It’s not the turning on of the machine that might destroy the world, it’s the high-energy particle collisions. We won’t see those for some time yet. Right now I think they’re just working on getting protons to circulate all the way around the 27 km ring. Actual colliding comes later on.
I can’t decide how I feel about this. Mostly because I dont understand it. I guess we have a tendency to fear what we don’t understand. I sure as hell don’t understand the BCS either. Could that destroy the world, or just another year of college football?
Jim Collins |
September 10th, 2008 at 10:09 am
When they were getting ready to set off the first atom bomb, there was a concern that the chain reaction needed for the explosion might continue and set the Earth’s atmosphere on fire, but they went ahead and detonated the bomb any way.
I think we are back to that again. No matter how much we are assured that there is nothing to be concerned about, remember that this is only their best guess. If they knew what was going to happen there would be no need to build the collider in the first place.
People really get to worked up over this. While not a Physicist I read alot of Science related publications/blogs. Basically the fear is that through Quantum mechanics there is a slim possability that colliding the particles could result in the creation of a blackhole or singlet. Unfortaunetly for the paranoid the same math that gives that possibilty also says that were either to form they would evaporate instantly due to a weird (for lack of a better term) effect known as Hawking Radiation.
So sleep safetly and look forward to the better understanding of the universe that is to come.
Oh and there is another site checking to see if were gone too:
That might have been the very first xkcd I’ve ever chuckled over. How charming.
Jim Collins |
September 10th, 2008 at 1:49 pm
Everything you said may be true, but the only way to know it is for it to happen. The problem is that everything that you said is only their best guess. There may be some experimentation that tends to reinforce those guesses, but until it happens it is still a guess.
And your point is Jim? Every advance in science has had to come with a test at some point. Science is based on that, you observe, make a hypothosis(guess) based on those observations, test said hypothosis to see if what you think will happen happens, from this you create a theory that will lead to further predictions that should happen based on everything you have seen so far. If in the process something doesnt meet expectations you go back figure out where in your process you were wrong and correct for it.
As I said the math that says that a black hole could result is the same math that says if it did appear it would instantly disappear. You cant have one side of it without the other.
Ultimately though its a question of needing to understand and learn. If we didnt do this, well we certainly wouldnt by posting to Radley’s blog on the internet via computers, or have electrical lights or pretty much anything else that technology (and science) has brought us.
Sit back, relax, and on the off chance the world does end just remember, you probably wont notice it happen.
Jonathan Hohensee |
September 10th, 2008 at 6:24 pm
Read the source of the hasthelargehardoncolliderdestroyedeathyet. It’s really cool;
freon.3e.org descriptive text “Anesthetized monkeys exposed to 25,000
ppm or 50,000 ppm [of freon] for 5 minutes had [cardiac] [arrhythmia]s
including [tachycardia] and decreased contractility (U.S. EPA 1983)”
In their paper, Coleman and de Luccia noted:
The possibility that we are living in a false vacuum has never
been a cheering one to contemplate. Vacuum decay is the ultimate
ecological catastrophe; in the new vacuum there are new constants of
nature; after vacuum decay, not only is life as we know it impossible,
so is chemistry as we know it. However, one could always draw stoic
comfort from the possibility that perhaps in the course of time the
new vacuum would sustain, if not life as we know it, at least some
structures capable of knowing joy. This possibility has now been
The second special case … applies if we are now living in the
debris of a false vacuum … This case presents us with less
interesting physics and with fewer occasions for rhetorical excess
than the preceding one.