back to article CERN declares Large Hadron Collider perfectly safe

Here's some good news for those of you who like the universe just the way it is: CERN has declared its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) perfectly safe. The LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has issued a report (summary here), which addresses the key concerns surrounding the doomsday particle accelerator, due to fire up later this …

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Alert

Proof?

"Since such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, ......."

How do they know that ?!? (Also note the use of the weasel word 'visible')

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Coat

LHC?

doesn't that stand for "Likely Harbinger of Cthulhu"? Or was that "Lawks! Hello, Cthulhu"; I forget which.

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Paris Hilton

Why does it matter anyway?

Surely if the collider opens up a black hole, then we will all be dead in micro-seconds so we won't have anything to worry about. I also have no idea how CERN can be completely sure that they won't create a black hole. a lot of theories regarding the universe are just 'learned' speculation, anyway.....

I say start spending your life-savings on beer and women.... or men.... etc. Were all doomed...

Paris isn't losing too much sleep about this either....

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Anonymous Coward

It's at least as safe as ...

Well, nuclear power, or house prices.

CERN say "such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, they will not be made by the LHC"

or alternatively

Financial experts say "there has never been a significant collapse in the financial sector and we don't expect one now" (subprime)

or alternatively

Nuclear experts say "there has never been a significant loss of life nuclear incident worth worrying about therefore there never will be one"

Something somewhere is being misrepresented.

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Paris Hilton

More Stable

"Moving swiftly on to vaccum bubbles - described as the universe in "a more stable state...in which we could not exist"

More stable, as in one where brown and blair hadn't ruined our economy?

PH because she is the personification of stable.

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Ash
Joke

LHC Safety Assessment Group?

Please! No "Safety of the LHC Assessment Group?

Much more apt, as it's what we'll reduce the earth to.

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Tim
Boffin

Misleading device name?

Are people worried because they will be colliding "large" hadrons? Do they think these are the size of volkswagens or summat? Everyone knows that blackholes smaller than three solar masses evaporate to nothing due to hawking radiation, and even if one is made in the collider, it will last in the order of picoseconds, so why all the fuss? i think people just want to moan. Bleedin' swiss!

Also, now is FAR too late....they've built the bugger!

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Paris Hilton

Fermi

I guess we will know soon how the Fermi Paradox is solved ;)

Paris because she has more attraction than a Black Hole.

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Alien

Base Rules ..... with Pyjamahadeen.

Strangelets Rule in NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity then. Just Perfect.

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270 odd below.

In the interest of global warming et al, wouldn't it be better to turn off all these thingies. They must take a huge amount of energy to be driven.

3

2

1

Let the flames begin (or mini-blackholes, whatever floats your boat).

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Alert

...in the test chamber...

Just get Gordon Freeman in to start the tests. What could go wrong?

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Jobs Horns

I'm not concerned...

...that a black hole will eat up our earth. "[...]would have no time to start accreting matter and to cause macroscopic effects[...]" And if so, who am I to care since 'the whole world's gone crazy' anyway. But remember the film Event Horizon? Anyone?

EAfH, awaiting to go back to hell...

Ballmer, for obvious reason.

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Coat

And 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Engage.

There, perfectly s........

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Gates Halo

@ Why does it matter anyway?

Is that title a pun?

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Unhappy

Greedy guts

So the whole thing is kept as close as possible to Absolute Zero temperature?? Exactly how much energy must that thing gobble every second of every minute of every hour, before you even start colliding 'stuff'?!!

Is that Greenpeace I (don't) see camped outside the gates...?

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Alien

See and learn, my young Grundfshlorps...

... in that year, the earthlings devised a method of fucking up on a... more universal scale. And they did.

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Stop

hold on..

Black holes we're familiar with are caused by stars collapsing under their own weight to unimaginably small concentrations. Even if a handful of matter can generate enough energy to somehow form a black hole, would it even be possible to detect such a thing?

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Coat

It wouldn't be the first time....

........... that stuff has disappeared into Black Holes in Switzerland.

And I would just like to take this opportunity to re-iterate that I welcome our Trans-Dimensional overlords and their minions from the nth Pit of Hell.

My coat was next to that Giraffe in the corner..........

.........You sure there isn't a leak of Strange matter?

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Flame

Blackmesa?

Does anyone else worry?

Is it time to break out the HEV suits?

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Go

but...

surely the point of the LHC is to probe energy scales never probed (on an earth based experiment). As a theoretical physicist myself I'm sure not every theory to date can cover every possible scenario (much as some of them really are just crackpot), so saying we don't expect them doesn't mean they won't be there - Rutherford didn't expect to see his alpha particles fly back at him, but they did!

And RHIC hasn't produced any to date... right - so that doesn't say RHIC will never produce them, so it's therefore statistically possible that the first thing LHC could produce when running in Pb-Pb mode are the frankly terrifying strangelets.

Mind you - if LHC weakens string theory's stance further I'm happy to run the risk of annihilation!

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Re: Proof?

Well, the only proof is to go out there and observe the universe for a few million years.

That's a long time to hold your breath.

We are hit every day by particles with 200 JOULES of energy. eight orders of magnitude bigger than LHC.

Now for those thinking "balck holes suck matter in", I say "you watched too much "The Black Hole". That was a movie.

If you're orbiting something and it suddenly turns into a black hole completely, all that's changed is you can't see anything any more. You don't get sucked in. The gravitational attraction is just the same.

A quick question as well: have any of you done the calculations what size the black hole would be in a 10TeV collision? If ALL of it were turned into mass about 10^-29 kg.

What is the event horizon?

10^-53m

Since gravitational strength falls as the square of the difference, what's the 1G limit?

about 10^-19m

Compare with the size of an atom:

10^-11m

IF we take the view that 1g is enough to suck an atom in, that's a 1-in10^16 chance of sucking an atom in.

How many atoms are there in a straight line from one side of the earth to the other? about 10^18.

It will grow 100 atoms each time it passes through the earth. And at 1g, what's the period? 10^4 seconds.

So how long to get to 1g mass? That's about 10^24 silicon atoms. That would take 10^22 passes taking a period of 10^26 seconds. 10^19 years.

That's IF 1g acceleration is enough to suck an atom in against the forces of chemical bonding.

You can shorten that somewhat by doing the calculations properly, but then you'd have to work out what pull would be needed to break a silicon bond. And that's a lot more than 1g.

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Go

Theories

I could have sworn we still referred to Einstein's *theory of* relativity.

I can't work out what an "acceptable" risk would be. We can't prove it won't implode and shatter the earth without firing it up, because we don't know the physics yet (else why are we building it).

OTOH we can't expect to do only things which are absolutely safe, or we would never go outside.

The potential danger here (supposedly destruction of the solar system) is quite high, but at what point is that risk worth taking in order to advance our understanding of the universe. is 20% OK, but 21% not?

I'm surprised no one has suggested a lunar build though (*I* know it wouldn't make a difference, but they don't seem to be thinking straight either)

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AC & Frank

You may as well say "how do I know that making a cheese sandwitch wont bring Gozila in to existance". Please stop using the stupid arguments of paranoids and bible bashers.

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Black Helicopters

Flash in the pan

The most convincing argument to me that this is safe is that we have cosmic rays bombarding us from space which have been observed to have energies of one hundred million times the energy of the particles in the LHC. If anything was going to happen, it already would have. Anyone seriously think the conditions inside the LHC are anything whatsoever on the natural fireworks elsewhere in the universe that kick shrapnel our way all the time?

Black helicopter because I'm obviously part of the conspiracy.

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Coat

Black Mesa

I hope Gordan Freeman works there or we're all headlice.

Coat because I still play the games.........

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Anonymous Coward

@Edward Rose

So does Google. Shall we power it off as well? We don't need it, after all. In fact, think how much power we'd save by shutting off the whole internet!

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@Colin

> Surely if the collider opens up a black hole, then we will all be dead in

> micro-seconds so we won't have anything to worry about.

If a black hole was created by the LHC it could only have the mass of the particles involved at most, so that's why it would be expected to evaporate very, very quickly. If somehow the hole was large enough to survive long enough to suck in more matter and grow, then it would fall towards the centre of the earth and start to orbit around the common centre of gravity, eventually carving out a large enough space in the core that we would start to see increased earthquakes, vulcanism, radiation effects and heating. Finally the earth's crust would collapse in, but that could all take months.

You're perhaps thinking of a black hole of stellar mass being conjured up, which isn't going to happen. However even then you wouldn't necessarily die in micro-seconds -- you might be far enough away to see just how long it would take those closer to the event horizon than you to die....

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Pirate

Walter L Wagner

He can be ignored. If the LHC is safe, then he has no case. If it isn't, he (nor anyone else) will exist, so he can't pursue his writ.

(and how come a European - CERN - project in France/Switzerland concerns a Hawaiian's "tax dollars"?)

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@above

The report's point isn't that vacuum bubbles haven't been observed, therefore they don't exist. That would be pretty stupid.

The report's point is that if it was possible for the LHC to create vacuum bubbles (or any other planet-eating event), then planets wouldn't exist, because every astronomical body in the Universe has been subject to the same conditions that the LHC can generate, millions of times. Since planets exist, the LHC is safe.

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Coat

Gordon Freeman......

thinks this is a bad idea.

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Joke

Sayeth the caveman...

Ogg, stop that!!!

Don't you know that by rubbing those sticks together, you'll cause the whole world to catch fire, destroying us all?!?!?

Yes, I've heard your arguments that the fires started by lightning don't burn down the whole world. But how can you know, really, really know, that the fire you're trying to start won't somehow be "different"?

And even if it doesn't cause a conflagration, need I remind you that you fools and your "progress" are wasting time that should be spent hunting?

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more stable

No, more stable as in 'oxygen and hydrogen won't react to create water' kind of stable. And the researchers are right about their statement, we've (indirectly) observed black holes, we know about strangelets, but there's absolutely nothing indicating the possible exsistense (sp?) of these vacuum bubbles.

If relatively common cosmic ray collisions with energies far above what the LHC can produce can't generate strangelets or these vacuum bubbles, there's nothing to fear from the LHC.

I specifically didn't mention microscopic black holes there because they could at least in some theories be made. And then Hawking and his radiation come around the corner and make the black hole go 'pop' before it can do anything interesting.

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Happy

I for one

welcome our proton-eating magnetic monopolar overlords

Of course if the LSAG is wrong we will probably never know as everything will just s

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@Frank

Yup, that's a serious weasel word. We can only see ~10 billion light-years in every direction. While micro-black holes, strangelets, and vacuum bubbles have not caused havoc anywhere in that ~4 million trillion trillion cubic light years of space, doesn't mean that it hasn't happened somewhere else...

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Alien

The Universe...

We have always wondered where the matter that created the Big Bang came from (unless you are American, in which case there was no big bang) but science has never really found an answer, until now!

This monster of a machine will create a black hole that will grow really big (scientific term there) and start to suck in the Earth followed by the entire Universe. As black holes can (apparently, according to the telly at least) exist in two different times, its quite possible that we open one end of a black hole here, and another black hole way back in the past.

Now all the matter that gets sucked in on this time of the universe, finds its way back to the other side of the black hole which then fills up, like petrol in a tank, only cheaper, then once it is full enough, it will explode in a Big Bang!!

I call it first, we're about to create the Universe!

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Thumb Down

Where are they?

The universe seems full of planets (more discovered every day), yet intelligent, technological life seems rare. If it was common, the SETI project would have detected their radio traffic.

One possible explanation is that technological civilizations evolve and start broadcasting radio, but disappear within a short period of time - possibly in a cataclysm triggered by taking one chance too many with a high energy physics experiment.

I'd feel a lot better if the darn thing was built on the moon, or in a space station.

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Alien

Who's been reading...

... David Brin's 'Earth'?

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Black Helicopters

It's safe

It's very simple to say why it's safe. The universe has been bombarding the earth with particles as energetic (and far more energetic) than anything they can make at CERN since the planet was formed(*). The bombarding particles are called cosmic rays. The earth is still here. So is the moon. So is the sun (a MUCH bigger target). So are eight other planets in the Solar system. What we don't see is any former planets or moons collapsed into black holes or strange matter.

If highly energetic particles could collapse matter into black holes or cause destructive phase changes with any non-vanishing probability(**), it would have happened by now and we wouldn't be here. Or more likely, would have happened to the sun by now because it's so much bigger, and we also wouldn't be here.

Black helicopter, because some people won't believe anything except a conspiracy theory that says mad scientists are trying to blow up the world.

(*) this can be proved. Cosmic rays leave scars in crystals called zircons. Zircon is the first mineral to crystallize out of hot molten rock, and has such a high melting point, and is so hard, that once having formed, zircons are almost indestructible by geological processes in the Earth's crust. One can date them by radioactive decay of Uranium traces that they contain. The oldest are around four billion years old. Before then the planet had not formed, or was all molten.

(**) In a quantum universe, everything has a probability, it's just that it's zero to a gazillion decimal places for most things. There's nothing except probability to stop your arm falling off because all the molecules in it happen to move away from your body at the same time ... trust me, that won't happen either, but feel free to worry about it if you need to.

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Coat

Ia Cthlhu Fhtagn Gordon Freeman!

I'm not sure what will happen.

Thankfully I shall be eaten first.

Mine's the Hazard Suit with the Elder sign painted on.

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Stop

@Colin Morris

Because, by the rules of science, you can't be a theory without significant corroborating evidence. Otherwise, you're still just a hypothesis.

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Joke

re: Why does it matter anyway?

I think the argument is that if it did produce black holes, they'd be atom sized. If you're worried about the gravitational attraction of atoms, you're probably in the wrong place and want the next Universe along.

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Coat

@AC and @Frank

"vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe" probably means that highly energetic cosmic rays haven't produced them, so why would our pea-shooter of a particle accelerator create one?

According to thickypedia:

"Particle accelerations have reached energies of only approximately four thousand billion electron volts (4 ×10^3 GeV). Cosmic ray collisions have been observed at and beyond energies of 10^11 GeV, the so-called Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin limit. John Leslie has argued[10] that if present trends continue, particle accelerators will exceed the energy given off in cosmic ray collisions by the year 2150."

So our current technology is about 250 million times too puny; anyone around in a hundred and fifty years might do good business with tinfoil hats though...

Mine's the lead lined one

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Anonymous Coward

What a laugh

hehe...

Wouldn't it be funny if our entire planet just disappeared into a black hole that WE had created, it would be a very amusing way to die.

So How did you die, were you shot??

No, I didn't get shot, or die of old age, or die due to cancer or getting my body blown to nothing by a huge f**k off nuclear weapon, no, just got swolled up by a man made black hole!! Quality!

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Joke

@AC, Mark

@AC: Sense of humour, spelling skills - get some.

@Mark: Thank you for that.

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Has to be said

I, for one, welco<*zzffib*>

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Boffin

Just a heads up for the fear mongers

But we've been making black holes in the lab for awhile now.

No Kidding!

Synthetic: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/33256 (Made by pulsing two different colors through fiber optics, it only generates event horizons.)

And Whoops! real: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4357613.stm (Made out of solid gold, lasts just 10 million, billion, billionths of a second. You can't make up stuff as weird as this!)

And guess what, we're still here!

PS: if you're worried about strangelets, better check under the bed. There's a higher probability that the boogey man exists!

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Coat

A bit of excitement

So what if it creates a black hole that swallows the earth. The chances are equally as good we'll just come out the other side, but with messy hair and a lot of sweeping up to do as a voice fades into the distance 'goddamn that was cool! let's do it again...."

If we can't put our faith in some of the best scientific minds of the 20th and 21st century, we're pretty much buggered anyway.

I'll get my coat, its cold in them there black holes :)

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Anonymous Coward

Another AC writes...

> "According to the well-established properties of gravity, described by Einstein’s relativity, it is impossible for microscopic black holes to be produced at the LHC."

AFAIK Einstein didn't believe in black holes, i.e. that they could be derived from his theories. Pari passu microscopic black holes. But who are they trying to kid? Doesn't everyone know that both Relativity and Quantum Physics cannot be true (at the same time, in the same universe, etc)?

Anon, as of course I don't want to be blamed for murdering Goddess Gaia.

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Unhappy

Un-bloody-believable

It never ceases to amaze me how people can get their panties in a bunch over some highly improbable (tending to impossible) event or circumstance while ignoring very real dangers such as crossing the road, eating under-cooked meat, etc.

Homo Sapiens? What's the latin for "species that likes to scare itself with bogeymen"?

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