Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

Lab Created Black Hole? 101

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the originally-dismissed-as-a-fart-in-the-air-conditioning dept.
Blarrrg writes "Humans may have created the first ever black hole in a lab. From the article: 'When the gold nuclei smash into each other they are broken down into particles called quarks and gluons. These form a ball of plasma about 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun. This fireball, which lasts just 10 million, billion, billionths of a second, can be detected because it absorbs jets of particles produced by the beam collisions.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lab Created Black Hole?

Comments Filter:

  • "I call it a 'Hawking hole'."
    - Stephen Hawking
  • Interesting Result (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanellis (302682) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:13AM (#14498604) Homepage Journal
    If it is a black hole, it's comforting to see that Hawking was right and they do evaporate, rather than sit at the Earth's core devouring us all.

    Even if it's not a black hole, experiments that produce surprising results are always welcome.
    • by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:05AM (#14498917) Homepage Journal
      If it is a black hole, it's comforting to see that Hawking was right and they do evaporate, rather than sit at the Earth's core devouring us all.

      You are aware that if he was wrong and the black hole didn't evaporate, then it would also emit no Hawking radiation and be largely undetectable? So it could very well have fallen out the bottom of the collider and even now be orbiting the Earth's core deep underground...

    • Wasn't going to happen anyway. A black hole's attaction is proportional to its mass, and since its event horizon radius (our co-ordinates) is likely to be pretty small, it's not going to bump into a lot so as to swallow it.
    • How do you know it evaporated? We could have been sucked into it and come out of the other side!

      Rik
    • Even if it's not a black hole, experiments that produce surprising results are always welcome.

      I would have said "experiments that produce surprising results and are reproducable are always welcome."

      Cold Fusion (for one, there are others) produced surprising results but these results were not reproducable by others.
    • rather than sit at the Earth's core devouring us all

      Yeah, like that could ever happeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
  • Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:22AM (#14498644) Journal
    How about instead of the beeb we get some papers?

    http://arxiv.org/find/grp_q-bio,grp_cs,grp_physics ,grp_math,grp_nlin/1/all:+AND+Nastase [arxiv.org]"+"Horatiu/0/ 1/0/all/0/1

    Direct link didn't work in the preview so you guys have to copy and paste.

    Not all are directly related to the article, but a few are.
  • duration? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Uncle Kadigan (839922) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:25AM (#14498664)
    This fireball, which lasts just 10 million, billion, billionths of a second,

    So, it lasts 10, 000,000, 000,000,000 / 1,000,000,000 = 10, 000,000 or 10 million seconds, or (lessee, carry the one...) almost 116 days?

    You know, scientific notation [wikipedia.org] was created for a reason.

    • I wish I had mod points - at least I can thank you for saving me from having to point out the exact same thing. I had to read the original post a couple of times and still couldn't get my brain to accept "10 million, billion, billionths" as valid input...
    • You know, scientific notation was created for a reason.

      Yes, and that reason was to confuse the hell out of me. It sounds a lot bigger to say billion million trillion than to say 1x10^24.

      I mean, who needs exact numbers when all you really need to know is that it's so big you shouldn't think about it for fear of a migraine.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It _wasn't_ supposed to be an incredibly big number; it was supposed to be incredibly _small_. The wording obfuscated that fact.
      • billion million trillion than to say 1x10^24

        What's confusing?

        Just remember the "24" in your 1x10^24 is basically the number of digits (in this case, zeroes) after the 1. Seems pretty impressive, maybe moreso than the billion million trillion, and has the added benefit of being more exact.

        The time in this story, however, is going to be more like 1x10^-24 -- which would be a decimal point and 24 zeroes before the 1. AKA really, really small.
      • You know, scientific notation was created for a reason.

        Yes, and that reason was to confuse the hell out of me. It sounds a lot bigger to say billion million trillion than to say 1x10^24.

        But seeing as how a billion million trillion would be 10^27, or 10^36 if you're using British billions etc., I think the hell is pretty well confused out of you anyway.

        Aside from it being more easily & properly called an "octillion", or "quadrilliard" by British counting.

      • I believe the technical term is a bazillion [wikipedia.org].
  • by BurntNickel (841511) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:37AM (#14498740)

    These form a ball of plasma about 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun.

    According to The Physics Factbook [hypertextbook.com] the temperature of the surface of the sun is approximately 6000 C [hypertextbook.com]. (I am assuming that it is the photosphere temperature that is ment here.) A temperature 300 times higher would be about 1.8 million C which is an order of magnitude less than the temperature at the center of the sun (~15 million C). I would have thought that these collions would have resulted in temperatures much higher than that.

    Does anyone have a better reference for the effective temperature involved?

    • by slughead (592713) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @11:37AM (#14499761) Homepage Journal
      Does anyone have a better reference for the effective temperature involved?

      It's about a billion times hotter than the ambient temperature of the Library of Congress.
      • It's about a billion times hotter than the ambient temperature of the Library of Congress.

        Somehow this got an "Insightful" rating. I think you were going for "Funny." It's only about 6000 times hotter, and you DID carry out the calculation using KELVINS, right? Ratios of temperature are meaningless unless you're using Kelvins.

        • I think the mods just wanted to give me more karma.. either that or they think I'm good at math. I thank 'em just the same.
        • It's only about 6000 times hotter, and you DID carry out the calculation using KELVINS, right? Ratios of temperature are meaningless unless you're using Kelvins.

          Not _such_ a big deal when dealing with multiples of the temperature of the solar surface. The figure in kelvin isn't so different from centigrade. When the figure's 6000-ish, it's less than one part in 20.

          It's when I hear of something described as, say 'ten thousand times the temperature of boiling water' that I get cross. Unless, that is, they

      • the above math is bad.

        a billion time absolute zero is still absolute zero. and I think by Library of Congress the poster meant Congress as in US House and Senate.......
      • I think it's more like a million, billion billionth of a degree hotter. Or something like that.
    • If the temperature is right, this implies this kind of event is happening constantly, on a massive scale, somewhere deep in our sun, and every other second generation star with a supply of heavy elements in it; seeing as our sun is still around, I don't think we have much to worry about from ravenous mini-black holes... Or do heavy elements (i.e. higher than Fe) get fissioned into smaller elements so quickly that none of them exist in quantity inside of stars?
    • I would have thought that these collions would have resulted in temperatures much higher than that.

      Any particular reason you would think the temperature should be much higher than 6000C, or are you just making noise?
    • My educated gess is that the issue is confusion about the "surface of the sun". As you say, the photosphere is about 6000 C. I'm guessing they meant the corona, above the photosphere. The corona is between about one and two million degrees C.

      An interesting side note is that scientists are not exactly sure why the corona is so vastly hotter than the underlying visible photosphere. If I recall, the main theory to explain it is some verstion of electrical heating from the intense magnetic fields.

      Another signif
  • Good god! (Score:2, Funny)

    by yobjob (942868)
    This isn't the sort of experiment that I want to see go out of control...
    • This isn't the sort of experiment that I want to see go out of control...

      I'm guessing that you'd be dead before you knew anything was wrong. So, no big deal right?
      • There is always time for you to say "oh sh*t/f*ck/d*mn/darn/snap/etc./!" - don't you watch cheesey movies and bad sci-fi TV?
      • Actually a small black hole would fall to the center of the Earth and start munching. It would take- I forget exactly how long, weeks to consume the whole Earth.

        But these are way too small, they might get one atom before evaporating. One atom isn't enough to keep a hungry youngster growing and they starve to death. How sad!

    • Yeah, that would suck. *cymbal crash*
  • A friend of mine (a nuclear physicist) worked on a similar project at CERN (IIRC). At the time there were some (mostly unfounded) worries that the produced black holes would be a danger to man kind (they're not, as the article says they evaporate so quickly you hardly get to detect them.) Anyway, he said that if everything goes to hell, he planned to enter the afterlife wearing a t-shirt saying "I DID IT!" :-)
    • I'm thinking it would be neat if the accelerator controls had audio "themes" like desktop operating systems. Then you could make them play a sample of Trevor Goodchild in (the original) Aeon Flux saying "Congratulations, you've just wipe out the entire human race" when they detect the creation of a self-sustaining black hole.
      • by meringuoid (568297)
        I'm thinking it would be neat if the accelerator controls had audio "themes" like desktop operating systems. Then you could make them play a sample of Trevor Goodchild in (the original) Aeon Flux saying "Congratulations, you've just wipe out the entire human race" when they detect the creation of a self-sustaining black hole.

        Hmm.

        Mood: slightly guilty
        Listening to: Neon Genesis Evangelion soundtrack - Komm Susser Tod.mp3
        Reading: Usenet group alt.destroy.the.earth

        im feelin kinda bad about what i did at

        • Could somebody meta-moderate this, please? This is a great comment, but I'm pretty sure it's more +5, Funny Than +5, Insightful.

          Unless of course Meringuoid really works for CERN or somesuch, in which case, well...thanks for the heads-up I guess...

  • I thought this was one of the many reasons that CERN was getting new particle accelerators. It was my understanding (from my tour at CERN) that current particle accelerators just didn't have enough energy to create these miniature black holes and the first experiments to try wouldn't be started until the end of this decade when the new CERN detectors are finished.

  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:56AM (#14498876) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer: I'm studying/working on this stuff.

    AFAIK, there's a strong dispute over whether this is really a black hole. The most plausible explanation against black holes at RHIC is that you get similar effects (rapid thermalization) from the high acceleration only, and gravity is not needed. Google for 'Unruh effect' for more.

    The interesting/important bit about these heavy ion collision experiments is the creation of quark-gluon plasma, which resembles matter at the very early stages of our universe.

    • AFAIK, there's a strong dispute over whether this is really a black hole.

      The BBC never makes mistakes like that... I swear to God, that elevator reported on yesterday really DOES travel at 3,314 feet/second! It's so if the Earths gravity suddenly disappears, at least you wont spill your coffee on the way up to your office!
  • Interesting paper (Score:2, Interesting)

    /.-ers may be interested in this article [nature.com] by Max Tegmark and Nick Bostrom which discusses various possibilities for doomsday (including formation of black-holes in HEP experiments). The gist of it is that we shouldn't become complacent about such events just because they haven't happened yet -- rather the fact that we observe that the Earth/Solar-System/Galaxy/Universe has existed so long is simply an observational effect.
  • Not a black hole? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aielman (735065) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:07AM (#14498928)
    It's not really a 'black hole', more of a 'singularity'. IANAPhysicist, but in my opinion a black hole actually lasts long enough to trap at least one photon (hence the word 'black'). During the 1E-25 seconds this singularity was around, a photon moving at a nice round 3E8 m/s has the opportunity to move about 0.0000003 Angstroms. 1 Angstrom is the width of a hydrogen atom. This kind of makes me wonder how fast the "jets of particles" are moving that are absorbed. Is it more that they just didn't appear when expected so were assumed absorbed?
  • so in a couple of years i could have one of these things in the bottom of my trash can and never take out the trash again? yeah science!
  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:23AM (#14499028) Homepage Journal
    >> Humans may have created the first ever black hole in a lab.

    That's nothin'. Three years ago my PHB created a black hole in his office. He calls it a desk, but everyone else knows better.
  • Than the surface of the Sun. This fireball, which lasts just 10 million, billion, billionths of a second, can be detected because it absorbs jets of particles produced by the beam collisions.

    Joy. Sounds like the nuclear handgrenades in the old pulp "Time Wars" series by Simon Hawke. No doubt there are lots of good uses like propulsion or power generation as well.

  • by mencial (848314)
    Supernovas Are Industrial Accidents
  • Come on, here at my small university we have a homegrown black hole. We have a guy here, last name Black and we occasionally play basketball on our lunch breaks. Whenever we pass the ball to him, we never see it again. Nickname: The Black Hole. We have been studying this phenomena for some time now. The one strange part is, when we pass the ball to him, it can often be seen immediately being repelled in an upward arch towards some unknown destination. We usually call this The Ill-Advised Shot.
  • I was wondering where all those headcrabs suddenly came from.
  • Not a black hole (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First off, this is a dupe from a Slashdot story earlier this year, though I didn't turn it up. Second, as was pointed out in that thread, this isn't a black hole. The paper concerns a dual black hole [arxiv.org]. Without going into the mathematical details, a "dual black hole" is something that doesn't behave like a black hole, but whose behavior can be mapped into a mathematical "dual space" in which it does behave like a black hole, so that we can use the mathematics of black holes to describe the non-black hole b
    • Several similar mistakes have been made in reporting stories like this in recent years. It's not unusual for two physical systems to be described by similar mathematical models even though they are not in fact similar systems (at least not in the conventional sense of 'similar'). Studying one of these physical systems can give clues about how the other might behave. But it doesn't actually mean that a system of the first type is actually a system of the second type.
  • how do you know it didn't just, in a billion-trillion billionth of a second, fall to the center of the earth, where it is now getting all the raw mass it needs to grow and grow .. ?

    i mean, after all, you can't really measure what you're doing..
    • Because with that little mass, it should Hawking radiate much faster than it can accrete matter, and therefore it would evaporate into a stream of photons long before it could gain enough mass to become self-sustaining. It's suspended in a particle accelerator for the 10^-27 seconds it exists. It's not even going to fall a hydrogen atom's atomic radius in that time, much less pull anything in. Consider the gravity of two gold atoms (g = G*M1*M2/r/r). You don't even notice the gravity between two people cram
  • Did anyone else notice that this news is 10 months old?

    From the top of the page:

    Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 11:30 GMT

  • The BBC article is from March 17 and it was on /. on March 17. http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/1 7/1541230 [slashdot.org]
  • Going back to Mr. Taco's post regarding Story Selection [slashdot.org]. I'd really like to know just what it is that ScuttleMonkey is smoking???

    Well, I suppose there is one good thing about this post, at least it wasn't made by **Beatles-Beatles [slashdot.org].

    For those unfamiliar with that story, 18 of 20 submissions by **Beatles-Beatles have been posted by ScuttleMonkey - At one point, three in a row (within a few hours). I'm wondering when the other /. admins are going to wake up to this crap...

    I fully expect my karma to be obl

  • by mattr (78516)
    This event is probably not so big since it evaporates according to a popular theory. On the other hand as energies get bigger presumably the black holes will get bigger. Or something else. The point is that the momentum behind a project pushes the experiment through event though there are a few people who think it is quite dangerous. If you are being objective and have unlimited resources i.e. to make an accelerator in outer space, you would be insane to say you are taking a "calculated risk" when the r
    • I think that the scientific experiment backfiring explanation of Fermi's paradox is one of the most convincing of all of the explanations I've heard.

      While it's difficult to not be anthropocentric, it seems fair to assume that the timeline of technological development of an extra-terrestrial intelligence would be roughly similar to ours (e.g. no species will experience their equivalent steel age before their stone age, nor their nuclear age before their steel age). It is conceivable that along this natu

    • My understanding of the ignighting the atmosphere issue surrounding the atomic bomb was that it was a fear of the politicomilitary people involved, NOT the scientists. I recall reading in "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman" that Richard Feynman, when observing the "Trinity" experimental atomic blast from the 20 mile marker, ditched the welders glass and watched from his truck, because he knew the front glass was UV shielded and that at that distance that would take care of anything the bomb put out - the go
    • The Oh-my-god particle [fourmilab.ch] had an energy of 3.2 x 10^20 eV, whereas RHIC can only get particles up to 10^11 eV/nucleon (~ 2 x 10^13 eV for gold). For 4.55 billion years Nature has been performing experiments at least 10 million times more energetic than anything we can do without catastrophe.
  • altough it's an old news item and the blackhole is quit tiny. Keep in mind that this was only al "realy SMALL" particle collider. Currently there's an international project by europe china and america, the large particle collider, see http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/ [web.cern.ch] When ready (soon) this will be the biggest of it's kind and i wonder what things it might create. I don't like the idea of a blackhole near earth..
  • by mmell (832646)
    Y'know, IIRC fifteen years ago a high-energy experiment in Texas was halted by the courts amid fears that a high-energy interaction on the scale being anticipated might cause the formation of a universe within our universe (which, expanding at c would obliterate our planet in microseconds, our solar system in minutes . . .).

    Create a universe (or a black hole) in a lab? My, how high and proud our civilization has become. I think that's called "hubris", isn't it?

    Is there anybody here who thinks that we ca

    • Um, the creation of miniature black holes in HEP is very likely, but not dangerous to anything other than the results. As the black holes evaporate do to Hawkings Radiation, they mess up perfectly good data. But they cannot in anyway harm people.
  • Julia emailed me and said I could see all her black holes. But I felt uncomfortable and deleted it.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...