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58 mins ago The Large Hadron Collider Was Activated To Much Whoopee

LHC activate! So far I'm still alive and it appears that that our universe will not be ending. This comes much to the dismay of false prophets everywhere. Though as gmjhowe points out [http://Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/5047732/large-hadron-collider-why-you-really-wont-die-today] indicates that our time of death may have been miscalculated. Although the beam is active, the collision wont happen till October.

We've been bringing you the lowdown on the LHC for a while now. You know there has been some concern that this would be the [https://www.instructables.com/community/Its-the-End-of-the-World-As-We-Know-It-.../ end of the world] due to the creation of black holes. And now the The Large Hadron Collider is activated and ready for collisions. And those crafty CERN scientists have captured our attention like a presidential scandal.

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whatsisface8 years ago
I get to go on a trip to CERN to the LHC as part of my Physics course, it'll be sweet. Also, the UK's contribution to this is less than peanuts. Seriously. Each year the UK spends £120m on peanuts, while we only contributed £80m to the LHC :-P
You are too lucky, I wonder how much you will actually get to see in person. Very jealous!
lieuwe8 years ago
that black hole stuff is just cr*p, the actual energy thats getting released there is about the same as two wasps bumping into each other, this is because altho the particles are going fast, they weigh almost nothing, which means that IF a black hole would be created it would be a very small and slow one, AND these type of collisions happen all the time, the sun shoots particles at high speed towards earth, an the moon, and just about every other planet, so do all other stars, and there aren't black holes popping up all the time, are they?
kelseymh lieuwe8 years ago
If there is terminology I use below that is unfamilar to you, I would strongly encourage you to type it into a Wikipedia search. The physics articles in general are reasonably well done and accurate.

  • "the actual energy thats getting released there is about the same as two wasps bumping into each other"
The energy scale you should be interested is not macroscopic ("wasps"), but rather the masses of the particles involved, both what we're colliding (1 GeV mass protons with energies of 7 TeV each) and what is produced in that collision. With a total collision energy of 14 TeV you can produce a neutral particle with mass right up to that 14 TeV limit, or a pair of charged particles (particle-antiparticle pair) with masses up to 7 TeV each.

  • "altho the particles are going fast, they weigh almost nothing, which means that IF a black hole would be created it would be a very small and slow one"
Yes, that's exactly the point! "Black holes" are geometric distortions of spacetime. Those distortions can happen on any length/mass scale. Astrophysically, the processes that create black holes involve stellar and galactic masses, so that's what we see. It is certainly possible (and some theoretical models predict) that the energy density in LHC collisions could be high enough to allow production of black holes at the TeV mass scale. That means, trivially, that the BH will be "very small and slow."

  • "these type of collisions happen all the time, the sun shoots particles at high speed towards earth, an the moon, and just about every other planet, so do all other stars, ..."
In fact, very high energy cosmic rays incident on the atmosphere do undergo collisions with the same or higher center-of-mass energies as the LHC. This has been pointed out in numerous papers as a way of investigating various exotic physics models prior to (or instead of :-) using LHC collisions.

  • "... and there aren't black holes popping up all the time, are they?"
We don't know that. What we "know" (since we're still around :-) is that stable, accreting BHs aren't popping up in the atmosphere or body of the planet.

The problem is that standard model black holes aren't permanently stable.
Hawking radiation --- the production of e+/e- pairs from the stored gravitational energy at the event horizon --- has a rate ("black hole evaporation") which scales inversely with the BH mass. Astrophysical BH's have evaporation rates as long as the lifetime of the Universe. The small, TeV scale BH's hypothesized for the LHC (or from UHECR interactions) would evaporate in 10-20 seconds or so, about the same as the lifetime of the "regular" particles we will be studying there.

In other words, even if (when) we produce a BH, it won't stick around long enough to interact with the detector, let along interacting with the planet. This also makes it complicated to recognize, in the data recorded by the detector, that you actually made a BH in some particular collision.

The simplest idea we've come up with is to look for events where the particle distribution is "thermal", rather than having the angular and energy distributions typical of a cascade of "regular" decays. How this is actually implemented in practice, and how you do the background rejection, is part of the active research by LHC physicists.
westfw kelseymh8 years ago
For comparisons... 14 Tev is about 2.25 microJoules. The capacitor in a disposable camera flash attachment has about 5 Joules of energy; two MILLION times more. So the energy involved is quite small, in an absolute sense. Of course, it's a HUGE energy to be put on a single elementary particle. The 5J in that flash capacitor is distributed across something like 2*1017 electrons (if I did my math right...)
kelseymh westfw8 years ago
Exactly so (and it looks like you got the math right; the flash cap puts out 10 mA?). The key is the energy density, not the absolute value.
westfw kelseymh8 years ago
300V, 100uF, so Q= 0.03 columbs. Multiply by magic number to get number of electrons... (4.5J rather than 5, though.)
kelseymh westfw8 years ago
Sorry I didn't reply sooner; thanks for the correction! For other readers, the magic number is 1.6 x 10-19 coulombs/electron = 6.25 x 1018 electrons/C.
LinuxH4x0r8 years ago
expensive shiny goodness not go boom? Yay! (we payed millions for that? and no black hole? what a rip off!)
It sorta broke, long before they got to the possibly-black-hole-producing experiments. Broke in a way that will apparently take several MONTHS to fix (involves warming up things to room temperature, fixing them, and then cooling them down again, IIUC. Since you're talking superconductors kept at near absolute zero, this is apparently quite a slow process; probably one with significant risk of breaking something else. Sigh.)
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