!Just goes to show the arrogance of it all!
ArtflDgr
2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
and how much gravity would the black hole of a few particles have?

think hard now... will their mass go up? or will their mass end up compacted? point being, just cause its a black hole doesnt mean that its gravity goes up suddenly and swallows up everything.

it means that there isnt enough mass to hold it together after it forms and it will make a nice spark shower.

black holes dont make mass, they suck in mass, and a black hole the size of a few particles cant do much sucking.

:)
PS3
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2010
However, they found that black holes produced by cosmic rays could potentially slip through the Earth, which is made mostly of empty space, while black holes produced by the LHC could remain in the vicinity for a long time, slowly gaining mass.

uhh.... what? WTF makes these hypothetical LHC black holes (or strangelets, or pick your favorite bogeyman) so different from those (again correspondingly hypothetical) produced by cosmic rays?

AFAIK, cosmic rays continually hitting the atmosphere of not just Earth but Jupiter and the Sun for the last 4.6 billion years come in a spectrum of energies, ranging from lower than LHC to an order or two of magnitude higher than LHC.

Is it easier to pass through Jupiter (or the Sun's core) than it is to pass through the Earth?

AFAIK, 4.6 billion years later the Solar System with all of its planets -- not to mention the star itself -- is still here, and we haven't yet detected any black holes in orbit...
flaredone
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2010
Instead of this, some scientists - apparently not quite crackpots - believe, certain solar flares or earthquakes are caused just by strangelets.

http://tinyurl.com/y8s7558

Some other believe, black holes may be formed in upper layers of atmosphere:

http://tinyurl.com/q667qp

Problem with "cosmic ray" argument of LHC safety is, cosmic rays are always single isolated protons, and their mass is completely relativistic, i.e. caused by energy. With compare to LHC collisions, where dense product of collisions stays at place and it may be feeded by remaining protons from both sides.

This is apparently not the same situation, but no security analysis derived difference in probability of black hole formation between LHC and cosmic rays in atmosphere.
Noodle_Naut
1 / 5 (9) Jan 23, 2010
I am very much for science progress, and employing scientists to solve problems or provide us with information that may one day solve a problem.

Realistically though, it is far fetched that this device can provide us with information that will be useful in the near future, while it is fairly certain that all these scientists employed in other challenging ways will almost certainly make considerable positive influence.

The fact that there might be risks to the planet makes it just plain stupid.

It is like we are ancient Egyptians building a pyramid but instead of limestone we are building it out of plastique. The chance that someone has an electric charge to set it off is very small, but who knows, perhaps that unforeseen lightning bolt will produce a little bigger thunder than usual.

Big projects should be replaced with thousands of potentially useful smaller projects. We need efficient 3000 lumen LEDs yesterday! Those compact florescent lights are going to trash the environment!
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
@flaredone,

Problem with "cosmic ray" argument of LHC safety is, cosmic rays are always single isolated protons, and their mass is completely relativistic, i.e. caused by energy. With compare to LHC collisions, where dense product of collisions stays at place and it may be feeded by remaining protons from both sides.


Have you been off-planet since 1945? Mass and energy are one and the same, according to E=mc^2. Nuclear bombs, reactors, and accelerators are all about this equivalence, and two-way conversions between energy and mass. It really doesn't matter whether there are quarks bound into protons, or free-floating quark-gluon plasma formed out of pure collision energy: in the end, it's still just a bunch of quarks and gluons crammed into a very small space: kind of like it doesn't matter much what your food used to look like once it gets through your digestive tract.
flaredone
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
flaredone
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
flaredone
1 / 5 (6) Jan 23, 2010
..Mass and energy are one and the same, according to E=mc^2..
The funny thing is, you're saying it just to me, who is still the only man on the planet, who can explain it by intuitive way, then just to derive it mechanically from energy and momentum conservation laws by equations...;-)

BTW if mass and energy are "the same" - why we are using a different symbols for them? Why this annoying c^2 term, after then?
flaredone
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2010
The faster particle just makes matter more hot at the place of collision. It means, you can prepare more dense matter temporarily by using it, but this matter would be pretty hot too - so it has not time to condense by its gravity, because its constituents are repelled by pressure of radiation mutually. The asymmetry and particle density of LHC collisions is what matters in detection of supersymmetric phenomena.

Analogically if you want to prepare most dense state of gas, the fast compression isn't the best idea, because it heats the gas adiabatically and it increases its pressure accordingly. Instead of this, slow compression under cooling is the optimal strategy for condensation.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
"In 1936 92% of Germans voted Hitler"
And "he" saved half his country and most of western europe from communism. So what?
“If litigation over the LHC does not put a judge in the position of saving the world, another case soon might.
In the real world Tony Stark would not be allowed to keep his suit.
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
Stay out of [science], we are smart enough to police ourselves, we don't need [god] or laws to do it for us.
Whoa, I just got a chill- sounds just like a Calvinist. Or a Jesuit-
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (51) Jan 23, 2010
otto1923, In the real world Tony Stark wouldn't exist. And stop with the drive-by 'one' ratings :)

And "he" saved half his country and most of western europe from communism. So what?

While it's true that western Europe would have stood back and let Germany feel the full brunt of Russia first, the Hitler regime never saved anyone from anything!
flaredone
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
G640
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2010
I believe the argument against the LHC is one of perception in how large science is done.

The LHC project and teams got themselves into this publicity and mess of confusion in the first place by stating they are creating black holes without adequately reassuring the public by means of decent informative explanation.

That's not to say that LHC scientists didn't explain to a reasonable degree for most of the science community - it's that they didn't explain adequately to the public. Automagically expecting the public to swallow the "it's a black hole but not dangerous" pill was a mistake. Expecting the public to take LHC scientists word at their own word in a science project where very few others understand the dynamics is also a mistake. Expecting the public to support such a project while throwing around terms like these (and then faulty calculations) and then still expecting acceptance of the project is an exercise in testing the public's fears.

Just my 2 cents. :-)
flaredone
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
@Nou
Ah, you know how I feel about that philo propagandist bullsnot. Nietzsche was the nationalists greatest PR. That latest dis was not me by the way. Leider so-
the Hitler regime never saved anyone from anything!
Like everything it depends on ones perspective. 18M fewer russkies, 11M fewer potential deutsche reds, and a landscape strewn with the burning hulks of obsolete cultures... I call that victory!
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
argument against the LHC is one of perception in how large science is done.
Oh I dont know- we have a biosphere to save. Many huge engineering megatests in the works. Cash cows need these things.
aaaaaaaaa
1 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2010
I'm a lawyer and I agree.
My friend is also a lawyer but he disagrees.
I think we will both a lot of money.
mlange
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
If they were smashing bowling balls together at near the speed of light, I'd worry. But smashing hadrons together to create black holes for time periods measured in plank time..I wouldn't worry. The folks that do worry, clearly have too much free time and are way to lazy to learn the science.
droom
4.5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
I cant imagine how much fear mongering would've gone on if the atomic bomb was developed publicly(and with the internet to supplement freedom of information).

I also wonder what would happen if the public was not ignorant of Fermilab current operating at 1TeV per beam right outside of Chicago.

If we never smashed things together we wouldn't have even made it into the stone age. And hopefully smashing these particles together can help lead us to a true space age.
Ant
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2010
whats the point? would you really expect all the people of this planet to accept the risk just so that a few Know-it-alls can get a few gongs. will it make them live longer -No! will it make them more acceptable to society - No!

Ok you have earned much wages from the construction why not just leave it at that and we will all feel happier

Just a sudden thought- were they running the kit when the Haeti tremor happened?
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
argument against the LHC is one of perception in how large science is done.
Oh I dont know- we have a biosphere to save. Many huge engineering megatests in the works. Cash cows need these things.
Know what? I thought you meant done as in finished... Over with. Doomed. Heard it before.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 23, 2010
@flaredone,

What has to happen for a lighter particle to have as much kinetic energy as a heavier particle? Answer: even in Newtonian physics, it just has to travel faster.

When one approaches the speed of light (as is the case with cosmic rays and heavy ions in accelerators), relativistic physics kicks in. Namely, space contraction. The faster protons of cosmic rays are closer to light-speed, meaning that all of their structure/energy is concentrated into a sort of 2-d disk. The spatial density of this concentration is much greater than that of heavy ions traveling at a smaller speed.

This would on balance create the same sort of energy density on impact: whether you collide two not-so-dense things, vs. colliding something rather loose against something that's ultra-dense.

In the end, same amounts of energy are released. If it weren't so, conservation laws would be broken, and so all of physics would be broken... My computer works pretty good; how about yours?
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
(continued)

Also, relativistic equations tell us that both a particle's inertial and gravitational mass increase as it approaches the speed of light. So that its kinetic energy directly translates into additional mass according to E=mc^c.

How can that be? Well, if one assumes that spacetime has some sort of microstructure to it, as do particles, then fast-moving particles must be developing some sort of spacetime "shockwave" or "vortex" about them. Whatever the fine details (currently unknown to science), the fact is that faster particles do become heavier.

So when it comes to cosmic rays, it's not just a matter of a "light" particle moving very fast. It's a false duality. Wholistically, what you have is an intense wallop of highly-concentrated spacetimewhatever hoodoo: precisely the same thing as what you get with a heavier nucleus moving a bit slower.
poeteye
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2010
UNPUBLISHED FINDINGS
-- James Ph. Kotsybar

They granulate the universe to pulp
crashing particles only newly found.
They figure their trajectories and gulp,
“So much data upon which to expound!”
Their energies unbound by quantum course,
they separate the world we think we know.
They rip particles into force by force.
Unification’s where they say they’ll go.
When at last they prove life is illusion,
where do you think they’ll publish the result?
They may just ascend beyond confusion
and leave us in the lurch of the occult,
for once that testimony’s imparted,
expostulation just seems false-hearted.
mosahlah
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 23, 2010
I've wondered about the lack of evidence of intelligent life beyond our solar system. Perhaps there's a technological pitfall that obliterates a society when it reaches a certain scientific juncture. Are we naive to the conflict of interest inherent in these peer-reviewing, group-thinking, scientific-academic industries? The probability of the black-hole doomsday scenario is questionable at best. Does anyone actually believe our scientific command extends thoroughly into the physics of a blackhole? More importantly, lets be serious about the consequence. Global warming and global thermonuclear war are nothing compared to the outcome of introducing a viable black hole to our planet. Still, I don't think the potential scientific reward will be able to prevent humans from one day accepting the risk. I just wish our scientific authorities were as wise as their confidence in their own supremacy. The climate-gate scandal is evidence that scientific integrity in todays society is bankrupt.
mosahlah
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 23, 2010
Concerning the prevalence of cosmic rays in the universe and the absence of black hole manifestation as a result of cosmic ray/celestial body-collisions..... what percentage of the universe's matter is unaccounted for? Quite a bit I think. How detectable is a black hole? Not very I think. Just throwing that out there.....
rwinners
3 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2010
So, the world is sucked down a black hole and into... where? My question? Will there still be lawyers there???
seneca
2.3 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2010
Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes

http://sciencenow...10/122/1

The whole thing stinks..
Husky
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2010
We will be all packed very tightly in a singularity sized courtroom with no changes to walk bail or appeal to a higher court. Allthough I feel somewhat comforted by the cosmic ray argument, it's by definition not possible to know the exact outcome of experimental frontier science that attempts to look past our current knowledge. In the 50's there were scientific concerns that a hydrogen bomb exploded in the sea would cause a runaway reaction fusing all the hydrogen in the worlds oceans in a giant flash. Projected Calculations indicated that the heat/density would not be enough but one could only confirm the calculations were indeed right by exploding the device and taking measurements. What if Einstein had a bad hairday, or a nuclear explosion would trigger processes completely unaccounted for by the state of scientific knowledge at that time?
seneca
2 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2010
The only "subtle" problem is, they demonstrated, when extra-dimensions are involved, black hole could be formed with compare to existing theories:

"Does that mean the LHC will make black holes? Not necessarily", Choptuik says. "The Planck energy is a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum. So the only way the LHC might make black holes is if, instead of being three dimensional, space actually has more dimensions that are curled into little loops too small to be detected except in a high-energy particle collision. Predicted by certain theories, those extra dimensions might effectively lower the Planck energy by a huge factor."
seneca
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2010
We have theory of extradimensions forty years already - it's a string theory. Well, if some extra-dimensions could wipe-out one quintillion factor (?!?) of LHC safety expected - what we can expect about theory of Hawking radiation?

Randall-Sundrum model of microblack holes is based on string theory and it considers the existence of stable primordial microscopic holes, for which quantum mechanical effects play an important role. These black holes should be stable enough to survive up to present time.

http://en.wikiped...ack_hole

The funny thing is, we have theory of stable black holes already for many years, which just waits for its confirmation at LHC. I'm not sure, I really want to confirm these theories just by LHC.
frajo
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2010
Dear friends of speculation,
I understand that the things called "black holes" are of highest appeal to you. The less you understand of theoretical physics the more appealing "black holes" are for you.

But there is something strange about you friends of the "might be". Why are'nt you scared at all by the huge overkill possibility of the really existing nuclear weapons? You seem all to be quite sure that there never will be a president/leader/general mad enough to trigger a global nuclear war.
Could it be that you are quite comfortable with real madness but very uncomfortable with physical theories you'll never understand?

Those who are afraid of the mysteries of nature but are comfortable with the misery of social/political reality always have been the most dangerous people on this planet.
dirk_bruere
3 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2010
The jurisdiction of US judges does not include the EU.
End of story.
JIMBO
1 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2010
Like other physicists, I too dismissed all the fear & paranoia as just that, put my mind to rest, eagerly awaiting LHC startup & some new physics, particularly Tev-scale quantum gravity.
The only thing that still concerns me is that as with almost ALL other technological realities, from atom bombs, to space travel, SciFi has PREdicted them. LHC-like disaster scenarios are realistically depicted in Genesis Machine (Hogan), Einstein's Bridge(Cramer), & several movies. The emminent theorist Nielsen claims LHC shutdowns may've even been postdicted, possibly by ourselves in the future...
So perhaps SciFi should be admitted as evidence that the existence of such danger has a literary precedent, despite lacking consensual scientific plausibility. In his conclusion, EJ makes the prudent point that the "ordinary indicia of versimilitude" have been blasely tossed out the window by scientists. Can we afford to make the ultimate mistake, for which we'd fire our own lawyer for ?
JIMBO
2 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2010
Like other physicists, I too dismissed all the fear & paranoia as just that, put my mind to rest, eagerly awaiting LHC startup & some new physics, particularly Tev-scale quantum gravity.
The only thing that still concerns me is that as with almost ALL other technological realities, from atom bombs, to space travel, SciFi has PREdicted them. LHC-like disaster scenarios are realistically depicted in Genesis Machine (Hogan), Einstein's Bridge(Cramer), & several movies. The emminent theorist Nielsen claims LHC shutdowns may've even been postdicted, possibly by ourselves in the future...
So perhaps SciFi should be admitted as evidence that the existence of such danger has a literary precedent, despite lacking consensual scientific plausibility. In his conclusion, EJ makes the prudent point that the "ordinary indicia of versimilitude" have been blasely tossed out the window by scientists. Can we afford to make the ultimate mistake, for which we'd fire our own lawyer for ?
seneca
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2010
..like other physicists, I too dismissed all the fear & paranoia..
Frankly, I don't understand quite well your stance. In most advanced theory today, i.e. string theory the formation of stable black holes after Big Bang is possible and it's even presented as one of testable evidences of string theory validity...

http://www.pbs.or...iny.html

It's just the peer-reviewed theory of yours, i.e. scientists - which predicts all these things and which should be tested by formation of black holes in LHC by now. The question therefore isn't, what you can dismiss (and nobody is even interested about it) - but what you can withdraw regarding validity of this theory.

Can scientists admit, they're planning to verify theory, which predicts formation of stable black holes just by formation of black holes at LHC - or not? Can scientists admit, it could be qualified as a criminal act by the rest of society?
PinkElephant
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 24, 2010
You're completely missing the point. The point is that IF microholes are formed at all, they present absolutely no danger: because exactly the same processes would have been forming trillions upon quadrillions of the same type of black holes all over the planet and all over the solar system for the last 4.6 billion years.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 24, 2010
Another thing you're completely missing: black holes aren't gravitationally any more potent at range than the sum total of mass they contain. A black hole formed from a couple of heavy ions (should that even be possible), weighs no more than the sum total of the relativistic masses of those ions prior to the collision. The total gravitational force exerted by this black hole at any reasonable distance outside the event horizon, therefore, will be considerably less than the gravitational force exerted by a mote of dust. IOW it is so tiny, that it is completely overwhelmed by thermal and electromagnetic noise. Such a hole can't grow, because it can't attract anything into its orbit, let alone its vanishingly tiny maw (whose radius would be many orders of magnitude smaller than the radius of a proton.) At the same time, Hawking radiation dictates that the hole will be extremely short-lived: it will blow almost immediately after it forms.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
The only "subtle" problem is, they demonstrated, when extra-dimensions are involved, black hole could be formed with compare to existing theories:
While your statements and quotations are correct you're twisting the truth by selectively omitting another truth and thereby inflicting fear and terror in those people who don't have the slightest idea about "black holes", General Relativity, and String Theory.
This kind of (knowingly) telling lies by omitting relevant truth is what Socrates denounced as sophistic.
The truth you carefully omitted is the fact that the black holes which might be produced in the LHC don't have any practical effect as their masses and therefore the forces they exert on any matter are of only theoretical relevance. No grain of sand will be altered by a mini black hole.
Read PinkElephant's comments. He's in the know.
broglia
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2010
.. a black hole formed from a couple of heavy ions, weighs no more than the sum total of the relativistic masses of those ions prior to the collision...
I can agree with this, but A) you cannot be sure, black hole inside of LHC beams WILL be formed only by pair of heavy ions B) you cannot be sure, such black hole would interact with gravity only. The theory of charge and magnetic interactions still applies here.

http://www.scienc...3033.htm

I presume, this fact was intentionally omitted from CERN security analysis because it would make all estimations of speed of black hole interaction with Earth highly speculative and biased toward higher values.

This is another disinformation maintained by CERN, which could serve as an evidence of criminal act, because everyone experienced with physics KNOWS, black holes could interact via electromagnetic field with its neighborhood. Only layman publicity may not realize it.
broglia
3 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2010
This kind of (knowingly) telling lies by omitting relevant truth is what Socrates denounced as sophistic
Well, and I can even agree with it in full depth. This is EXACTLY my problem with CERN security analysis and subsequent propaganda. Mainstream physicists are ignoring the existence of peer-reviewed theories, which predict formation of stable black holes in LHC (and it's not just string theory only, LQG predicts these scenarios, too - compare the link bellow) and they're ignoring the possibility of EM interaction of black hole (which is in agreement with the above theories, BTW).

http://arxiv.org/.../0112186

Physicists KNOWS, the formation of stable black holes will serve as the main evidence of validity of theories, which they're testing in LHC collisions. They WANT to prepare just the stuff, which people are most afraid of. In my eyes such behavior is a criminal act, into which whole community of physicists is involved.
broglia
2.7 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2010
I forgot to add the citation for reference

http://arxiv.org/.../0605062

IF microholes are formed at all, they present absolutely no danger: because exactly the same processes would have been forming trillions upon quadrillions of the same type of black holes all over the planet and all over the solar system for the last 4.6 billion years.

This is interesting and testable speculation - unfortunately it's completelly unsupported by observations. Do we have some evidence of dimuon or top-quark pairs or pentaquark formation in these events, like at the case of Tevatron in Fermilab?
broglia
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2010
In my opinion, Tevatron or LHC collisions are unique from two main reasons: A) density and purity of collider beams B) unique geometry of head-to-head collisions, which occurs nowhere in the Universe naturally. These factors were never involved in CERN security analysis intentionally.

These scientists JUST WANT to build and operate colliders, because it provides a safe and stable job and environment for scientific carrier for them. They're supported in their activities by private companies involved in technical support of colliders. The ignorant and uninformed rest of society underestimated these emergent relationships, which resulted into establishing of large groups of people, who are openly ignorant to danger of LHC collisions and further destiny of civilization. We can say, high concentration of money in civilization leads to spontaneous formation of dense states of matter in simmilar way, like dense concentration of matter in universe.
danman5000
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
The emminent theorist Nielsen claims LHC shutdowns may've even been postdicted, possibly by ourselves in the future...

So then the LHC couldn't possibly have world-ending consequences if we still exist in the future to come back and stop it, no?
So perhaps SciFi should be admitted as evidence that the existence of such danger has a literary precedent, despite lacking consensual scientific plausibility.

So anything anyone can dream up should be sufficient proof to take or prevent action? It is concieveable that aliens could come and enslave the planet, and movies have been made about this. Should we all build shelters or start running for our lives becaues of remote possibilities presented in fiction solely for their entertainment value?
danman5000
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2010
A) density and purity of collider beams B) unique geometry of head-to-head collisions, which occurs nowhere in the Universe naturally.

I feel like I should point out that
A) A proton is a proton. Purity isn't really an issue when one particle collides with another (this is the scenario that would create the black hole). I agree with you on density - it's concieveable that multiple black holes in close proximity might be bad (but still unlikely imo).
B) With the literally infinite directions protons could come from and immense number of particles flying around in the vast expanse of space, there is no way that a head-on collision is impossible.
broglia
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2010
..purity isn't really an issue when one particle collides with another..
We can think about black hole production at LHC as about another step in decreasing of matter entropy, which people achieved during preparation of chemical, nuclear and thermonuclear bombs. At each stage the purity of explosive (i.e. uranium enrichment, for example) is crucial for success of compression and subsequent explosion.

Albeit proton plasma occurs in Universe in densities, which exceeds the density of LHC beams in many orders of magnitude, such plasma is usually mixed with photons and another lightweight particles, which effectively prohibits the fusion of protons into more dense state by pressure of radiation.

At the case of LHC, such purity is a result of highly negentropic process introduced by intelligent creatures, which occurs nowhere in Nature spontaneously.
broglia
1 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
..LHC couldn't possibly have world-ending consequences if we still exist in the future to come back and stop it..
Such ideas are dangerously similar to belief in guardian angels of Holy Church era...;-) Should we pray for it?
baudrunner
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2010
I'm not surprised that the most long-winded article I have ever read on the Physorg site is all about lawyers and their indeterminate issues.

Incidentally, real scientists aren't worried about the LHC possibly generating catastrophic events because they are playing with such small amounts of matter there that the risk is simply non-existent.

The Universe didn't begin from a condition that can't or doesn't exist in the Universe, it was produced as the result of the infinite potential that the infinite density of nothing represents. Furthermore, all potential novel particles that might be created invariably don't stay around for longer than a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second before they invariably transit to the second and/or first generation of particles, which is the only realm where a stable reality can exist.

Let's avoid fantastic speculations about the LHC, okay? Sheesh!

Lawyers should simply leave science to the scientists.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
I can agree with this, but A) you cannot be sure, black hole inside of LHC beams WILL be formed only by pair of heavy ions


It really doesn't make a difference whether it's 1 pair, or 1 billion pairs. Do you know what 1 billion heavy ions weigh? Still a lot less than a mote of dust. And the hole's event horizon diameter is still going to be a lot less than the radius of a proton. And the hole still evaporates almost instantaneously.

B) you cannot be sure, such black hole would interact with gravity only. The theory of charge and magnetic interactions still applies here.


Sure. Let's say the hole starts out positively charged (since the heavy ions were.) Even assuming that, incredibly, it survives long enough to suck in a few nearby electrons: presto, suddenly it's electrically neutral. Notice that the same initial positive charge would actually prevent the much heavier protons and nuclei from approaching the hole.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
(continued)

Now let's consider even the possibility that the hole is positively charged, and in spite of known QM laws (i.e. Hawking radiation), shockingly long-lived. Will it actually be able to suck in any electrons?

After all, nuclei are positively charged too, yet we don't observe spontaneous collapses of electron shells onto the nucleus. Electrons tend to 'orbit' the nucleus instead. Why should it matter to an electron, whether it is orbiting a positively charged nucleus, or a positively charged microblackhole? So even an electrostatically charged microblackhole is doomed to starvation.

Now, what about magnetism? Nuclei are magnetic (they're charged, and they spin.) Electrons are magnetic (they're charged, and they orbit.) Again, these facts don't cause electrons to crash onto nuclei, nor nuclei to crash onto each other. So why should a magnetic black hole be any different?
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
Do we have some evidence of dimuon or top-quark pairs or pentaquark formation in these events, like at the case of Tevatron in Fermilab?

Well, I'm sure if we had Tevatron- or LHC-sized detectors magically pre-positioned to wrap around such events in the upper atmosphere, we'd have direct evidence. Unfortunately, by the time the debris of these impacts reaches the Earth's surface (where it is picked up by detector arrays), the heavier byproducts have long since decayed.

Indirectly though, we can put together a picture of what the original impact created, by examining the particle showers that do reach the ground. It's how we're able to back-calculate the original energy of the impact in the first place. I'm sure if the particle showers resulting from cosmic rays were somehow different in constitution than the particle jets observed in accelerators, there would be a great deal of excitement and controversy in the theoretical physics community.
seneca
1 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
they are playing with such small amounts of matter
Typical LHC beam will contain roughly 3e14 protons and their field would spread at the distance of hundred of meters, if they would collapse at single place. From unknown reason all physicists and their wannabes consider, black hole exhibits gravitational effects only. This just illustrates the power or religion.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
Typical LHC beam will contain roughly 3e14 protons...


Those protons would be spread out over the circumference of the ring. They aren't all going to be dumped simultaneously and instantaneously into the collision detector.

Try to employ common sense: physicists only really want to observe the collision of two heavy ions at a time. Otherwise, the debris would overwhelm the detectors, and nobody could ever sort out what happened from all that overlapping junk.
seneca
1 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2010
is all about lawyers and their indeterminate issues...let's avoid fantastic speculations about the LHC, okay
String theory predicted stable black holes at LHC conditions before decades already in robust numbers. Just try to read articles linked bellow - they weren't written by lawyers at all.

http://www.pbs.or...iny.html]http://www.pbs.or...iny.html[/url]
http://arxiv.org/.../0605062
http://arxiv.org/.../0112186
http://en.wikiped...ack_hole
http://sciencenow...10/122/1
http://www.pbs.or...iny.html]http://www.pbs.or...iny.html[/url]

This is all scientific stuff, don't you think? Physicists are just planning to verify their predictions by direct observation. The issue of law is only, if they should be executed for public threat - or not.
seneca
1 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2010
..physicists only really want to observe the collision of two heavy ions at a time..
This is indeed nice, what they want to do (and I even appreciate it...) - but at the moment, when some piece of rust of 0,1 mm in diameter would fall into place, where both cuonter-rotating beams collide, all protons inside of collider will be thrown onto such obstacle from both sides in less then one millisecond (at top speed, the beams make 11245 trips around the LHC every second).

Did scientists attempt to compute, what happens next?
seneca
1 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2010
BTW We can assume, collider pipe at the place of detector will be pretty eroded by particle jets... Sparks and pieces of dust may be pretty frequent there. They should consider it, if they're so clever...

.Otherwise, the debris would overwhelm the detectors, and nobody could ever sort ..
There are hundreds of millions of proton pairs collisions per second in target space..;-)
danman5000
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
BTW We can assume, collider pipe at the place of detector will be pretty eroded by particle jets... Sparks and pieces of dust may be pretty frequent there. They should consider it, if they're so clever...

I doubt that. If this were possible, surely they would build their pipe with materials that would withstand such things. Otherwise they'd be in there every other day replacing parts. Plus, if the particle jets interact with the pipe enough to erode it then they'd never make it into the detector to be seen at all. I imagine these things interact very weakly, hence the enormous size of the detector sections.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
Did scientists attempt to compute, what happens next?

I doubt it, as the resulting mess would be too complex: a bit like attempting to compute the movement of all the water molecules in a lake.

However, it's pretty easy to intuit what the end-result would be: an explosion, rather than implosion. The centripetal force arrangement just isn't there: this isn't the National Ignition Facility. There's no containment on the plane orthogonal to the beam paths.

There are hundreds of millions of proton pairs collisions per second in target space..;-)

But they aren't all colliding simultaneously. There is a minimum 25 ns interval between the proton bunches.

http://en.wikiped...C#Design

25 ns is practically an eternity for subatomic particles.
seneca
1 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2010
Anyway, the isolated proton pair collision isn't achievable during LHC collisions in any way. It's evident, there are many potentially dangerous scenarios, which were ignored in security analysis, simply because they're too difficult to estimate..

http://doc.cern.c...1/p1.pdf
http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.3414
http://public.web...-en.html
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
Anyway, the isolated proton pair collision isn't achievable during LHC collisions in any way.

It can't be guaranteed, but it can be hoped for. The reason they cross whole bunches of protons at a time, is because the probability of any two protons hitting each other head-on even within a focused beam, is rather small.

It's evident, there are many potentially dangerous scenarios, which were ignored in security analysis, simply because they're too difficult to estimate..

Look, there are cosmic rays with energies of 10^20 EV. That's 4 orders of magnitude more than the combined energy of both counter-orbiting protons at maximum LHC energy. It's the equivalent of 10,000 simultaneous LHC proton collisions at max energy, packed into one single particle.

Now, the solar system is still here. So are all the neutron stars (a.k.a. pulsars.) So take a page from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Don't Panic.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2010
As can be determined from the sheer Volume of the above comments, issues of science on this order(see AGW, for instance) are almost impossible to resolve, except by the collection of overwhelming amounts of observation, data, and consensus agreement -the validity of which can always be questioned through the use of sophistry.
Thus, a never-ending, irresolvable argument, billed by the hour, in billable hours, plus court costs, fees, and retainers. A GOLDMINE, I TELL YOU! And since the publication of this "article", I can now guarantee you that the only thing wanting now for the collision of Big Science and Big Litigation to take place is a Big Jackass Patsy to be located, inviegled, and elected by the lawyerly brotherhood to get the beam circling- or ball rolling, if you prefer.
bazz4
not rated yet Jan 25, 2010
Look Scientist's must be mad to allow Human Law and Lawyers to enter Theoretical debates.
1 Trinity in 45 did not blow up earth.
2 Armstrong of FM radio fame spent 20 years in court over his patents with ignorant lawyers - who sent him to suicide! Nor his fellow academics who had no understanding of negative feedback.
3 Noble winners had at their first attempts to publish their data on Ulcers BLIND FAITH peer reviewers who followed the the party line of the time AND REFUSED TO PUBLISH THE DATA!!!!
IF this involved lawyers we will spend years in courts with dumb ignorant rhetoric smooth Spin doctors who have no morals except to keep the meters of costs running. If you want science to follow Stalinist Lysenko-ist line then let the LAWYERS IN.
mosahlah
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2010
Some really smart people engineered the mirror on Hubble, calculated the trajectory of the Mars Climate Orbiter, and forecast the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers. I'd sleep better at night if there were a back-up plan. I don't think Scotty and Spock are going to beam up me and my family
Cyberadvan321
not rated yet Jan 25, 2010
I question this whole notion that when the singularity is achieved, and the radius of the mass object drops to zero radius, that the gravitational field intensity must necessarily go to infinity, therefore creating a black hole. This seems to derive from the newtonian (or relativistic equivalent) which states that the force due to gravity is always proportional to 1/R^2 where R is the radius separating the masses. This factor of 1/R^2 is there to describe the attenuation or "thinning out" of gravitational field flux as the field gets spread over a wider spherical cross-sectional area in astronomical space. It really doesn't seem to me that this "Inverse-square" reduction factor applies when the two masses are in fact, the same mass.
The total amount of gravitational force doesn't change, so if the mass has the mass of a feather, it still has the mass of a feather, even if the feather is crushed to a singularity. A feather's gravity doesn't suddenly go to infinity.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2010
...gravitational field intensity must necessarily go to infinity...

I'm not convinced it is correct to apply the field metaphor to gravity. In GR, gravity is curvature, not potential. Nobody's been able to reconcile GR with QM, and the most accurate description of macro-scale gravitation remains that of GR.

...the force due to gravity is always proportional to 1/R^2 where R is the radius separating the masses.

That's a Newtonian analysis. In GR, gravity is not a force; it is a distortion in the spacetime manifold (can't tell you what that really means, because nobody REALLY knows...)

...it still has the mass of a feather, even if the feather is crushed to a singularity. A feather's gravity doesn't suddenly go to infinity.


What happens to the feather's DENSITY, when it's crushed into an infinitesimal volume while conserving mass? Picture gravity as a direct function of density -- as in total density of matter within a given volume of space.
cakmn
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 25, 2010
I find it interesting, sad and disgusting that so many of you 'knowledgeable' and 'wise' commentators are so sure of yourselves and so disrespectful of anyone on the 'other side' of any questions about the LHC or about the law, while at the same time most likely being very unqualified regarding either the physics or the law in comparison to the physicists involved in the LHC, who obviously disagree among themselves, and to Eric Johnson who has quite legitimately delved into issues we should all be seriously considering with open minds and open hearts.
ubavontuba
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 25, 2010
I've been saying the same things about the LHC proponent's arguments for years. Their conclusion that it's safe, simply doesn't follow logically from their own findings - and they're TRYING to prove that it's safe! What would they say of their findings if they were trying to prove it ISN'T safe?

I think they might find cause to worry...
Holograph
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2010
I've read that only mathematics can prove that concerns about creation of dangerous events at LHC are unfounded. I've read that not all of the mathematical papers concerning such matters have been proven wrong in showing that danger might exist.

I've read much on both sides of the mathematical argument about the safety of ramping up the LHC power and conducting experiments some say might be dangerous and others say are not dangerous. I've read much about how many dimensions beyond what our senses can perceive must be invoked in order to come up with a Theory of Everything concerning physics and how that might apply to black holes and other dangerous phenomenon. I think I've educated myself enough for now.

I think that if I were sitting on a jury I would have to reason that if some mathematical error exists as evidenced by conflicting claims then my vote would be to accept the error on the side of caution against an error for which no plan of action has been developed.
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2010
..and they're TRYING to prove that it's safe..
As explained above, "they're" trying stable black hole formation predicted by string and LQG theories, i.e. trying to prove the least safe variant instead. This is the way, in which supersymmetry manifests. The formation of black hole was proven succesfully at Tevatron already by jet suppression.
frajo
2 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2010
I question this whole notion that when the singularity is achieved, and the radius of the mass object drops to zero radius, that the gravitational field intensity must necessarily go to infinity, therefore creating a black hole.

There is no massive physical object with zero spatial extension. There is no physical object with infinite density/temperatur/energy.
People who talk of physical singularities are just too lazy to admit that they speak of mathematical properties of their models. Everytime such a model yields - in a special situation - a result with zero spatial extension or with infinite density/temperature/energy this does not mean that there is an massive object of nature with zero extension or infinite density/temperature/energy. It only means that the model doesn't work in this special situation.
Einstein noted that he knew of only two infinities in nature: human stupidity and the size of the universe. And about the latter he admittedly wasn't sure at all.
DachpyarviIe
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2010
This whole HDC is a scam anyway, I'm sure there are emails that will prove that the collider isn't capable of doing what we, the taxpayer, are supposed to be paying for. We've just got to find them :)
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2010
This whole HDC is a scam anyway,
The only scam here is you.
Registered on 2010.0118 with a user name which resembles that of another user who registered on 2007.0924.
Just for fun or in order to get better scores?
broglia
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2010
You people cannot focus at problem given. All discussions are redundant, until we answer two simple following questions:

1) Does string or LQG theory predict the formation of stable black holes at LHC?
2) Do physicists want to test these theories at LHC?

It's as simple as it is: no "lawyers", no "scam" or "fear spreading" - just pure logic and science. No "propaganda", "religion" or belief in "best intentions" are necessary here. I know, it may be difficult situation for someone - but if there is some hole in this logics, please show us.

If you answer both questions "Yes", the only remaining question is:

"Well, we have a situation. What do you want to do with this situation"?
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 26, 2010
This whole HDC is a scam anyway,
The only scam here is you.
Registered on 2010.0118 with a user name which resembles that of another user who registered on 2007.0924.
Just for fun or in order to get better scores?

Sock puppetry is a silly way to obfuscate facts with fiction by making the speaker seem disingenuous. It's in the Rules for Radicals book. I'm assuming it came from an AGW argument of some sort.
Cyberadvan321
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2010
A research paper I read (with limited understanding) by some guys who really did some work estimating, said that the black holes produced could last up to about 3 seconds within the earth. They asserted that this meant "low risk", but three seconds seems like a long time to allow a black hole to get rolling within the earth.
As the black hole approaches another object in space there must be some critical distance or radius from the black hole at which the spacetime gravitational "warpage" is sufficient to cause a breakdown of the structure of matter within that radius - so that the ordinary matter "collapses" and "joins" the black. Whether this warpage is due to local density or local mass, it is easy to picture this black hole "contacting" objects in its vicinity, picking up an atom, then another, collapsing their structure, in a chain of events until most nearby material is absorbed. (Not that I want to scare anybody - ha ha ha ha ha !!! )

Yours truly,
Rank Amateur
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2010
An incredibly small black hole on the order of size that the LHC could produce can mathematically consume an electron per second. That same black hole would evaporate at a rate of 3 electrons per second.

We have nothing to fear.
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2010
3 electrons per second
Hot wire in your toaster evaporates faster than this...
danman5000
5 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2010
3 electrons per second
Hot wire in your toaster evaporates faster than this...

Hot wire in your toaster is also slightly bigger than a black hole made from two protons.
seneca
2 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2010
can mathematically consume an electron per second

What does it mean "mathematically"? By action of gravity or by electromagnetic force (which is 10e41 stronger, then the gravity) - or both? So far I believed, math attracts some nerds only..
.. slightly bigger than a black hole made from two protons.
Such hole would be of mass of 3672 electrons, so it can still evaporate for half an hour. And if it would move during this, it could swallow a much more, then some one electron per second. Such estimations have no meaning and it could be used as an evidence of disaster scenario as well. We need much higher level of safety to consider such experiments, then just 3:1 ratio.
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Jan 26, 2010
BTW The system of positron and electron is called a positronium and it's mean lifetime is 125 picoseconds. This is a speed, in which electron is consumed by positively charged particle, when no nuclear force prohibits it. You can forget some seconds safely...

http://en.wikiped...itronium
seneca
1.7 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2010
From where you got these numbers? If your numbers are supported by peer-reviewed article, it would mean, we should nuke LHC immediately to prevent its accidental restart by small group of t(h)eorists.
PeterROwen
not rated yet Jan 26, 2010
You cannot applied the grindstone of the law to judge something which is UNPROVEABLE. What criterion can be applied that states that something is too risky when the hazard is UNKOWABLE. Sound like some laywer out to make a buck or two, maybe? Could be; how would I assess the risk of that not happening? Lawyers would do more good applying the "Four Rules" as stated in the above analysis (errors in the scientific theory on which the safety analysis is based, errors in the calculations or assumptions in the safety analysis itself, cognitive biases such as psychological and cultural biases, and non-innocent errors motivated by self-interest) in a case against the proponents of anthropocentric gobal cimate change, particularly the fourth "rule".
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
While it's hard to derive Hawking radiation formulae, it is not very hard to apply them. See here:

http://en.wikiped...poration

We have 1 GeV/c2 = 1.783 × 10^−27 kg, from

http://en.wikiped..._of_mass

So 14,000 GeV/c2 = 2.496 x 10^-23 kg (assuming total energy-to-mass conversion for two 7 Tev protons colliding.)

Plugging this into the Tev equation (from first link above), we get Tev = 2.096 x 10^-103 s.

That's how long that hole will last. By the way, Planck Time is 5.39124 x 10^-44 s: so quantum-mechanically speaking, this black hole can't even exist -- it would vanish MUCH faster than the fastest allowable process in quantum mechanics!

What if 1 quadrillion (10^18) LHC proton pairs simultaneously merged into a black hole; how long would it last?

Plugging into the equation, I get Tev = 2.096 x 10^-49. Wow, still below Planck time!
PinkElephant
3.6 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2010
Sorry about the weirdness in the unit equivalence cited above; I copy-pasted some sort of a Unicode character that stands for '-'. It should read:

"We have 1 GeV/c2 = 1.783 x 10^-27 kg"

Basically, the Tev equation reduces to (once you plug in the values for h-bar, c, and G):

Tev = 1.34765948 x 10^-35 * (m^3)

(where m is the black hole's mass in kg)

In case it wasn't clear, Tev is the total time until the black hole completely evaporates.
PinkElephant
3.8 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
Ah, oops sorry I made a careless mistake in my previous calculations. I used h-bar value expressed in Electronvolt-seconds, together with mass expressed in kilograms, in the same equation. Bad Elephant, very bad; I should've used h-bar expressed in Joule-seconds.

Corrected equation:

Tev = 8.411429 x 10^-17 * (m^3)

(where m is still the black hole's mass in kg)

Corrected numbers:

For single 14 TeV proton pair black hole, Tev = 1.3 x 10^-84 s. Which is still ludicrous.

For a quadrillion of such pairs (that's 10^15, not 10^18, which would be a quintillion -- another mistake, bad Elephant!!), with a combined mass of 2.496 x 10^-8 kg, Tev = 1.3 x 10^-39 s.

This one's above Planck time, by a whopping 5 orders of magnitude. Still far too short to be measured by even the most sophisticated instruments, now or in the foreseeable future.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
It's funny to see that size and density are lost on some people. PE, thanks for doing the math out, this site's inability to handle simple math functions is disturbing. Typing out "plus" instead of using the symbol is just silly.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
Oh man, now I've noticed a similar error (this time confusing trillion with quadrillion) in a yet older post of mine above. It read:

Look, there are cosmic rays with energies of 10^20 EV. That's 4 orders of magnitude more than the combined energy of both counter-orbiting protons at maximum LHC energy. It's the equivalent of 10,000 simultaneous LHC proton collisions at max energy, packed into one single particle.

That's wrong, of course. LHC maxes out at 7 TeV per proton, for a combined 14 TeV per collision. That's not 4, but 7 orders of magnitude less than the most energetic cosmic rays (1 TeV = 10^12 eV.) That is, the most energetic cosmic rays carry the energy of not 10,000 -- but 10,000,000 LHC proton collisions, in just one particle.

Yikes, maybe my brain's been hit by a cosmic ray, that scrambled my definitions of large numbers =P. I need a reboot...
broglia
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
By this article the Planck energy is a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum. So the only way the LHC might make black holes is if, instead of being three dimensional, space actually has more dimensions that are curled into little loops too small to be detected except in a high-energy particle collision. Predicted by certain theories, those extra dimensions might effectively lower the Planck energy by a huge factor. This is the reason, why Randall - Sundrum's model based on string theory and hidden dimensions predicts the formation of STABLE black holes at Big Bang or LHC collisions.

http://sciencenow...10/122/1

"I would be extremely surprised if there were a positive detection of black-hole formation at the accelerator," Choptuik says.

The problem is, such black hole formation was observed at much weaker collider Tevatron at Fermilab before few years already, because object formed swallowed one of jets, formed during collision.
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
BTW The formation of black holes is expected this year at LHC. Physicists are just tickling dragon's tail, again. Don't believe, they wouldn't attempt for it, if it would be possible - soon or later.

http://www.iop.or...2/12/S52
http://adsabs.har......6193B

Layman society doesn't understand psychology of physicists well. For these guys the childish play with atom bomb core or black hole makes no problem - they don't feel any fear or responsibility during this, because it's just a routine for them.

http://science-st...ries/The Dragon's Revenge.pdf
Cyberadvan321
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2010
To play the devil's advocate, I hope that the time to evaporate is worked as 'earth time' as opposed to 'black hole time', because a billionth of a second in black hole time could mean thousands of years to evaporate 'earth-time'.
And just exactly what is meant by 'evaporation' - I assume this has to do with 'Hawking radiation'. If radiation is refracted by spacetime and gravity, I wouldn't be surprised if radiation could be refracted a full 360 degrees under right conditions and travel back to its source (the black hole) - eliminating evaporation....please limit the answers to these questions to a concise two sentences or less. (LOL LOL LOL) just kidding
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
The correct link is here http://tinyurl.com/ya89o49

BTW Article claims, such tests was necesary to make sure, bomb is working properly. This is indeed BS - such tests could be done (and were indeed done) remotelly.

http://www.cddc.v...diva.gif

I.e. this dangerous idiot killed himself and other people for nothing - without slightest contribution to physics.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
Predicted by certain theories, those extra dimensions might effectively lower the Planck energy by a huge factor.

From http://en.wikiped...mensions

This formula is now consistent with black holes as light as a few TeV, with lifetimes on the order of "new Planck time" ~10^-26 s.

This is with consideration of *large* extra dimensions. Yes, with this hypothetical in mind, now multi-TeV impacts have the potential to create 'long-lived' holes that survive for a whole 10^-25 s.

Danger, Will Robinson!

such black hole formation was observed at much weaker collider Tevatron at Fermilab before few years already, because object formed swallowed one of jets

Jet quenching is not a black hole signature. It is the predicted signature of quark-gluon plasma.

Micro black hole signature would be disappearance of both jets, followed shortly by an omnidirectional burst of particles and gamma rays.
broglia
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
I hope that the time to evaporate is worked as 'earth time' as opposed to 'black hole time'
Your hope is futile - this is just an effect of compactified dimensions, which is prolonging the time of black hole evaporation - as predicted by string theory. Real space-time is much larger near black hole, then it appears from outside perspective due space-time comactification.

This is the reason, why Randall-Sundrum's model based on string theory could predict existence of stable black holes, which could survive Big Bang up to this time.

http://en.wikiped...ack_hole

These scientists are knowlingly planning to test all these worst possible collision scenarios at LHC for decades. I cannot understand, how is it possible, these things could be tested at LHC without information of the rest of society about their risks. It's like nightmare.

http://www.physor...682.html
broglia
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
..Jet quenching is not a black hole signature. It is the predicted signature of quark-gluon plasma...
It's jet suppression, i.e. the situation, when formed dense matter swallows particles, which should be emitted under normal circumstances. And physicists are expecting to prove existence of stable black holes by observation of both mono-jet, both di-jet suppressions during this year.

http://www.iop.or...2/12/S52

I know, it's all too difficult to believe for layman people...;-) We all believed, physicists won't attempt for black hole formation, because of gamma rays in stratosphere, blah, blah. We believed, the stable black holes cannot be formed during this because of Hawking radiation, blah, blah..., etc.

But the real situation is completelly different - we are just one step from accident - even by peer reviewed theories - not just by crackpot ideas.
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 27, 2010
So what would we do? Is there some way to capture or contain this little bugger in some dense material long enough to get it to a rocket? What would the hole do anyway? Would it tend to orbit something or head directly toward the nearest large gravitational body (earth)?
seneca
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
Such ways indeed exist - well, at least theoretically - but I don't think, real black hole or strangelet could be tamed at all by present technologies.

http://www.newsci...ing.html

.. he pointed out that we'd have plenty of time to act - the amount of energy produced in one of the LHC's collisions would create a black hole with a gravitational pull no more scary than that of an orange ..
Such black hole could interact in many other ways: by electromagnetic force, by pressure of radiation, etc.. The only way, how to avoid such buggers reliably is simply not to produce them.

It reminds me the old Eden story about limits of human understanding from Bible: there could exist such a level of human inquisitiveness, which we aren't supposed to cross without risk of complete destruction of human race. In this context, the hell could be a nice allegory of black hole glowing in deep red. It seems, we have been warned already.
arrowrod
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
I am impressed. Building a nuclear power plant in the U.S. is virtually impossible. The usual suspects are responsible for this result.

The people who built the LHC are not going to be stopped.

Remember the Manhattan project? Bets were placed by the participating physicists on whether or not the chain reaction would continue until the earth was destroyed.
otto1923
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
there could exist such a level of human inquisitiveness, which we aren't supposed to cross
Manure. We are at present comfortable co-existing in a universe full of many dangerous objects. Lets not be cowering behind holy books. Any plan should have contingencies. The fact that singularities exist means we will most likely be creating them and using them in the (far?) future.
until the earth was destroyed.
And they was wrong.
seneca
1 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
..we will most likely be creating them and using them in the (far?) future..
But we have no usage for it. The last particle used in practical applications is positron, which was found in 1932. When technology would allow us to use black hole, it would allow us to produce them in safe way at free cosmic place, too. Under present state of technology it's rather dangerous demonstration of overgrown state of nuclear research, which is product of arm race during cold war in 50's of the last century.

Every player of strategy games knows, it has no meaning to invest into research, until other levels of society are developed accordingly. We should maintain the balance between state of research and state of civilization, which should be capable to use it. Without such equilibrium any progress in science is useless, it or it could become even dangerous. We can talk about super-symmetry effects here: who asks too much will learn too much.
seneca
1 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
...we are at present comfortable co-existing in a universe full of many dangerous objects..
At first, speak for yourself. At second - no, I don't feel comfortable with ignorant people - such people are threatening me. Civilization has a number of its own problems by now - I really don't want to pay money for additional risk. Your freedom ends where my nose begins, and I do smelt problems here.
seneca
2 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
You cannot applied the grindstone of the law to judge something which is UNPROVEABLE. What criterion can be applied that states that something is too risky when the hazard is UNKNOWABLE
This hazard can be estimated by LQG or string theory, for example. Is this theory is unprovable, then such theory is nonscientific. My questions is, what such theory is good for, if we don't use it, after then? It turns out after forty years of research, the only way, which physicists want to verify, whether black hole doesn't swallow the Earth is just simply to check it - is it exactly, what we are paying them for?
seneca
2 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
The incompetence of scientists to verify their own theories is striking. In this article ( http://tinyurl.com/ycav236 ) the risk of black hole formation in LHC can be increased in quintillion times if space-time contains curled extradimensions. So far no evidence of dimensions exist - for example by this article http://physicswor...ws/17025 no experimental violation of gravitational law at short distance indicates, model of extradimensions is wrong. Are we safe, after then?

Not quite. The funny thing is, physicists are ignoring dipole force, Casimir force or even electrostatical force during these experiments, so they could never find any violation of Newton law, if they're arranging experiments in exactly such way, which eliminates other short distance forces.

The not so funny part of this story is, such ignorants want to test string theory again by preparation of black holes, while neglecting electrostatic and other forces in their safety calculations again.
Cyberadvan321
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
So what about the argument that the LHC black holes will be identical to the cosmic ray black holes which occur thousands of times per day ?
Is it a valid assertion that these are identical types of black holes ? If NOT, then the conclusion that LHC holes must be safe seems potentially invalid, and brings into question why the cosmic ray black hole is being used in favor of the LHC at all
Cyberadvan321
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
What about the issue of cumulative black hole density ---- if they produce many of these simultaneously as would be expected in colliding beams, would't the first thing that would happen is the individual black holes would combine by the tens of thousands, creating a much larger black hole in the vicinity of the accelerator ???
pauljpease
2.5 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2010
The invention and application of agriculture is demonstrably more dangerous to our civilization than the LHC experiment. Of course we tolerate agriculture because it is also a cornerstone of our civilization. No agriculture means a radically different kind of civilization. Similarly, I would argue that science is an essential aspect of what it means to be human today, it is an essential aspect of our civilization. The fact that I'm typing this message to all of you on a computer that exists because of science is evidence of my hypothesis. Therefore, while science can be dangerous, without it we wouldn't be the same.

Not to mention the fact that this planet is going to die one way or another. I for one believe that we should do something about that. Yeah, there's a small risk associated with acquiring this knowledge. But in the long term, doing NOTHING is even riskier, i.e. 100% chance of all life on Earth being destroyed. At least science gives life a chance at surviving
seneca
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2010
..brings into question why the cosmic ray black hole is being used in favor of the LHC at all..
Why journalists are manipulating global warming data? Do you know the meaning of "propaganda" word?

http://tinyurl.com/yj6pcp4
seneca
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2010
doing NOTHING is even riskier
This is why I'm spending my time here. Frankly, I've a better job, then just to convince manipulated people, LHC poses a real threat even by mainstream theories. This is NOT my job - it could be a job of mainstream scientists, don't you think?
pauljpease
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
@seneca

Frankly, I've a better job, then just to convince manipulated people,


Manipulated? Really? I think there are other forums for your conspiracy theories. We're all ignorant to varying degrees, but to say that ACTUAL scientists are "manipulated" sounds a bit paranoid. You didn't in any way address my argument. I stated that, since all life on Earth will come to an end in a few hundred million years as the Sun's output roasts us alive, are we better off just waiting for it or should we take a small risk and maybe learn how to save the precious life on our planet?
seneca
1.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
..this planet is going to die one way or another..
In fact, LHC is just a byproduct of blind, formal and ignorant approach of people not just to Nature, but research and science itself, too.

I do believe, civilization as a whole could have a great future, but they should learn plural holistic thinking, i.e. the thinking which is based on reconciliation of existing theories instead of their denial. We should all become more informed and learned for this future. The current affair with LHC is just a product of ignorance on both sides.

I seriously worrying the money, invested into LHC construction, but it's still better, then to invest them into some war - doesn't it? Nevertheless, because we haven't experiments at LHC under control, we should destroy it. This is my recommendation - maybe some better solution exist, but I don't see any other perspective, until situation becomes clear.
seneca
1 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2010
..should we take a small risk and maybe learn how to save the precious life on our planet...
This is a nice story, indeed - but the latest fifty years of particle research just lead to the evolution of methods, how to destroy terrestrial life in more effective way.

Sorry, but I don't see any feasible usage for LHC and the way, in which LHC could save the life at the planet. With exception of gun, which could destroy asteroids at distance. For such purpose we should build accelerator at cosmic space, though - the terrestrial machine has no usage for it.

Even if we build such machine at cosmic space, there is always a nonzero risk, it will be used against Earth anyway, because here are still many desperate and asocial people capable to organize it. And the progress in technology would enable some country to build LHC replica soon or later in quiet.

So that the main task is, how to eliminate human factor from all these technologies for future.
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 27, 2010
I'm still stuck on
agriculture is demonstrably more dangerous to our civilization than the LHC experiment
How would you propose to demonstrate that one is more dangerous than the other? Agriculture gave rise to civilization. LHC hasn't really begun operating yet. What would you use as a control- amazon villages with tevatrons? Would you just do it with words?
Cyberadvan321
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2010
I don't have a problem with accelerators and nuclear research, in fact, I support it, but they need to have a high degree of confidence bordering on certainty that things will not go awry. Good contingency planning includes the possibilites that things may go wrong - in other words, equipment malfunctions, as well as planning for all equipment to function perfectly. For example, it has been stated that there would not be dense formatiion of black holes in simulaneous proximity to each other, because the colliding beams are a sort of circular, low-density "tokomak" style arrangment in which the collisions occur rarely and randomly in a more or less uniform distibution along the entire colliding beam path....well, what happens if accelerator magnets fail and the timing gets disrupted, and one of the particle beams "bunches up" into a mass and then collides with the opposing beam ?? These contingencies also need to be considered before "due diligence" has been perfomed.
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2010
This hazard can be estimated by LQG or string theory, for example. Is this theory is unprovable, then such theory is nonscientific.
Science is based on falsifiability, not on verifiability. If you don't understand the fundamental difference between both, you don't understand the meaning of science.
Your belief that a theory can be verified and even must be verified in order to be valid science proves that you are no scientist.
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2010
The incompetence of scientists to verify their own theories is striking.

The not so funny part of this story is, such ignorants want to test string theory again by preparation of black holes

Someone who doesn't know or understand the importance of falsifiability for science shouldn't call scientists "ignorants". It makes him look like a hypochondriac of science.
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2010
..Science is based on falsifiability, not on verifiability..
Theory which isn't verifiable isn't falsifiable, too - or not?
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2010
what happens if accelerator magnets fail and the timing gets disrupted, and one of the particle beams "bunches up" into a mass and then collides with the opposing beam ?
If an accelerator magnet fails the two opposing beams will not collide.
frajo
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2010
..Science is based on falsifiability, not on verifiability..
Theory which isn't verifiable isn't falsifiable, too - or not?
There is no verifiable theory in physics, there are only not (yet) falsified theories.
A theory which is not falsifiable is not a scientific theory.
A theory can and must be supported (by experiments) but it never can be verified like a mathematical theorem. It is rather improbable that there won't be any scientific progress in the next 1000 years.
broglia
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 28, 2010
.there is no verifiable theory in physics..
imperfect adjective "VERIFIABLE" does not equal "proved right under all circumstances". For example, is relativity verifiable? I do believe, this theory was verified by experiments in many ways.

http://www.thefre...rifiable

Verifiable = "capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation"
otto1923
not rated yet Jan 28, 2010
Jeez I don't know frajo- if something works it works. Scientists can reproduce results reliably without understanding the underlying mechanism, and they are doing science.
frajo
3.3 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2010
if something works it works. Scientists can reproduce results reliably without understanding the underlying mechanism, and they are doing science.
You are confusing science and engineering. Again. :)
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2010
That occured to me. But science is not only the formulation of theories but the accumulation of data, yes no? I bet the exploration of interesting phenomena occurs much more frequently than the effort to exhibit the presumed effects of some theory. A scientist producing a novel chemical reaction would first try to reproduce it. Cold fusionists tried to reproduce their results even as they tried to explain them, citing neutrons and excess heat as evidence of 'something'. Detractors attacked these results rather than attempt to refute their theories.
frajo
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 28, 2010
there is no verifiable theory in physics
imperfect adjective "VERIFIABLE" does not equal "proved right under all circumstances". For example, is relativity verifiable? I do believe, this theory was verified by experiments in many ways.
Accordingly you could maintain that Newton's mechanics was verified for three centuries. But then it was falsified because it couldn't explain the perihelion precession of Mercury. Obviously, verification is not a very reliable method of cognition.
It does not make sense if a theory can be declared verified _and_ falsified. Therefore we should speak of successful theories or of theories which are supported by experiments or of not yet falsified theories, but not of verified theories.
Verification of a physical theory implies assumptions by inductive reasoning which is a fundamentally weaker form of cognition than one single act of falsification. Falsification is more reliable than verification.
seneca
1 / 5 (4) Jan 28, 2010
Falsification is more reliable than verification
People tend to ignore losers, so that the existence of wrong falsifications is often neglected - but there doesn't exist reliable criterion of scientific theory validity of falsification, in fact.

IMO these two approaches are basically symmetric from obvious reason: you can be never sure by method of falsification, which could be falsified too - less or more later. A dense aether theory is a canonical example (scientists never considered it in its full extent, so they couldn't refute it reliably) - but many other falsifications of another theories were proven wrong later, too (for example heliocentric model, Wegener's theory of continental drift and many others, which were violently opposed first by mainstream).

We shouldn't forget, every successful idea had its deniers at its very beginning, who usually used scientific arguments - but these arguments were often based on wrong assumptions.
cakmn
5 / 5 (2) Jan 29, 2010
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

So, if one theory about putting the theories into practice suggests it's safe to do that, and another theory suggests that it's not safe, how do you decide which to choose?
broglia
2 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2010
It depends, which benefit you're expecting from this. In general, physicists as a community aren't very motivated in decreasing the number or complexity of theories used - it helps to keep their employment. Especially, if it could affect their own pet theories.

From this reason, number of theories increases gradually. Of course, for the rest of society it's advantageous to keep the number of theorists and their theories as low as possible in accordance to Occam's razor criterion - it saves money for salaries and verification.
JayK
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 29, 2010
So much anti-intellectualism on PhyOrg lately. Must be a good way to keep up the clicks.
seneca
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2010
The intellectuals, who cannot consider all variants in unbiased way aren't intellectuals.
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Jan 30, 2010
John Conway informed about a fresh decision concerning the plans for the Large Hadron Collider: In 2010, the LHC will be pumped up pretty quickly to twice 3.5 TeV i.e. 7 TeV center-of-mass energy. 7 TeV is a whopping 3.5 times higher than the current total energy at the Tevatron. It will work to accumulate one inverse femtobarn of collisions and stop, but not later than at the end of 2011.

http://blogs.disc...or-bust/
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2010
Falsify the hypothesis::verify the null-hypothesis. Hopefully we all recall how difficult it is to write a 'good' null-hypothesis.

Frajo, I've screamed and spewed spittle at my computer's display of some of your comments BUT here we agree!
GuruShabu
1 / 5 (6) Jan 30, 2010
Knowledge is finite. Ignorance is infinite.
A blackhole that small would keep on going at a extremely high velocity and we would never notice it.
However, a lawyer can say any BS he wants and we have to cope with that, unfortunately.
PeterROwen
not rated yet Jan 30, 2010
It depends, which benefit you're expecting from this. In general, physicists as a community aren't very motivated in decreasing the number or complexity of theories used - it helps to keep their employment. Especially, if it could affect their own pet theories.

From this reason, number of theories increases gradually. Of course, for the rest of society it's advantageous to keep the number of theorists and their theories as low as possible in accordance to Occam's razor criterion - it saves money for salaries and verification.

There's a lot of common (or should that be uncommon) sense in this contribution. The LHC is an European project - how many of those who are pronouncing the advent of doom are Americans working on their relatively much smaller machine?
NeilFarbstein
Jan 30, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
otto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2010
 16 And I saw something else under the sun:
       In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
       in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
Ecc3
The book- buy it, read it, use it-
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2010
Anti-and pro-religionists are both clueless about the bible. Its not about saving souls, its about saving the world!! John 3:16 (and I paraphrase) "For god so loved the WORLD that he would promise the people on it just about anything in order to save it from them (whosoever believeth in him shall have everlasting life bla bla bla.)" The bible tells us exactly how this is being accomplished and why. Read it from this perspective and you will understand. The people who wrote it could care less about an afterlife- they care very much about what you do in THIS life. They know your desire to escape death will cause you to serve and suffer on command. Why were they so explicit?
seneca
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
Secret danger of steady-state models:

It's well known, general relativity predicts, every sufficiently dense object should collapse into singularity fast, the faster, the smaller such object is. But the main problem of Schwarzschild black hole model is, it's a steady-state model: it doesn't care, how much time it would take to create true singularity for such dense matter (where energy spreads very slowly). As the result, true singularity can never exist in Universe of finite age.

The same, just AdS/CFT dual problem exist for quantum mechanics, which predicts in Hawking model of black hole radiation, every sufficiently dense black hole should evaporate fast - the faster, the smaller is. In this theory no such dense object could really exist inside of Universe...

Well, in Universe of infinite time, again.... But can our Universe wait for it? Note that even Albert Einstein didn't believe in both singularities, both in quantum mechanics very much.