back to article Hawking: Higgs boson in a BIG particle punisher could DESTROY UNIVERSE

Once upon a time, Stephen Hawking was so sure the Higgs Boson was a fantasy that he bet $100* against its discovery. But now the British boffin has dramatically changed his mind, warning that the so-called god particle could go rogue and destroy the entire universe. Clearly annoyed that Peter Higgs, who predicted the existence …

  1. smudge Silver badge
    Trollface

    George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

    Hawking: "...unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate."

    Osborne: "See, I told you we needed those austerity measures!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

      ... in other news, another Al-Qaeda splinter group, calling itself Al-Qaeda-with-an-interest-in-science-in-order-to-beat-the-Infidel-at-their-own-game, announced on Twitter that it has launched a programme to kidnap any scientist with the slightest clue about time travel in order to perpetrate a 'dead cert' investment fraud to raise the massive funding needed to create a particle accelerator big enough create the Ultimate Suicide Bomb, thus cleansing the entire universe of the accursed Infidel, Jews, the Danish, competitors and all temptations at a stroke.

      1. Andus McCoatover
        Black Helicopters

        Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

        Has Al-Qaeda-with-an-interest-in-science-in-order-to-beat-the-Infidel-at-their-own-game commenced a "Kickstarter" account? If £20 gets you 46 virgins, stick me down!

        Oh, wait - what's that ominous "chop chop chop" I hear in the sky above my house?

        1. Ted Treen
          Go

          Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

          "...If £20 gets you 46 virgins, stick me down!.."

          OK, infidel:- but you do not get to choose the gender of the virgins.

          Or the species.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

            Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

            "...If £20 gets you 46 virgins, stick me down!.."

            OK, infidel:- but you do not get to choose the gender of the virgins.

            Or the species.

            Any quantity of virgins over 3 is unlikely going to be *heaven* anyway. Anyone who has a few sisters knows that the recipient is not going to enjoy himself very much..

            1. Michael Dunn
              Joke

              Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe @ AC '6 hours ago'

              You wrote: "Any quantity of virgins over 3 is unlikely going to be *heaven* anyway. Anyone who has a few sisters knows that the recipient is not going to enjoy himself very much.."

              And think of 46 mothers-in-law!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

          @Andus McCoatover

          Aiieeee Andus! Verily you are blessed to support the cause, and your generosity shall be rewarded in the afterlife! For which we will throw in an 'early adopter' five-virgin bonus pack, a copy of our handy guide "Wahabbi Fundamentalism for fun and profit in 42 easy steps (Lite version) - the sceptics edition", and a subscription to our house monthly magazine "Jihadi Kewl" which is packed full of helpful tips on Fundamentalist fashion, misogyny, lobotomy and subverting scientific know-how to defeat the infidel!

          PS - Don't worry those are OUR helicopters!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

      GEORGE'S ALIVE?

      Best Flash icon available --->

    3. Wzrd1

      Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

      Hawking: "...unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate."

      Fortunately, said funding has already been provided, courtesy of many millions of neutron stars and those pesky supernovae.

      I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 13 billion years we have fought these machines, errr, survived such energetic events. And after Hawking's pronouncement, I remember that which matters most... We are still here!*

      *Liberally mutilated from a stolen passage from the Matrix Reloaded.

    4. dan1980

      Re: George Osborne is the saviour of the Universe

      Hawking: "...unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate."

      I'd swear he said much the same thing in one of his books.

  2. DropBear Silver badge
    Pint

    The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable

    ...in that case, we better have some beer bottle caps ready to wedge under one of its feet to make it stable again before it's too late! Prepare we must! To the pub, people!!!

    1. stucs201

      re: bottle caps

      Thats a job for beer mats.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      >Prepare we must! To the pub, people!!!

      For the end of the world I couldn't think of a better place to be. Ford Prefect was obviously very up to date on these matters

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "...bottle caps ready to wedge under one of its feet..."

      No. Given some dubious assumption, you can simply turn it by 45 degrees to achieve stability.

  3. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Hmm,

    If some particle collision can trigger such an intergalactic doomsday, then it should already have happened, since the universe contains objects like black holes, supernovas, magnetars etc that spout more energetic particle beams than we can ever hope to generate. So I'm not worried.

    1. smartypants

      Perhaps it already has happened!

      All that light from the sky... pre-cataclysm light.

      Maybe tomorrow we find out!

      (I won't let this spoil my dinner though)

    2. Valerion

      Re: Hmm,

      Maybe it already has. It then expands outwards at the speed of light. So if happened 200,000 light years away, 200,000 years ago it should be night night time any time now.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Hmm,

        Mmmm....you forgot to take into account the expansion of the universe so although the effect is moving at the speed of light, the expanding affected zone itself is moving away from us by whatever the universe expansion rate is. By my estimates, that will be next Tuesday rather than tomorrow.

      2. Vociferous

        Re: Hmm,

        Maybe it already has. It then expands outwards at the speed of light

        And thanks to the accelerating expansion of the universe, which is not limited by the speed of light, odds are such a bubble expanding at the speed of light will never reach us.

        That expansion will eventually rip every atom in the universe to shreds, but you can't get everything.

        But, more to the point, the fact that the universe still exists means that Hawking is wrong. The universe carries out these high-energy experiments at billions of neutron stars and black holes every instant.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Mike Pellatt

        Re: Hmm,

        Still, at least he hasn't fallen for something like the schoolboy error that Prof. Laithwaite did over gyroscopes, and think he's discovered perpetual motion.

        Yet.

    4. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hmm,

      That! Have an upvote.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Hmm,

        I would have thought the fact he said the particle accellerator would have to be bigger than the Earth, and he also cast doubts on available funding suggets he wasn't being entirely serious.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Good news, everyone!

    Prof Farnsworth:

    "Why, to do what you are suggesting would require some some of DOOMSDAY WEAPON! Oh well, I supose I can spare one..."

  5. tkioz

    Not overly worried about the Higgs after all how many grains of sands does it take to destroy a planet?

    [i]One at sufficient velocity. [/i]

    1. H.Winter
      Headmaster

      Intrigued

      I'm intrigued, how would one calculate the velocity needed for a grain of sand to destroy a planet?

      1. Chemist

        Re: Intrigued

        "how would one calculate the velocity needed for a grain of sand to destroy a planet?"

        Easy-ish. Any sized grain of sand if it could reach c would have infinite energy. So just crank the speed control back just enough to have sufficient energy to destroy a planet.

        1. bigtimehustler

          Re: Intrigued

          This is not guaranteed though, unless you believe you can get the grain of sand to travel faster than the speed of light, if the amount of energy required would be calculated to required speeds in excess, then it may not be possible.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Intrigued

        how would one calculate the velocity needed for a grain of sand to destroy a planet?

        The simplest way is to ask Randall Munroe. He's an expert on doomsday mathematics.

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    Don't tell the Daleks

    This sounds like an excellent story for Dr Who - where the good Dr can, yet again, foil a darstadly plot by the tin pepper pots!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: foil a dastadly plot by the tin pepper pots!

      It'd certainly make a change from all that invading and stuff they mostly do. And we'd get to see what a Science Dalek looks like ...

      (i.e nothing like a sexy dalek nun dalek, I'll bet)

  7. SnowCrash

    It's probably already happened but we just didn't notice..

    1. Any mouse Cow turd

      I'm sure we have noticed - how do you think our universe popped into existence....

      1. TitterYeNot

        "I'm sure we have noticed - how do you think our universe popped into existence...."

        No, I think you'll find that was the Universe Mark 1. Current estimates are that we're now up to at least Mark 9 - why else do you think life seems to get even more bizarre and inexplicable as time goes on?

        1. thondwe

          Mark 9 - an odd number - Marks 2,4, 6 and 8 were rubbish! So this must be a goody?

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Universe Mark 1 to Mark 9

          This is the Windows 8.1 of Universes. Good underpinnings, but what's on the Surface is just bizarre.

          1. Al Black

            Re: Universe Mark 1 to Mark 9

            My advice is to view it in Desktop mode!

  8. stucs201

    larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate

    And the size relative to the Earth or our current budgets affects more advanced dyson sphere building (*) civilisations building one how? Admitedly we can't do much about it if they do.

    (*) example only, the practicalities of that is a separate discussion.

  9. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    Maybe we should build a massive cyclotron on Mars, so it only destroys the Martian universe and not ours

  10. Jon Green
    Boffin

    Shows what the tabloids know...

    Energy to (supposedly) get Higgs boson metastable: 100,000,000 TeV.

    Collision energy of LHC after this year's upgrade: 14 TeV.

    The Universe is safe from us for the moment...

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "I WILL DO ANYTHING TO STAY IN THE NEWS"

    Seriously, shut the fuck up, Prof.

    Rehashing old physics ego-vertisements, Might/Could/Bes and pulling random energy levels out of the hat just doesn't cut it.

    Peter Woit, February 21, 2013:

    At the AAAS 2013 meeting in Boston this past week [Feb. 2013], a press conference was held to update the media on the Higgs. What the media got from the press conference was the news that the Higgs may spell doom, unless supersymmetry saves us. This isn’t just doom for HEP physics research, it’s doom for the entire universe:

    “At some point, billions of years from now, it’s all going to be wiped out…. The universe wants to be in a different state, so eventually to realise that, a little bubble of what you might think of as an alternate universe will appear somewhere, and it will spread out and destroy us,” Lykken said at AAAS.

    This is based on a renormalization group calculation extrapolating the Higgs effective potential to its value at energies many many orders of magnitude above LHC energies. To believe the result you have to believe that there is no new physics and we completely understand everything exactly up to scales like the GUT or Planck scale. Fan of the SM that I am, that’s too much for even me to swallow as plausible.

    If you are being kept awake by the Higgs metastability issue, you’ll want to know the Higgs mass as accurately as possible. The rumor from ATLAS is that the difference in best fit masses between the gamma-gamma and ZZ channels has narrowed, with gamma-gamma moving up slightly to 126.8 GeV, ZZ quite a bit, to 124.3 GeV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I WILL DO ANYTHING TO STAY IN THE NEWS"

      > the difference in best fit masses between the gamma-gamma and ZZ channels has narrowed, with gamma-gamma moving up slightly to 126.8 GeV, ZZ quite a bit, to 124.3 GeV

      Forget gamma-gamma, what does this mean for ZZ9 plural Z alpha?

    2. Psyx

      Re: "I WILL DO ANYTHING TO STAY IN THE NEWS"

      Dude, as per the story, he wrote the comment in a book.

      It's not HIS fault news sources jumped on the quote.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I WILL DO ANYTHING TO STAY IN THE NEWS"

      The AAAS cannot possibly be a serious organisation,they keep asking me to become a member.

  12. Graham Jordan

    In other news

    Prof Hawkins accepts job as the Daily Mail headline creator.

    1. FartingHippo
      Alert

      Re: In other news

      Immigrant Bosons On Benefits Cause Cancer And Falling House Prices

    2. Hargrove

      Re: In other news

      End of universe imminent.

      Sacred White Boson found in South Dakota accidentally "fracked" in gas well explosion.

  13. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "... clobbered to death by a manmade virus or even aliens."

    I'm glad it was probably just me who misread this as 'marmalade virus' - the very thought of being shredded ... perhaps by an 'even alien' ... brrr ... chill and spine interfacing time ...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Coat

      Yeah, you want to watch out for the marmalade virus, it's got a 100% mortality rate. If you get it, you're toast.

      The other problem with it, is how easily it spreads.

      1. Jes.e

        Re: marmalade virus

        Alas.. I have only one upvote..

    2. Vic

      it was probably just me who misread this as 'marmalade virus'

      It wasn't...

      Vic.

    3. Michael Dunn

      @Andy the Hat

      I saw that as "manmade walrus" - gave me pause for thought!

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth"

    Um, far be it from me to cast the eminent Professor's words in a disparaging light, but I do believe that his words should be amended to read:

    "A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, with current technology"

    Indeed, fusion reactors will exist, and nobody knows what performance fusion reactors will attain, so this declaration must be bound by the current limitations in energy generation, notwithstanding future improvements.

    Sorry, Professor.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: "A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth"

      Power is NOT the problem 100Billion GeV is only 16 Joules. I can do that by lighting a fart.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth"

        "100Billion GeV is only 16 Joules"

        Er, no, the energy imparted to one electron by falling through that potential in volts is 16J.

        One electron.

        How many protons are there in the LHC while it's operating? About 10^14

        At 10^20 GeV, that would be 1.6 * 10^15J. The output of a nuclear power reactor is around a GW, so call that the full output for 20 days.

        A bit more impressive, don't you think?

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: "A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth"

        "Power is NOT the problem 100Billion GeV is only 16 Joules. I can do that by lighting a fart."

        Well, don't light your farts then!

  15. skinnykid

    I like to think of the universe as,well,universal.. in other words, goes in all directions forever without

    End...my gut tells me this is true even if I can't grasp the immensity of it all....so.....an event cant

    Ever happen in conclusion as Hawking predicts...it would eventually collapse from inertia decay ..

    Honestly I wish he would think these things through.....relatively speaking :-)

    1. Psyx
      Coat

      "I like to think of the universe as,well,universal.. in other words, goes in all directions forever without

      End...my gut tells me this is true even if I can't grasp the immensity of it all....so.....an event cant..."

      Well, so long as you've determined that the universe is actually infinite because the word 'universal' seems to mean infinite to you, and because your gut tells you it's true, I'm happy to go along with your conclusion, rather than the research results and tomes of equations produced by leading physicists.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did anyone else ...

      when I read this post I heard James T Kirks voice ... maybe ... it was the staccato ... way in which ... it was .... written ... mines the one with the tricorder in the pocket ... Beam me up Scotty.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm seriously struggling to get worked up about this threat to our existence. A quick googling tells me that we have observed a number of particles with energies in the region of 5.7*10^19eV which is about half what would apparently cause the universe to melt. I seems that theoretically the universe should be able to produce particles with powers up to 10^21eV as well

    Since the universe apparently still exists I'm going to go out on a limb and say either something was lost in translation or this isn't much of a threat.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Perhaps we need a new headline?

      "Shock Horror, Hawkins Hawken up the Wrong Tree with His New Theory!"

      Or he is just trying to grab some space on some headlines with some tongue in cheek comments. It's if he believes them that it's a problem...

      It's like worrying about time travel because all we need is more energy than is in the universe to make it possible. ;)

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I might be wrong, but to produce a metastable Higgs, I believe you'd need a particle collision at that energy level, not just some random particles whizzing away from a supernova.

      If 1020eV particles are relatively scarce, and mostly happen Out There, then collisions are relatively improbable and so will happen only infrequently. If the probability of producing a metastable Higgs from such a collision is also low1, then false vacuum collapse may simply not have happened yet in our Hubble volume.

      It might have happened innumerable times outside our Hubble volume - we'll never know.

      As others have pointed out, it might also have happened within our Hubble volume and simply not reached us yet. (I've seen sources that claim the expansion of the lower-vacuum-state bubble happens a bit slower than the speed of light, for some reason I can't recall; and if that's true we will be able to see its effects, though probably only briefly.)

      Since the universe apparently still exists I'm going to go out on a limb and say either something was lost in translation or this isn't much of a threat.

      The key word there is "apparently". All we can go on is what we perceive, and we very likely don't perceive more than a very small part of the universe.2

      But it's not worth worrying about false vacuum collapse, for the simple reason that you can't do a damn thing about it before it happens, and you won't care afterward.

      1I have no idea what the speculation on this topic says, and I can't be bothered to look it up, since I'm in no position to vet the material I find.

      2It's unprovable whether there's anything outside our Hubble volume, for reasons that should be obvious, so this remains forever a cosmological hypothesis. Of course per the epistemological scandal so does everything else, ultimately.

  17. John Savard Silver badge

    Optimism and Pessimism

    A particle accelerator larger than the Earth is unlikely to be funded even in a positive economic climate, at least until technology advances. However, can you prove that some alien race hasn't already made this mistake? Something like "solanite" from Plan 9 from Outer Space.

  18. sawatts

    100 EeV?

    100 billion GeV - shouldn't that be 100 EeV?

    Probably sounds scarier with the more familiar "billion" and "giga" than just a cute little "exa"...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A really big bloke

    ... with a really big cricket bat could destroy the Universe too, and he'd be so big we wouldn't even see him moving, 'cos we'd only be able to see like, part of his shoe-lace", says bloke in the pub who didn't go to University.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "A really big bloke

      If the bloke in the pub had gone to university he would know that a bloke with a cricket bat big enough to destroy the universe would collapse into a super massive black hole before he could hit anything with his bat.

      The super massive black hole might suck up everything later though!

  20. Sander van der Wal
    FAIL

    Hawkins isn't a stargazer. He's an astrophysicist, and such people couldn't find the Pole Star if their telescope alignment depended on it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Pirate

      "Hawkins isn't a stargazer."

      You're right. He's the cabin boy. Arrrrr Jim lad.

      Hawking, isn't a stargazer either, of course.

  21. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    Surely

    we can build a particle accelerator that size..... all we need is 2 decent 'ish sized black holes, set them at a minimal safe distance and have them spining in opposite directions.... then at the right time fire couple of planets into them , and hey presto 2 beams of radiation heading towards each other at a fair fraction of the speed of light... BOOOM

    Boris

    whats this note on my file? "caution :this patient should not be allowed within 50Km of any particle accelerator"

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Surely

      Fortunately I have just filed for the patent on this, and I refuse to license it except to people who promise not to destroy the universe.

  22. mr.K
    Mushroom

    Tonight at eleven

    When we do build it, this will be the news that day (prior to turning it on):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMSHvgaUWc8

    Also, would this be a Hrung?

  23. Graham O'Brien
    Mushroom

    Obligatory Lexx reference

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVshOOG2hcc

  24. Scroticus Canis
    Unhappy

    Bubble of the true void expanding at the speed of light

    So by implication the speed of dark is still C? Damn, how boring the universe has just become!

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Bubble of the true void expanding at the speed of light

      Doesn't have to be dark inside the lower-vacuum-state bubble, unless I've missed something. There will still be elementary particles and photons, and probably eventually atoms, though they'll have different properties due to changes in shell energies and the like.

      Also, I don't see why a metastable Higgs would necessarily cause collapse to zero vacuum energy. Surely there could be local minima between our current state and zero?

      But this really isn't my area, so I may be wildly incorrect.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if it was going to happen

    it probably already has. Natural phenomena that give particles incredible energies are already well known. Something is kicking up cosmic rays to energy levels beyond even what this feared ubercollider could reach.

    If it's only a matter of scale, it's already done, and if it causes some sort of mega doom, it's already happened in a few places in the Universe and is already en route.

    "I'm gonna sing the Doom Song now!"

    1. Calin Brabandt

      Re: if it was going to happen

      Whether the event is likely to have already occurred is a matter of probability. Regardless of the present age of universe, perhaps it is still improbable. Or perhaps it is probably. No one seems to know and I suspect more study is required to reasonably assess this probability. I have only read conjecture here.

  26. winkydinky

    Say God Particle one more Goddamn time!

    I dare you!

    http://static.lolyard.com/lol/god-particle.jpg

  27. roger stillick
    Joke

    Void Expansion Event Horizon...? ?

    A Flash of pure energy...Oh Wait, that's the Big Bang...and we were told BB void expansion had no 'C' speed restriction, or, why would the idea of a void expansion be limited to 'C' speed ??

    Joke Alert= remember that 497 DBM / 0.5 GW limit of emmitted power in the atmosphere ?? seems reverse stsnding waves would destroy any emitter...CPA or Chirp Compression Amplification got around that nicely, and, now we have Peta Watt Lasers...

    Please Note= this Higgs Boson / Collider hypothesis stuff is simply sub-particle MHD plasa flow and, it follows the same paths and effects that high energy EM or Particle light does ( go high enough in power and REV- SWR kills the emitter - only).

    The second deduction, if you buy any of this, is CPA or Chirp Compression Amplification techniques will allow Peta Watt Colliders without any problems other than scaring the rest of the universe at a non / higher than 'C' transmission velocity...

    caveiat= MHD sometimes trumps Sci-Fi in audacious hypotheses (that Plasma Physics and Light have the same constraints, or, i have yet to move a light beam w/ a magnet)...please accept my attempt at an on-topic joke...RS.

  28. Private Citizen.AU
    Angel

    Finite probability?

    "Space is big really big..." Zem, Zem, and I, were falloping about and thought that an infinite universe is more than capable of providing the necessary energy and circumstances to create this "Killer-Boson" particle?

    Universally I would expect it to happen quite often. I just dont see the need to globber about it. Granted I as a mere mattress I dont usually have lot of time for astrophysics.

    - Zem, founder and sole member of the Sqornshellous Zeta Mensa society.

  29. JCitizen
    FAIL

    Me thinks the Earth will be destroyed by a gamma burster....

    .....EOL

  30. Sanlorenzo

    Higgs universe slayer...

    Given that we affirm ideas about the age of the universe and the ubiquity of intelligent life, then this should already have happened somewhere. Alternatively the structure of the universe is such that by the time we are able to build such a big accellerator, then we (all sentient life) are (will have become) wise enough to know that its use would/would not destroy everything. If the latter is true then we can deduce what will happen to everything (how all things evolve) in our universe. If not then we should go to the pub and order 6 pints of bitter, some peanuts and a towel right now.

  31. science
    Happy

    The noise discovered at CERN has not been proved to give "other particles" mass. The "Higgs field" is just like all quantum field theories nothing else than hallucinary bullshit.

  32. Callum Urquhart

    Hawkins a stargazer? He spends the majority of his time looking down at his knees.

  33. bex

    as we are late to the party some alien crazy scientist would have done it billions of years ago if it was possible.

  34. LHC Safety Review

    A hole in the LHC's vacuum bubble safety argument

    One of the four specific risks considered in the most recent official safety review for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the possibility that LHC collisions could trigger a transition to a lower-energy vacuum state. The current review by the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) [2] asserts that this risk was ruled out in the earlier report of the LHC Safety Study Group (LSSG) [1]. The conclusion of the LSAG's report states:

    "In the case of phenomena, such as vacuum bubble formation via phase transitions or the production of magnetic monopoles, which had already been excluded by the previous report [1], no subsequent development has put these firm conclusions into question."

    It should be noted, however, that the LSSG's report considers only the three specific risks of strangelets, black holes, and magnetic monopoles. The LSSG's report includes no mention whatsoever of the possibility of vacuum bubble formation and includes no data relevant to the vacuum bubble safety argument briefly outlined in the LSAG's report.

    References

    [1] Blaizot J P et al (LSSG), 2003, Report of the LHC Safety Study Group, CERN-2003-001 (http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/613175/files/CERN-2003-001.pdf)

    [2] Ellis J et al (LSAG), 2008, J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 35 115004 (arXiv:0806.3414) (http://arxiv.org/pdf/0806.3414)

    1. Dave Lawton

      Re: A hole in the LHC's vacuum bubble safety argument

      Magnetic monopoles ruled out ? Brennan not best pleased.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seeing as the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way shoots protons of 1000 TeV (1,000,000 GeV) what about a super-massive black hole acting as a particle accelerator?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11157-milky-ways-black-hole-the-ultimate-particle-accelerator.html

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yup that would do it

    Posted some ideas last year about this.

    Also relevant, the "Oh-My-God!" particle detected recently had about as much energy as a baseball moving at 25mph so imagine two of those hitting head on.

    Then realize that this happens probably ten times a second (!) at the center of every Galaxy and this has been going on for close to 9B years and we are all still here.

    On the other hand, Ebola is much MUCH more likely to cause human extinction and the world's attention should be focused on dealing with this threat and not petty squabbling over resources.

    10% of the money to be spent on Trident's replacement ought to nip it in the bud, and Cameron would be nominated for next years Peace Nobel.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019