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Mini black holes grow exponentially rather than linearly inside the earth: “mini quasar principle.“ Hence the time needed by a resident mini black hole to eat the earth is maximally shortened – perhaps down to “50 months.“ This contrasts with the “50 million years“ obtained assuming linear growth by BBC-Horizon and CERN’s analogous “5 billion years.“
One lap through the 17 mile tunnel will take a proton only 90 micro-seconds, meaning that a beam that is active for 10 hours will travel the distance of about 6.2 billion miles, which is about twice the distance between Earth and Neptune.
It would seem that the greatest physicists of our time have yet to comment on this.
These headlines may sell newspapers, but the media conveniently downplay, or even omit, giving the full picture. First of all, mother nature can produce subatomic particles of greater energy than the puny LHC in the form of cosmic rays. These high-energy particles, which are accelerated to astronomical energies by huge magnetic and electric fields in space, have been raining down on Earth for billions of years, plenty of time to swallow up the planet - yet we are still here to write about it.
Secondly, these mini black holes are not just small black holes; they are actually subatomic in size, comparable to electrons or protons. The entire energy created by these particles would not even light up a light bulb if the LHC were running for a hundred years. Although the subatomic particles produced by the LHC can have trillions of electron volts, the LHC is expected, at best, to create mini black holes at the rate of one per second, which is much too small to cause any appreciable danger to anyone.
In the same way that animals from the cat family come in all sizes, from ferocious lions to harmless domestic cats, black holes also come in all sizes, from the astronomically colossal to the totally insignificant.
Thirdly, these mini black holes are unstable, and quickly decay. Instead of gobbling up matter and becoming big enough to eat up the Earth, they go in the opposite direction, emitting radiation so that they eventually disappear into nothing, a process proposed by the renowned Cambridge physicist, Stephen Hawking. So these subatomic black holes naturally self-destruct.
Some critics have claimed that these mini black holes might get captured by the Earth's gravitational field, but they decay too quickly for them to be a danger to anyone.
Fourthly, when pressed by journalists to flatly declare that the worst case scenario cannot occur, physicists shy away, not because we think the event might occur, but because of a loophole in the quantum theory. Because of Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, there is a tiny chance that anything will occur. There is a chance that firebreathing dragons will be produced by the LHC. But the probability of this event is so small, one can show that it will not happen in the lifetime of the universe.
In my opinion, if an event is so rare that it will probably not happen in the lifetime of the Universe, then we physicists should say to the media that it will not occur, period. We physicists have to be more media savvy, and not split hairs. The final nail in the scaremonger's coffin is that many of their fears against the LHC are identical to the ones used against the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York State, a much smaller machine that has been running successfully for years without incident.
So who is to blame for the current concern about the LHC? The media and fearmongers are mainly to blame; but physicists are as well, because we have failed to adequately convey the purpose and the scope of the LHC to the public and the media. During the cold war, whenever physicists in the US wanted funds for a new particle accelerator, we would bypass the public and simply go to Congress and say one word, "Russia!" Congress would get scared, whip out a chequebook and say two words, "How much?"
See the following for references to a few compelling papers that argue Hawking Radiation is flawed conjecture, black holes are neutral* and do not radiate...
Dr. Michael E. Peskin argues that the micro black hole danger scenarios are plausible except that they are excluded by cosmic ray arguments, but he does not address compelling counter arguments by Dr. Plaga and Dr. Rossler, summarized well by Dr. Plaga "Concluding, G&M have not demonstrated that white dwarfs stop cosmic-ray produced mBHs in general. Their exclusion of dangerous mBHs thus remains not definite."
(For the record I do not find plausible the arguments that safety is sufficiently proven for micro black holes created at LHC energies, but the safety of micro black holes created by future higher energy colliders still requires confirmation. I was unable to reconcile this line of reasoning other than it may have been creative wording to disguise and minimize minority opposition concerns in the SPC report.)
#2) Report by Giulini nad Nicolai: Dear colleagues, you are writing me public letters of rebuttal without granting me prior access to them. Now, you also declined my kind request to be allowed to talk to you for the first time before my responding in public.
My answer can be brief: First, I appreciate the evolution that visibly took place between your, Professor Nicolai, first public criticism of my work and this second response.
In the first, you still asserted that my findings were at variance with both experiment and General Relativity - being disproved as such since 1915. These two verdicts are now gone.
The theorem remains unscathed and nature is no longer invoked as your ally. Nothing but “interpretation” is still at stake. But a theorem by definition is more than an interpretation since it invites disproof, not polemics in its stead, and/or empirical falsification or - sometimes more dangerous - verification.
Let me nevertheless add that I am disappointed with this "progress" shown between the two reports. For like the public at large, I had genuinely hoped for a falsifying statement on your part.
At the end, I could not resist reminding the reader of Einstein's remark to Linus Pauling that he had made "a single mistake in life." The context makes it clear: the mistake of not having put his full energy behind his active attempt to prevent the trigger from being pulled on a certain technical reactor in mid-air. Sometimes, every effort is needed in life, the old man wanted to say.
As to your final question regarding the friendly nobelist: He did not reply as yet to my letter with the "A rational and moral and spiritual dilemma" paper in it, in which I had quoted him anonymously twice as you know. So I cannot tell whether I have his nod to reveal his identity at this point in time. (He is a great laugher.) Is this okay with you, Mr. Degraves?
A privileged postscript: I wasn't pressured by Mr Gillis when he allowed me to read his "Superfluids, BECs and Bosenovas" article before the interview started.
My only concern is that little bit of 'uncertainty', that, quite literally, anything could happen.
The main event took place today in Honolulu, where a federal judge is mulling over the federal government's request to throw out a civil lawsuit filed by retired nuclear safety officer Walter Wagner and Spanish science writer Luis Sancho.
Judge Gillmor took both sides to task for filing so many disjointed documents and for failing to follow the local rules of the court... Gilmore took the case under advisement and will decide whether or not to dismiss the case at a later, not-yet-determined time. If the case goes forward, the next step would be to consider the plaintiffs' requests for a preliminary injunction against LHC operations as well as for a summary judgment against CERN.
In other words, for the argument that the LHC poses no existential risk to humanity to be sound, the theory underlying it must be adequate. But physical theories have been upended in the past. Ord pointed out that Lord Kelvin had calculated the age of the sun. Using the best physics of his time, Lord Kelvin concluded that the sun was 100 million years old. It was not until the discovery of radioactivity that the current estimate of 4.6 billion years could be calculated. So Ord argued that it's not unreasonable to think that there is a 1-in-1,000 chance that the theories underlying the LHC are flawed in some important details.
In addition, the model of the problem itself could be flawed. As an example of how flawed models can impact the real world, Ord cited the Castle Bravo 15-megaton thermonuclear bomb test in 1954, the explosive yield of which was two and half times what had been calculated by the bomb's designers at Los Alamos National Lab. Those experts had missed the fact that the lithium-7 isotope, when bombarded by high energy neutrons, decomposes into tritium and boosts neutron production. As a more recent example, Ord claimed that Lloyds of London's insurance models for New Orleans had failed to consider the risk that the city's levees might fail.
And finally, it's possible that errors in calculation could slip into errors of analysis. Ord cited the frequency of miscalculations in medication dosages as an example of such errors. To get an estimate of argument failure, Ord cited survey evidence which found that 1-in-1,000 to 1-in-100 articles are retracted from high-impact scientific journals. For an article to be retracted something must be found to be seriously wrong with it. "If the probability estimate given by an argument is dwarfed by the chance that the argument itself is flawed, then the estimate is suspect," argued Ord. He suggested that multiplying the probabilities that the theory, model, and/or calculations on which the operation of the LHC rests are wrong dramatically increases the probability estimates that switching it on will destroy the world. Thus Ord concluded that the LHC should not be switched on.
German chemist Otto Rossler has filed a complaint with the European Court Of Human Rights — although he thinks the test will take a little longer to kill us.
He claimed: “Nothing will happen for at least four years. Then someone will spot a light-ray coming out of the Indian Ocean.
“A few weeks later we will see a stream of particles coming out of the soil on the other side of the planet. Then we will know there is a little quasar inside the planet.
“The weather will change completely, wiping out life. There will be a Biblical Armageddon.”