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LHC Flips On Tomorrow 526

BTJunkie writes "The Large Hadron Collider, the worlds most expensive science experiment, is set to be turned on tomorrow. We've discussed this multiple times already. A small group of people believe our world will be sucked into extinction (some have even sent death threats). The majority of us, however, won't be losing any sleep tonight." Reader WillRobinson notes that CERN researchers declared the final synchronization test a success and says, "The first attempt to circulate a beam in the LHC will be made this Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV). The start up time will be between (9:00 to 18:00 Zurich Time) (2:00 to 10:00 CDT) with live webcasts provided at webcast.cern.ch."
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LHC Flips On Tomorrow

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  • by omnivagus ( 1005211 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:29PM (#24938807)
    It's an odd coincidence that Dan Simmons, in his Hyperion Cantos [wikipedia.org] series of books, talks about an event called the "Big Mistake of '08" where humanity creates a tiny black hole during a scientific experiment, eventually leading to the destruction of Earth... Of course he doesn't say which century this was in ;-)
  • by philspear ( 1142299 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:47PM (#24939009)

    Microscopic black holes would evaporate in a very small amount of time due to Hawking radiation..

    Are you willing to gamble the existence of the universe on that untested hypothesis? Yes?

    By the way, every biology article gets tagged "whatcouldpossiblygowrong?" An article showing that artificial DNA self-associates was tagged that. No chance of killer viruses from that, yet it got the tag. Here we have a scientific study with some people actually claiming it will end the earth. They may be idiots, but people who worry about DNA strands creating vampires like in I am legend are just as idiotic. What gives?

    I personally say it's only because no movies have yet taken the idea of LHC and mangled it into nonsense to use as a plot device the way they've used killer artificial viruses. And that's probably only because "complete oblitheration of the world" is a pretty boring plot.

  • by TheDauthi ( 219285 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @06:48PM (#24939019)
    The fear is that the LHC is doing one thing differently - any black holes created in the upper atmosphere would have a velocity approaching that of light, and pass harmlessly through the earth, grabbing a proton or two on the way. At the LHC, it's possible that some of the holes created would have a much lower velocity - less than escape velocity. Those holes wouldn't just leave earth, they'd stick around.

    First, we actually have to be in the right range to create the black holes. This is very, very unlikely - it requires large extra dimensions, something allowed for but not expected in theory.

    Then there's Hawking radiation. While there's no reason to believe it doesn't exist (and several to believe it does), it hasn't been experimentally verified. If it doesn't exist, or if a black hole radiates much slower than expected, any created holes could survive long enough to actually absorb more matter.

    This [arxiv.org] PDF has the interesting math behind all of this.

    Note: No, I'm not even saying they're right. I'm simply stating what their argument is for it. There's a lot of problems with those arguments, and I'm on the "destroy the world? Yeah, right?" side. I'm actually having an LHC get-together tomorrow night, and plan to have an Mad Scientist "End of the World" party on October 21, when they're having the first high-energy collisions.
  • by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:01PM (#24939179)

    I don't understand the whole "miniature black hole" thing. I think the naysayers have just been reading too much sci-fi. Microscopic black holes would evaporate in a very small amount of time due to Hawking radiation.

    Yes, if Hawking is right about the radiation. But suppose he's wrong? Or worse, suppose in our attempt to recreate conditions similar to those around the time of the Big Bang, we actually recreate the Big Bang? That's one answer to the Fermi Paradox.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:40PM (#24939671) Journal

    Does he explain how a proton is going to acquire enough mass into a small enough radius to turn into a blackhole without using lorenz transformations, E=mC^2 and relativistic weirdness?

  • by omnivagus ( 1005211 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @07:41PM (#24939673)
  • by Tmack ( 593755 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @08:27PM (#24940293) Homepage Journal

    No boom tomorrow either:

    "First beam circulated" != "First collisions"

    I duno, when the beam needs a Dump Block [ieee.org] consisting of an 8M long, 10ton graphite rod encased in 1000 tons of concrete, and even then has to be directed around in a pattern to keep from burning through it because it is "capable of melting a 500-kilogram block of copper," Id say boom possible, but not likely. I just wouldnt want to be in the tunnels with something like that racing around held in place by magnets, if one nearby turns off, BOOM you either turn into the incredible hulk, get zapped off to another world [wikipedia.org] or simply vaporized like that 500kg block of copper.


  • by bugeaterr ( 836984 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @09:27PM (#24940973)

    Mod the above as +10 Informative since most news outlets completely missed this point in their coverage.

    The *actual* doomsday will occur when the first collisions occur in one to two months. [uslhc.us]

    Much cooler than a black hole would be Death By Strangelet [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 09, 2008 @11:22PM (#24942023)

    I saw this on the discovery channel

    Migres, migres de Geneue trestous,
    Saturne d'or en fer se chargera,
    Le contre Raypoz exteriminera tous,
    Auvant l'aruent le ciel signes fera.

    get out of Geneva
    a "saturn" metal construction will charge.
    The opposition of positive rays will exterminate all
    Before the happening, the sky will make signs

    quiet impressive terminology for someone who lived in the XVI century


  • by Msdose ( 867833 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:28AM (#24944185)

    The physicists are basing their experiments on concepts such as supersymmetry, phase change, gauge theory etc. These are not things that are well understood and defined enough to be called laws of nature. The experiments based on them are very speculative. Other better understood laws of nature such as evolution, genetics, and anthropology are not given any weight when considering the consequences of the experiments. Evolution would suggest that the universe exists now as the current iteration of a long series of universes, each recycled from the last in some process perhaps similar to the LHC experiments. The history of the world is ten thousand religions leading their people to extinction in religious wars. Their policies of eugenics breed zombies who want to die and take the whole world with them. Pack a lunch!

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe