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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  1. Frank


    "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')

  2. Anonymous Coward


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

  3. Colin Morris
    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....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    More Stable

    "Moving swiftly on to vaccum bubbles - described as the universe in "a more stable 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.

  6. Ash

    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.

  7. Tim

    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!

  8. Dirk Vandenheuvel
    Paris Hilton


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

    Paris because she has more attraction than a Black Hole.

  9. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Base Rules ..... with Pyjamahadeen.

    Strangelets Rule in NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity then. Just Perfect.

  10. Edward Rose

    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.




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

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Alert the test chamber...

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

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  13. Eponymous Cowherd

    And 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.


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

  14. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    @ Why does it matter anyway?

    Is that title a pun?

  15. David Cornes

    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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  17. Bad Beaver

    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.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    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?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    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?

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Does anyone else worry?

    Is it time to break out the HEV suits?

  21. Chris Richards


    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!

  22. Mark

    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?


    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:


    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.

  23. John Robson Silver badge


    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)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    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.

  25. Craig Graham
    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.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Black Mesa

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

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

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  28. Rich Silver badge


    > 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....

  29. GrahamT

    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"?)

  30. Filippo Silver badge


    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.

  31. JockOnTheRock

    Gordon Freeman......

    thinks this is a bad idea.

  32. Stuart Van Onselen

    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?

  33. Remy Redert

    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.

  34. Colin Millar

    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

  35. Stuart Van Onselen


    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...

  36. David Webb

    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!

  37. Eric Worrall
    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.

  38. Danny Monaghan

    Who's been reading...

    ... David Brin's 'Earth'?

  39. Nigel
    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.

  40. Jaap Stoel

    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.

  41. Charles Silver badge

    @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.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    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.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @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

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a laugh


    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!

  45. Frank

    @AC, Mark

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

    @Mark: Thank you for that.

  46. Mark Duncan

    Has to be said

    I, for one, welco<*zzffib*>

  47. Captain DaFt

    Just a heads up for the fear mongers

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

    No Kidding!

    Synthetic: (Made by pulsing two different colors through fiber optics, it only generates event horizons.)

    And Whoops! real: (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!

  48. Rich464

    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 :)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward


    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"?

  51. Angus Wood

    Walter L Wagner is a wingnut with a track record

    This fella is a kook who has a track record of taking out court orders to stop the operation of particle accelerators. He's a real doctor (of biology) so he's hardly in a position to comment authoritatively on this subject.

    Safely ignore.

  52. peter Silver badge

    I know I'm spamming here, but...

    ...the report /also/ says,

    "...the rate at which [black hole] absorption would take place would be so slow if there are seven or more dimensions that Earth would survive for billions of years before any harm befell it."

    Hang on a minute, hasn't the Earth been around for about 4.5 billion years?

    That's means any time aboutTX▒$&""H",1↔Y☻NO CARRIER

  53. Chris Miller

    Of vacuum bubbles and invisible weasels

    Hi Frank

    If such vacuum bubbles could be produced they would (the theory goes) rapidly expand to consume large portions of the universe. Cosmic rays are regularly observed on Earth to have energies at least 1000x greater than those achievable by the LHC, so if these vacuum bubbles could be produced by them we ought to be able to see large missing sections of the visible universe. We don't observe such things, therefore it's not happening as a result of cosmic rays, therefore it can't happen inside the LHC.

    The 'visible' universe is simply those areas light from which has had time to travel to us since the big bang. There's no reason to suppose that the actual size of the universe neatly coincides with this visible portion. In the (distant) future, the visible universe will increase in size as a greater area falls within this visible range, but it's likely that parts of the universe will never be visible to us. It doesn't really make sense (i.e. it's not testable) to speak of what may be happening in those parts of the universe. Cthulhu may lurk there (or maybe not)!

    Hope this helps.

  54. Secretgeek
    Paris Hilton

    @Mark 'Re: Proof?'

    Thanks for the reminder of 'The Black Hole'. Quality movie.

    As for the rest of it. C'mon, it'll be fun. Frankly I'm hoping for a sizeable but not world ending disaster just to take my mind of the crappy headlines and reality tv.

    'Suck it and see' I say.

    Or will that be 'See it suck'?

    There is no other icon for that comment.

  55. Stu

    @Mark, Craig Graham

    You guys sound kind of like physics profs. Semi convincing, but then somebody could show me any figures and I couldn't tell if they were correct or not.

    One other question then -

    Are all the different cosmic energies / particles / strangelets / waves / etc that have always struck Earth EXACTLY the same as those that can be generated by the LHC?

    Could there be any particular property of the LHC particle acceleration process that is different enough from your common or garden Cosmic Ray(tm) to possibly have a different outcome?

    If not, thats the most convincing argument I've heard for its safety ever. Scaremongering gits @ News Assoc.

  56. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Easy way to see if CERN are telling the truth

    If they honestly think the LHC is going to spit out all sorts of subatomic weirdness they won't have bought the extended warranty.

  57. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    *click* *FWEEEEEeeeeeeeee* *steps away*

    Just turn it on already! :)

  58. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The sky is falling!

    If financial experts say "there has never been a significant collapse in the financial sector and we don't expect one now" then it is because the expect to make a profit from saying that.

    Nuclear PR flacks might have said "there has never been a significant loss of life nuclear incident worth worrying about", but they if they did, they would clearly have been lying (Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Chernobyl).

    Reports of leaks at Windscale used to be a regular event, but after they changed the name to Sellafield, the reports slowed down and stopped. The fire the core of windscale pile number 1 was caused by design flaws. Nuclear engineers will not make those mistakes again.

    The three mile island incident released more radiation into the environment, but no deaths were attributed to it. Sickness was attributed to stress caused by reports on the accident (The reports were more frightening than the ones for Windscale.)

    Chernobyl caused about 35 times more fallout than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It caused about 50 direct deaths and around 9000 deaths from cancer. These numbers are very political. You could get different numbers from other sources.

    Chernobyl and Three Mile Island incidents both involved running reactors that were not ready for operation. Perhaps we should delay building nuclear power plants until electricity is rationed, then build a dozen plants in a rush.

    The Earth has not been eaten by vacuum bubbles, black holes or strangelts yet, even though it has been around for a few billion years. The Earth is made out of material ejected form super nova explosions. These explosions are far more powerful than LHC. If you are trying to say LHC is not safe, you first have to explain why LHC could cause a problem that supernovas have not.

    If LHC could make vacuum bubbles with different rules of physics that grow without limit, then supernovas would have done this and we would not exist.

    If miniature black holes did not evaporate promptly, then the Earth would be a black hole, not a planet.

    If stranglets could convert normal matter into strange matter, the Earth would be made of strange matter caused by strangelets from supernovas.

    If a theory is not consistent with the results of previous experiments, then the theory is wrong.

    If the LHC is spending tax dollars on saying "LHC is safe" it is because they have to counter the silly law suit started by the modern day Chicken Lickens Walter L Wagner and Luis Sancho. I hope these two will meet the modern equivalent of Foxy Loxy and have to pay some extra taxes to make up for the waste they have caused.

  59. Steven Raith

    "There is a theory which states..."

    "...that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

    There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

    Mines the one with 'Don't panic!' written across the back in large, friendly letters.

    Steven R

  60. Will Shaw

    I for one....

    ...welcome our horribly betentacled overlords, as they lurch from whatever interdimensional abyss we are about to open. Oh hang on, it's just an anthropomorphic duck. Better fire up the collider again.

  61. Wyrmhole

    The Great Filter

    Perhaps this very technology and experiment will turn out to be the Great Filter™. (see

  62. Andy
    Thumb Up

    LHC - Death or convenience?

    So basically, the opinions of everyone are split into two factions:

    1) The LHC is going to create localized black holes within the matter of the Earth, or nearby, releasing strangelets which will either eat way or simply warp the space time continuum, causing reality as we know it to cease to exist, or..

    2) Microwave the absolute shit out of a burrito.

  63. Ian Michael Gumby


    Wasn't there a Larry Niven Sci-Fi story (now I *am* showing my age) where some guy cut the power to an alien device that had a mini sub-atomic black hole in the device. By cutting the power, the black hole dropped out, killed the guy and sunk to the center of the earth.

    In effect dooming the earth to an "early" demise as the black hole slowly grew, by sucking in the earth's matter?

    Yet one more reason to hate the Swiss. :-P

  64. Robert I. Marsh II

    LHC: Quantum Wormhole

    Any disaster scenarios, reside within ALICE Lead (Pb) Heavy Ion Collisions, and the ATLAS Project (once financed), scheduled for 2009. CERN is grappling with multiple variance calculation paradoxes (Right Now), and recalibration of the Beam Focus Quantum Time-Dilation Calibration Equations under General Relativity, and the Hyper-Dense Plasma/Gravity Wave Field Generation, within collision Containment; Also, Stephen Hawking, Robert Aymar, Catherine Decosse, Michelangelo Mangano, LSAG, (and others) are in discussion in regard to Quantum Wormhole formation, through a Gravity Wave Compression Singularity, created by a Curvature in Space/Time, around the Plasma Field! With all this 'UNCERTAINTY', how could LSAG have penned an expedited 'Safety Report'? Some say: "There are 8 Billion Reasons to Quiet the Public"! WHAT are they really searching FOR???

  65. Tom

    Risk Assessments

    I've heard a story that the CERN risk assessment forms for experiments have a box for you to tick that states there is a "small but finite chance of ending the known universe". I don't know if it's apocryphal, but I like it anyway.

  66. Anonymous Coward

    What is the mass of the Higgs Boson?

    No, actually, I don't think we should ask that.

    Lexx fan

  67. The Power Of Greyskull
    Dead Vulture

    Re: 270 odd below

    >270 odd below.

    >By Edward Rose

    >Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 10:36 GMT

    >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.

    Damn right.

    "'Scuse me pal, I've come to read your meter."

    Mine's the one with the big bill.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Rich464

    "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."

    The trouble with the "best scientific minds" is that they want glory, recognition, rewards and they're very willing to take large risks to get that.

  69. Mike Fortey


    Quick, let's scrap the project because a few thousand people with no relevant qualifications or experience in the field think that the people who do know what they are talking about are wrong!

    Let's all go and throw shoes into it, until it breaks.

  70. Craig Roberts

    Dr Adrian Kent

    As the BBC mention in their report on this matter:

    "... in 2003, Dr Adrian Kent, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, wrote a paper in which he argued that scientists had not adequately calculated the risks of a 'killer strangelet' catastrophe scenario.

    He also expressed concern that a fundamental question (how improbable does a cataclysm have to be to warrant proceeding with an experiment?) had never been seriously inspected."

    This is a serious question... If we flick this here switch, and spin this dial, then there's a 0.837% chance that the world will end... Is it worth the risk? Who gets the say so? The scientists? The goverments who listen to the scientists? The public?

    As technology and science increase the power that mankind wields, we get closer and closer to the time that we might actually be able to destroy the planet / solar system with one of our little science classes... Which while being a bit of a bugger for us, will also piss off a few Martians too... (Maybe they're watching us and as soon as they decide they don't like our odds, then it's Alien Invasion time?)

    The LHC may or may not turn out to be safe, either way it looks like they're gonna switch it on anyway whether we like it or not. So hopefully, in all the theories they've paraded out to prove its viability, no-one's forgotten to carry the 3.

    And what happens when they decide that this collider wasn't powerful enough to find the dark matter / higgs boson etc etc they're after?

    That's ok... They'll build a bigger one... But don't panic - theoretically there's only a 0.978% chance it'll all go horribly wrong...

    I'm all for science and the pursuit of knowledge... But not if there's even a small chance I could end up in a black hole... Would really put a crimp in my day that...

  71. Jeroen Wijnands

    no one read the novel?

    I'm surprised that I seem to be the first one to make the connection between this and the novel "flashforward" by Robert J. Sawyer which outlines what mayhem will be caused by this infernal device.

  72. James Tankersley Jr


    Have you read CERNs SPC Committee Safety Report disclaimer?

    "this argument relies on properties of cosmic rays and neutrinos that, while highly plausible, do require confirmation" -- CERNs SPC Committee

    So... Neutron stars might be too dense to be eaten by micro black holes and micro black holes might all just fly through Earth. And... the Large Hadron Collider may create micro black holes, and Dr. Rosser calculates just years or decades to destruction.

    So we might still be in danger?

    Read what other scientists say at

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't worry, it won't work anyway....

    Ok, so I worked with the guys who designed the LHC beam optics, i.e. the magnets that make the little particles go round and round and round.... - still with me?

    The upshot is that no-one really understands how to make them go round and round for a long time without falling out, so don't worry about it actually working long enough to make any little black holes.

    Paris, 'cos I fancy her more than I fancy Stephen Hawking...

  74. peter Silver badge

    LHC gifts el Reg a new unit?

    From the report "a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitos"

    Henceforth can El Reg give all energy measurements in units of "colliding mosquitos"; e.g. "To solve our climate problems, wind turbines would have to produce the energy equivalent to 20-billion collidng mosquitos..."

  75. Mister Cheese

    Really safe?

    Well, I guess if they accidentally create a black-hole and suck the entire planet into it, nobody will be left to sue them on their minor inaccuracy.

    Oh, and as for no vacuum bubbles in the visible universe - surely if they're a vacuum then they're invisible... so I might have some floating in my cup of erm tea for all I know.

  76. Fred Mbogo

    Black Holes? Not likely

    As we know of gravity, its effects are directly related to its mass. A black hole composed of a few atoms (if it could be created that is) would have a gravity well smaller than the Earth's. The worse that could happen is that either it would accreting (sp?) the other particles of the particle beams or the surrounding particles of the target where the particle beam strikes. After it accretes enough matter and loses enough of its matter through Hawking radiation, it would dissipate. Perhaps while emitting a small burst of gamma radiation.

  77. Phil Hare

    @Edward Rose

    Dear Mr. Rose,

    Do you have any idea how important the work these machi... oh I really can't be bothered.

  78. amanfromMars Silver badge

    All ideas are good until realised/released into the Wild and Used Badly with No Further Instruction

    "Gordon Freeman ...... thinks this is a bad idea." .... By JockOnTheRock Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 10:51 GMT

    Manic Depressives would also think that, JockOnTheRock.

    "'goddamn that was cool! let's do it again...." ... Love your burnout enthusiasm, Rich464,

  79. Andy Worth


    "Finally the earth's crust would collapse in, but that could all take months."

    Ahh and I was worried that we wouldn't have time to perfect interstellar travel and escape the planet. Months would obviously be plenty.....

  80. Anonymous Coward


    ...should probably be banned from moving stuff about while the LHC is runnning. Especially trolleys laden with strangelets. He made an awful mess last time.

    Honestly - these Doctors have no common sense.

    Mine's the one with H.E.V on the back.

  81. Steve Mann

    @ AC #1

    Yes. By you.

  82. Anonymous Coward

    Apocalypse from mini black holes!

    I'll put up with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman in this movie IF they promise to cast Monica Bellucci

  83. HFoster

    Put it this way...

    If the earth is gobbled up by a black hole or turned to Strange matter, or some other apocalyptic vision, it'll be a small price to pay to rid ourselves of idiocy.

    That is to say:

    I think our whole planet should win the Galactic Darwin Award in the event these whining idiots are proven right.

  84. Anonymous Coward


    Anamolous Materials (strangelets)...check.

    Dilusional and naive Scientists barely in control of their daily hygiene never mind multi-terra watts of dimension-creating equipment...check

    Half-alien combine dictatorship hell-bent on purging humanity Orwellian style (French Government)...check.

    Mid European backdrop for carnage (CERN)...check

    Weird, evil, dimension-hopping manipulative agent immune to capture, bullets, rockets and plasma....TBC


    Lets rock!

    Mine's the one with H.E.V. on the back.

  85. Simon

    Are we the first?

    Maybe lifeforms all over the universe have built these LHCs, which may be an inevitable part of technology development, then have blown themselves to pieces when they switched it on. Scientists have noticed strange bursts of energy around the comos.

    Maybe its a way the universe keeps life in check, to stop it swarming and getting too big for its boots.

    So who are we to argue, lets turn it on and make our own kaboom!

    (Joking, im sure its perfectly safe!)

  86. Mark

    Yet another AC

    "Doesn't everyone know that both Relativity and Quantum Physics cannot be true (at the same time, in the same universe, etc)?"

    I hope you don't mean that for real.

    Quantum physics can explain lots. It can't explain gravity, even though we know it exists.

    General relativity can explain lots. It can't explain Quantum effects, even though we can infer its existence.

    They can BOTH explain things common between them, so we can't tell which one is better to use as a starting point for a theory that covers quantum gravity. Or whether we need a third one that holds out hope of combining both.

    HOWEVER, we DO have quantum effects and we DO have gravity. Both in the same universe. At the same time. Our explanation isn't as complete as the reality and not even complete enough to explain how they both can exist. We can explain one or the other, the other one has to be "just because".

  87. Stuart Van Onselen


    I shall now pat myself on the back, as I accurately predicted several of the comments that followed: "Are you sure it's exactly the same?" and "Why waste so much time and energy?"

    Listen, you bed-wetters: If the LHC does destroy us, it'll just be saving us from a gruesome death at the hands of Alqaida, who are hiding under your beds right now, planning to release ricin in the water-supply, and detonate dirty bombs on Main Street.

  88. Anonymous Coward

    For Eric Worrall

    Actually SETI is a pretty silly project. Let's assume that we do actually have some other intelligent life floating around in the universe and they are pumping out lots of nice EM radiation. Now in general, that EM radiation will be pretty low power, and it will attenuate according to the inverse square law. At the same time noise, in the guise of cosmic radiation, or radiation from stars etc. gets added into the signal. By the time it arrives at earth, the signal to noise ratio is astronomical. Now SETI is supposed to work by using some pretty clever statistical analysis to try to extract whether signal exists within noise, unfortunately, by the time a signal arrives at us from many light years away, the signal to noise ratio is so extreme, that any remaining signal will be obliterated by our sensors. It's basically just a huge waste of money.

  89. Don Mitchell

    Where is Greenpeace

    Greenpeace must be kicking themselves for not getting in on this pseudo-scientific action.

    And as a few people have said, the Earth is struck by cosmic rays of vastly greater energy than LHC can produce, and those particle collisions have not caused a catastrophy in 4.5 billion years.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ian Michael Gumby

    "Yet one more reason to hate the Swiss"

    I'm just curious, what are the other reasons?

    EAfH, always interested in hatred

  91. Mark

    @Ian Michael Gumby

    Yes, and there was another story where this hot girl got her kit off in space where she met angels and stuff.

    As to the story (fiction), queries:

    1) What made the black hole fall down? In space there is no "down"

    2) How big was this black hole? 10^-26grammes?

    3) How did it get used for cheap energy?

    #1 is just curiosity.

    #2 tells us whether this story is telling us whether we're in trouble

    #3 tells us if this "trouble" could mean interstellar travel.

    Alternatively, this fiction could be non-factual and therefore of no fearking use in this discussion.

  92. Gobhicks

    Larry Niven

    - a sign of old age? I hope not. Still baffled why there's no TV/movie/game franchise for Niven's Known Space. I once saw one of his short stories (might have been The Soft Weapon) used as the basis for a Star Trek cartoon, but apart from that, nada, unless you count wookies as a rip-off of the mighty kzin.

  93. Mark


    Several questions, but anyway:

    "Are all the different cosmic energies / particles / strangelets / waves / etc that have always struck Earth EXACTLY the same as those that can be generated by the LHC?"

    Define EXACTLY. They are far more energetic and the particle beam will have a spread of energies because we can't control each hadron individually. So, yes, given the variabilities in the particle beam constituents (and given that most will miss) and that cosmic rays are a VERY wide spectrum and vastly more populous, yes. Exactly the same energies.

    "Could there be any particular property of the LHC particle acceleration process that is different enough from your common or garden Cosmic Ray(tm) to possibly have a different outcome?"

    No, because the LHC is smacking charged particles around and around until they hit. Rather like charged particles around quasars (though quasars are MUCH bigger and so have a higher maximum energy). Or even in this galaxy itself, with charged particles travelling about and accellerating because of all these magnetic stars in the place.

    So, no, it won't be any different. In fact, the natural sources are far more powerful and use particles we don't have access to. Nature is more dangerous.

  94. Frank

    @Chris Miller re. vacuum bubbles

    Thanks Chris, for that well explained reassurance about vacuum bubbles.

    Mark reassured me about micro black holes (but I'm not sure about the validity of his gravitational force calculations at the atomic and sub-atomic scale, something I read somewhere...).

    All I need now is a good explanation of why strange matter will not be created. I don't trust the scientists but I do believe the comment writers on El Reg. It's the 'wisdom of crowds' thing :)

    Oh, ....wait.....what happens if all three get created together (as indivdually short lived items) then they manage to combine and we get a stable strange black hole drifting around in a matter rich environment?

  95. Mark


    The maths and physics break down at about the plank length. But the 1-earth-gravity calculation is absolutely correct (to the same level of accuracy that made us get to netpune with a camera probe). If anything, that the event horizon is vastly within the plank length means that it may be IMPOSSIBLE for anything to get sucked in: there's no room for "sucking" to happen.

    It may be able to ionise molecules by passing close *enough* but it would have to pass within the nucleus and its track would encompass a very unlucky nucleon and make the atom *possibly* radioactive.

    And that would be a 1-in-10^30 event (finger-in-the-air).

    Still leaving the atom mostly unharmed.

    I've seen someone "explain" that if it gets big enough to swallow a planet, it would be big enough then to swallow a star.

    Well, the only way a star would GET to the planet is if the planet was doomed otherwise to be swallowed by the star.

    And even if THAT were true, unless there was something that slows the star down *just* as it surrounds the planet and it settles deep within the core, the star would continue on, with this planet weight (about 9mm across) black hole gobbling matter as fast as it can get to the 9mm sized object.

    If it were "lucky" it may be able to eat a thousand times its mass before the star has passed on out of range.

    Seeing as how the star weighs millions of times more, it will have lost an insignificant fraction of its mass as it passes on to eat another planet not so lucky as to turn into a black hole first.

    Hardly "swallow a star" is it.

  96. Mark

    PS Frank

    What if that greencloud recently photographed turns out to be the Great Arkelseizure? This is where a great space-being eats the universe.

    And no rolled-up-newspaper to hit on the nose and say "no".


    You don't even know what strange matter is, but you're worried that it will end life on earth.

    You don't know how it will react in a black hole smaller than the plank length. Yet still you're wondering if THAT will finally prove you right on how dangerous all this unknown is.

    And lastly, as to the "drifting around". If an insignificant fraction (as in one-trillionth) of the kinetic energy isn't transformed into matter, that energy will EASILY have enough energy to give this microscopic black hole escape velocity.

    E=1/2 mv^2


    E=10^-15 (one trillionth of the 10 millionths of a joule)

    v^2 ~ 10^11

    v ~ 10^5 m/s

    cf escape velocity 10^4 m/s

    Wind resistance: nil.

    It ain't likely it's going to hang about for long.

  97. Anonymous Coward

    I think you guys are forgetting...

    The $500 Denon Ethernet cable. If they've got one of those attached to it, we are truly fucked.

  98. Jeff Rowse Silver badge

    In the midst of the words Man was trying to say...

    ...In the midst of his laughter and glee

    He did softly and silently vanish away

    For the NIMBYs had got their own way.

    Oops Sorry,

    "For the Snark *was* a Boojum, you see?

    (with apologies to the Rev Dodgson)

  99. Chris Miller

    Larry Niven

    @Prof Gumby

    The short story you may be thinking of is the Hugo-winning "The Hole Man", first published in Analog (1973), anthologised in "A Hole in Space" (Orbit 1975). But the planet where there was an alien black hole was Mars, not Earth and it was used as a murder weapon to kill the mission commander. Larry Niven claims "years to centuries" for the black hole to eat Mars - he has a Maths degree and many friends in the California physics community, so I wouldn't bet against him being right.


    There are rumours (aren't there always) of a Ringworld film and there's a Ringworld RPG and computer game.

    Name: Chris Miller

    Specialised Subject: The 'Known Space' stories of Larry Niven

  100. Anonymous Coward

    Not all bad news

    If there is a chance the LHC could create something that can eat up bits of the earth, there must also be a chance we could keep that something in a box and feed it bits of the earth at our convenience - like droplets of sea water maybe.

    That'd make for one hell of a new power source!

  101. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Not a Guarantee then? What a Shame?

    "I've heard a story that the CERN risk assessment forms for experiments have a box for you to tick that states there is a "small but finite chance of ending the known universe". I don't know if it's apocryphal, but I like it anyway." ... By Tom Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 13:38 GMT

    Tick that box for the Stay out of Jail Free Card for all manner of experiences.

    And a very wise Provision/Option given the XXXXStream Nature of SuperSubAtomic Quantum Work.

  102. Alan Fisher
    Jobs Halo


    I love these people; well we're experts on something nobody has ever seen before because of what some folks what are clever with maths said! It's like someone in the Amazon rainforest whose never had contact with civilisation arguing with me whether Mars or Snickers is better because they read it somewhere (errm in a leaflet which fell from somewhere in their language, just by chance, of course...ok ok my theory is full of holes too!).....when will people just stand up to these boffins and say "come on come on; you're just guessing, admit it!" ???

  103. Alan Fisher
    Dead Vulture

    @ Eric Worral

    I also love the way we assume that because our society and species evolved one way and did things in a certain fashion that every other species in the universe do we know radio is the best way?? Just coz we don't know about it don't mean it don't exist.....

    I think it's human arrogance in the extreme to think that just because these green fellas don't use Morse Code or radios that they is fick and so forth.....maybe they can't find us either because no species in the universe would use a communication method capable of frying their brains......

  104. Alan Fisher

    The Big One

    Someone is after the Big tells us we cannot break the Light Barrier so they're after the next one, controlled black holes and bending of space/time in order to see if we can break the Reality Barrier......scientists have been on about this for ages since those proton experients which hinted towards dimensional shift and possible other dimensions...

    But I says...what's in them other dimensions/realities is best left where it is, thank you very much Mr Swiss Scientist!

  105. Fully Groan

    Getting their sums wrong?

    I'm a bit worried about the quality of maths from these so called boffins! From the LHC site: "When the LHC begins operations, it will produce roughly 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data annually – enough to fill 100 000 DVDs a year!"

    The fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia tells me that a dual layer DVD can carry 8.54 gigs of data.. 8.54 * 100 000 = 854 000 gigs. Looks like they're a bit out on this one!

    More boffins required in the web department methinks!

  106. Dz
    Paris Hilton

    Great, all we need is another black hole.... well as the one the government calls Taxation!

    Paris? Because it's in France silly!!!!

  107. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Hotel Sunny Californication CodeXXXX

    "Oh, ....wait.....what happens if all three get created together (as indivdually short lived items) then they manage to combine and we get a stable strange black hole drifting around in a matter rich environment?" .... By Frank Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 16:23 GMT

    I Imagine Initial Confusion and Utter Bewilderment at ITs Probability in AI Singularity.

    The Implications are QuITe Revolutionary although it is just an Evolution of Thoughts which Lead More Safely.

    And this Window hides nothing from View, which would be Apache Stealth in War Zones Games Command and Control..

    Thanks for your Patient Indulgence, El Reg, with all the dots and clues we've laid out across the Internet, will the Bigger Picture and ITs Programs become ever clearer.... NEUKlearer.

    And tying it in with People Power and FlowurPower2 is No Mean Feat but is IT Inevitable? :-)

  108. Richard

    How to talk b*ll*cks convincinyl.

    I have two issues here with the confirmation of safety:

    "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."

    Would that be the THEORY of relativity then? The one thats still yet to be proven or disproven, since if it had, would be called the LAW of relativity? Its always nice to rely on unproven science....

    "[Vaccuum bubbles are the universe in] a more stable which we could not exist. Since such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, they will not be made by the LHC."

    Be serious. Thats the physicist equivalent of saying "Well it works fine on MY PC, so it should be fine on yours."

    Don't get me wrong by the way, I'm all for science and think the LHC will be interesting, but if you're going to convince the public its safe, at least do so in a convincing manner.

    -- Richard

  109. Mark


    So, according to Richards "Theory of Complete Bollocks", the LHC WILL produce microscopic black holes that will eat the earth.

    How else can you be convinced?

    Shit, it's only a theory that the world exists in the first place.

  110. Mark

    Re: Hotel Sunny Californication CodeXXXX

    Isn't it odd, amanfromMars makes as much sense as the comment he quoted.


  111. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    There is another theory ...

    which states that this has already happened.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    CERN declares Large Hadron Collider perfectly safe

    In the same vein as spitefulGOD: I hope it's safe from typo's. Possible porn at CERN? Whatever next, will they be making USB sex toys?

    Paris because she has collided with large hadrons.

  113. Mark

    Maybe this'll work

    Richard. This LHC is in the same universe as the universe.

    If smacking high energy particles in the universe hasn't yet created strange matter, vacuum universes or nano black holes, then the little bit of the universe that is surrounded by the LHC isn't going to do it either.

    Or, if you want to keep with your PC metaphor, we are on this PC. It shouldn't affect any other PC, but since that PC is another universe, if it DOES go titsup there, this will not have an effect on this, our PC (universe) here.

  114. john

    @Fred Mbogo

    Just a burst of gamma radiation, nothing to worry about. Sure, tell that to Dr Banner. Don't worry, it won't make him angry or anything.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I, for another,...

    ...welcome our Dark Overlords of the Underworld who will shortly arrive through the transdimensional portal.

    Death to the quacking anthropomorph!

  116. Zackary Deems

    We can destroy the world...

    in a horrible strange black hole induced inversion, but we somehow can't figure out how to do efficient and cheap vehicle propulsion.


  117. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Getting their sums wrong?

    15 PB of raw data, most of which is thrown away while looking for the interesting stuff. Only the data that relates to 'interesting' events is kept, but not on DVDs. It all goes into several of those walk-around-inside StorageTek tape libraries.

    Still, CERN did have to upgrade their network links to the academic world outside so that they could push the data to all the partners who want it. It's a fascinating place to visit, and since it is funded by tax money it is entirely open to the public by law (safety permitting, no entry while the beam is on, obviously). Just ask for a visit.

  118. Anonymous Coward

    Large Handfuls of Cash

    Potential - to create a singularity...

    Properties - effectively infinite force of gravity pulling towards a single point in OUR space and time

    Problems - singularities DO NOT BELONG HERE... or is it that the only reason we living creatures are here at all is because there are no nearby singularities? Time is irrelevent when faced with an event. The event IS... time will just have to deal with that. The real question is, "how will we detect events as they un-unfold?". The Gnab Gib may be instantaneous when viewed from outside it's area of effect, but how long will it seem to take from the inside?

    Scientists cannot agree what the result of this little exercise is going to be but most do acknowledge that they are hoping to create the one thing that really could end all existence within our sphere of effect. Fortunately if this experiment goes right, there should not be sufficient time to say, "oops". Maybe, just maybe we aren't the only sentient lifeform... maybe there were loads of different ones dotted about the universe, each one advancing slowly to the day when they try to solve their energy crisis by opening up a wormhole out of this 4 dimensional space/time and, as if by magic, turning themselves into one of the many black holes we today can detect (but know very little about).

    I for one welcome being turned inside out via the eye of a needle... at least Paris and I will share that intimate moment together.

  119. Mark Roome


    I thought rocket scientists were pedantic and obtuse, but these *theoretical* phsycists are just plain ...proof that strange matter does exist.

  120. Mark

    singularities DO NOT BELONG HERE

    Uh, singularities are mathematical constructs, the result of mathematically modelling the real world with limited maths while the universe gets on with *being* the universe.

    Your "amanfromMars" style drivel is therefore irrelevant.

  121. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark (12:13 on 26th June)

    The LHC is the result of mathematical modelling; our understanding of the universe is the result of mathematical modelling; the effects of an infinite value of gravity within a single point of spacetime can only be estimated via mathematical modelling...

    Singularity (definition): Astronomy (in general relativity) the mathematical representation of a black hole.

    So I used a little "artistic licence" to make my comment more readable, less repetitive... so phorming what? who died and made you dictionary monitor?

    your comments amount to nothing more than a pavlovian kneejerk response to written stimuli and are unfounded, inaccurate and unwelcome. Is that the best you can do? I'm surprised you bothered to type.

    PS: amanfromMars tends to use more capital letters and fewer adverbs (that's words which modify verbs). (s)He/IT Tendz To B More PolITe Too.

  122. Mark

    RE: @ Mark (12:13 on 26th June)

    No, the LHC is the result of building with physical objects.

    Whether the LHC will see Higgs Boson is based on mathematical modelling. Whether it will produce nano black holes is based on mathematical modelling.

    And where did you get that definition from? Singularity is the result of the maths of general and special relativity and nuclear physics saying that as mass gets compressed, the gravitational force gets bigger. And since all information (from special relativity) travels at the speed of light, at some level there will be no force possible to keep matter apart and the mass will concentrate to infinitely dense particle.

    But that's what happens MATHEMATICALLY based on GR/SR.

    According to Quantum physics, you cannot have an infinitely small point because of heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The Plank length is the minimum possible size anything can be said to "exist".

    That breaks GR/SR calculations however.

    So I ask: where did you get that definition. 'Cos as an astrophysicist I've NEVER heard it put like that.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pedantic to the last, but grateful to cross swords

    - the LHC was built physially, using chemistry (and bricks), by biological entities, based on presumptions derived from mathematical modelling by different biological entities. (better?).

    - whether the LHC will "induce" HB is dependent only on whether HB can be induced by the LHC, mathematical modelling is what we scientists do to "guess" the outcome, not to realise it. nano blackholes are again a "guess" derived via mathematical modelling (i refer the learned gentleman to the "half a hole" statement above).

    - (a simple definition, for simple folks).

    - I'm not an astrophysicist, I'm a mathematician... hense I understand concepts like "infinite" and "relative" slightly differently... For example: irrespective of "actual mass", within an infinitely small volume it will, by definition, induce an infinitely strong gravitational pull (obviously this isn't going to happen is it? hmmm? ah, we only have the mathematical model to go on).

    - Sorry to pick you up on this but information doesn't travel at the speed of light - LIGHT travels at the speed of light... information travels at the speed of the vessel used to transmit it (in the case of bad news this seems often to be much faster than light). Light doesn't ALWAYS travel at the speed of light either (at VERY low temperatures [a gnat's whisker off absolute zero] it drops to approximately 37mph).

    - GR/SR ? unsure what that means - sorry (my bad).

    - Heisenbergs (uncertainty) Principle is also only a mathematical model, Plank's constant is an estimate.

  124. Mark

    You've already said you're not a physicist

    GR/SR General Relativity/Special Relativity

    Get the easy one over.

    A singularity isn't a Black Hole. There may be a singularity IN the black hole, at the center. However, spinning Black Holes mathematically will not have a singularity.

    Kind of proves singularity != black hole.

    Your point about SPEED of light is irrelevant. Speed of light (with no qualifier) means speed of light in a vacuum. The speed light goes in a medium is less because of radiation capture and re-emission. The light between atoms/particles/whatever is still the same speed as it is in a vacuum. No material (container in your words) can go faster than speed of light in a vacuum (see why it's shortened to speed of light?) so no information can go faster. But information can be the light reflecting off the item. It could be the weight of the object causing things to move, giving away information about it's position.

    Information goes at the speed of light (in a vacuum).

    Information is not the vessel, it's the ability to know the vessel exists. It's not like a scroll locked up.

    Plank's constant is not an estimate. It's a constant. And I have no idea what you're trying to say by calling it an estimate either.

    Mathematical models estimate that a collision at this energy COULD create a black hole. However, those same models say that the BH (NOT HB) will radiate and die in attoseconds. The models doing so assume that the collision creates a BH because the two charged particles are forced so close together that the electrostatic repulsion becomes moot (a proton is a collection of gluons of different signs, so some of these gluons could combine) and that they could therefore create a minor black hole. However, it could just as easily create other gluon pairs or triplets because the proton constituents pair off. They could cause new partcles to be created instead. They may not be able to get close enough to MAKE a black hole (because of uncertainty and the result of that uncertainty is the planck length and planck time, so again I don't understand what the heck you were on about there: you don't seem to understand what they mean).

    However, what the LHC is meant to do is generate collisions of high enough energy to show the effect of the Higgs boson (which is massive, so can only be created by a massive collision). It wasn't create to make black holes.

    Neither were quasars or magnetars.

    But these can collide charged particles into each other at VASTLY higher energies than the LHC can, because

    a) the fields they have are stronger

    b) they have much more volume to make the force act over. Energy = force times distance

    Yet they have not been eaten by black holes in the millions of years they have been doing this. With elements at vastly higher energies.

    If they aren't all black holes by now, the possibility of creating a black hole is not a possibility. Either because

    a) they die too quickly to affect bulk matter

    b) they don't get created in this manner

    To cross swords, you need to be armed.

    Find yourself a weapon and THEN try to argue.

    Finding an argument would help too.

  125. shane

    Well whats the point?

    I fail to see the possible benefits that denote risking our section of the universe. i mean is it for anti-matter or something? can you imagine it?

    "look bob, theres some anti-matter!"

    "yea wow!"


    "well what do we do now?"

    all i can hope for is instead of the entire human race "going out in style" we just get the old bed time story where we all get invaded by a usurper alien race through a big ass portal, break out the H.E.V., Laugh at everyone who thought you were weird for playing HL2 in secondary school as they all die from headcrabs and get rockin'.

    and they all lived terribly ever after.

  126. Mark

    Re: Well whats the point?

    Did you know that there is a non-zero change that whilst you're standing upstairs, you will quantum tunnel through the floor, risking breaking your neck? OK, so it's something of the order 1 in 10^10^30. BUT THAT'S NOT ZERO!!!


    And you know what? There's no way you can stop it.

    The point of this LHC is to find out whether the standard model is correct. The standard model requires that the Higgs Boson exist otherwise there's no way to explain inertial mass. Other colliders have worked out that it isn't as light as the standard model says it could be. This one will exclude the majority of weights the Higgs Boson could be. A further expansion on colliders could show that the Higgs Boson doesn't exist (the LHC can't prove it doesn't exist, just that it is unlikely, but it can *prove* it exists). If the Higgs Boson is proven to exist, that proves another major pillar of the standard model. If this and its replacement can prove that it doesn't exist, then we know the standard model is wrong.

    And scientists need to prove themselves wrong (because when we know what is wrong, we know where to look for a better truth).

    The chances of causing the end of life on earth is about the same chance as a pen quantum tunnelling through your desk.

  127. Mark

    First google search for "singularity"

    Turned up from

    1. the state, fact, or quality of being singular.

    2. a singular, unusual, or unique quality; peculiarity.

    3. Mathematics. singular point.

    4. Astronomy. (in general relativity) the mathematical representation of a black hole

    _mathematical representation of a black hole_

  128. Anonymous Coward

    yawn - science vs logic

    1: IF "there MAY be a singularity in the middle of a black hole", one can deduce that a black hole can exist without a singularity being present but NOT that a singularity can exist without instantaneously being also a black hole. The patent lack of logic is quite disturbing oming from someone so outspoken regarding the "safety" of attempting to create a singularity. The spurious addition of the word "spinning" does not help explain anything, it merely adds another confusing unknown to the problem.

    2: My point about the speed of light (I am relieved to read you did not refute it) is that our "assumptions" are ALWAYS being tested, and more often than not, we are wrong. See also point 1 and thus my reason for bothing to add to this thread in the first place. Yes, The speed of light (in a vacuum)(above 1 degree kelvin)(so far as we are currently aware)(until evidence to the contrary arises or is observed) is irrelevent to the singularity/black hole discussion... except, what temperature is it inside a black hole? ...maybe escape velocity is lower than the temperature will permit light to travel, rather than just the simplistic (and unmeaserable gravity pull that we associate with one) which is based on observations from a great distance and thus, but other arguments, MAY have been affected merely by vitue of the fact that they were observed. I may be wrong, perhaps astrophysics has advanced so far in recent years that we can now "see", measure and conduct experiments INSIDE the event horizon. Maybe you want to stop attacking people just because they question YOUR belief system.

    3: My point about the speed of light was merely that it is the light that travels at the speed of light, to differentiate it from the "information". If light is the vessel in which the information is being transmitted then, in this case alone, the information too travels at the speed of light. Astrophysicist the world over cringe to read your argument in which you seem to state that heat signatures, radiation ripples and till receipts (all popular methods of detecting objects without the need to be present) travel at the speed of light.

    4: Plank's Constant - I invite you to define the precise value of this constant. I understand it to be: The value of the Planck constant is: h = 6.62606896(33) x10^(-34) where the two digits between the parentheses denote the standard uncertainty in the last two digits of the value. The word uncertainty I think is the one you need concern yourself with. Once you have done that, you should have no trouble reciting Pi to ALL of it's decimal places.

    5: You refer to "mathematical models" that "estimate" and also that IF created, a resultant Black Hole would "survive" for mere "attoseconds"... but you fail to see the irony here. Mathematics is MY field and you are in way over your head. We know nothing of the effects that might result from being in close proximity to a black hole, we are guessing and postulating and hoping that everything will be okay... might time slow? and by how much... might a single attosecond contain within it sufficient "time" to swallow the collider, Europe, Earth? ... we simply DO NOT KNOW. There is no data on which to base our hypothesis, just logic (or the lack of it) based on external observations of limited spectra for what amounts to an utterly insignificant period of very recent astronomical time. Your argument, far putting my mind at ease, causes me to be even more concerned.

    6: "They may not be able to get close enough to MAKE a black hole (because of uncertainty" etc... I appreciate the physics lesson that precedes this line but question why you have bothered to admit "uncertainty" (as in presumably Hiesenberg rather than the logic or mathematics that all our assumptions are based on). You then added, "again I don't understand what the heck you were on about" which is wonderful since in this instance I was agreeing with you... This MAY happen, that COULD happen, the other is POSSIBLE... THIS is the "uncertainty" that is synonymous with my concerns regarding the fact that we really do not know.

    7: I appreciate the primary desire is to create Higgs Boson... and it is generally accepted that there is a chance (albeit miniscule) that a side effect of this experiment might be the total eradication, not of life on the planet, but of the entire planet. By your argument... flames are created to help heat our homes and cook our food and to improve our way of life, not to end life in a massive event so therefore the Great Fire of London didn't happen. Would you care to discuss hazard, risk and probability too?

    8: My weapon is the grey matter between my ears. Suggest you buy some to replace your lego.

  129. Mark

    Re: yawn - science vs logic

    No, you've already said you aren't a scientist, you're a mathematician.

    A spinning black hole may not have a singularity, it may have a ring-singularity. Not a single point, a ring. A fast enough spinning black hole of sufficient size has been postulated as a way to "enter" a black hole safely (as in, the stresses haven't ripped your frail body apart in passing within).

    So black hole != singularity. The mathematical model of GR has a black hole with a singularity in it (when not spinning), but quantum version of a black hole cannot have a singularity, so in quantum dynamics, the singularity doesn't exist. The smallest possible size for anything to happen is the plank length. A 200-joule (10^8 times more energetic than the LHC) would be about 10^17 times smaller than this. According to Quantum physics, nothing can get that close, so nothing is going to get sucked in. Quantum physics explains the laser your DVD player has. It explains why your CPU is having problems getting faster. We have elecron tunnelling microscopes we've used to view things on the atomic level, and used them to carve logos in nanoscale bits of silicon. This microscope works on quantum physical principles. So we know (to some fairly secure level of confidence) that quantum physics is right.

    So I'll now go through your poins with that out of the way.

    1) A singularity can happen where there is an infinity or infinitesimal. Both of these are mathematical constructs. There is nothing that says that there is any real existence of a singularity. Show me one that has a provable singularity. It's all maths.

    2) "The speed of light (in a vacuum)(above 1 degree kelvin)" uh, what? Temperature makes no difference to the speed of light in a vacuum. In the MFP in the centre of the sun (not cold) the speed of light is the speed of light in a vacuum (I will be calling this "speed of light". If I ever need to say speed of light in a medium, I will say so). When it hits an atom or interacts with a charged particle, it is absorbed by that particle, which then vibrates at a sympathetic frequency and reradiates the light in possibly a different direction but with a delay. The more atoms it meets per unit length, the more delays it meets travelling that distance and the longer it takes travelling that distance. So the speed of light in a medium slows down because we're talking about bulk movement, which is where the MFP is much less than the distance we care about. In the rarified medium of deep space, the difference is miniscule because there aren't many atoms in the way per unit length.

    So your arguments about speed of light is irrelevant because

    a) light speed is astronomically taken as the same as the speed of light in a vacuum

    b) your assertions don't actually change that information travels at the speed of light (which, because we haven't defined a medium, is the speed of light in a vacuum).

    If you really want to know what is meant by "information" in this context, read any primer on general relativity. Take especial interest in spacetimes and the general relativity definition of "event".

    3) Information like colour? Light. Weight? Gravitons (travel at the speed of light). What other information is there? It's mothers' maiden name is Alice? What? Read up about events and GR. You are flailing.

    4) Planck's constant is defined by (amongst other real life constants) the speed of light in a vacuum. We don't KNOW the precise value of the speed of light and so Planck's constant likewise has commensurate error. If you did statistical analysis, you'd know about the propogation of errors in derived values. That Planck's constant is variable doesn't mean it isn't a constant. It's just that the elements we can measure that define it is uncertain.

    5) Your field is mathematics but your grasp of basic concepts like "statistical error" does not bode well for your application of your knowledge to science. The model is a mathematical model. Tycho Brahe's mathematical model is incorrect (you can tell by applying that to mercury's orbit). Not because the model was incorrectly written but because real life does what real life does. We make a simpler analogue using mathematical MODELS. But real life keeps doing what real life does. It doesn't care that our model has singularities, it has whatever it has. Mathematics define the model, they do not define the real thing. Take a look at the ideal gas model. Just a model. Take a look at the bohr atom. Just a model. Gasses act like they do. The molecules don't even KNOW they are a gas. They just do what they do. An atom doesn't know it should look like it does. The constituents just feel the forces they are under and act according to their nature.

    Model != real life. Model is the laws we can see stated as maths.

    6) Yes, Heisenberg's uncertainty defines that you can't know exactly where something is and how fast it is going. This led to Plank's constant (defined either as a planck length or planck time). Nothing can be said to happen within planck time. Nothing can be said to have occurred within a box a planck length on a side. No matter HOW carefully you set up the experiment. Most experimental systems have less accuracy. If you want to argue along this, you'll need to read some degree primers for quantum physics. Richard Feynman's writings on this topic include some very accessible works.

    7) There's a chance (albeit miniscule) that you will quantum tunnel through your seat. The smashing of high energy protons into other high energy protons have been going on for billions and billions of years, with energies that go well beyond the energy we are able to get in the LHC. We haven't seen any strangelets, no magnetic monopoles, no normal sized stars eaten by micro black holes. Uncountable trillions of attempts that equate what the LHC is doing has been done to our sun in its lifetime. It is still there. If these uncountable trillions of attempts that *could* have made such dangerous forms of matter have not managed to do so, then the risk is so miniscule, you'd be better off worrying about the Great Green Arkeseisure ending the universe.

    8) However, a sword is more than just a long thin dod of steel. You have to forge a sharp weapon, properly designed. You need to train yourself (at the very least, as to which end you hold). You have not. Your errors are:

    Assumption that the mathematical description of a real thing IS the real thing.

    You have no clue about GR and "events in space time".

    You don't know about quantum uncertainty.

    You don't know about the energies and constituents of cosmic rays.

    You have to train yourself before you can make an argument.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1 to 8 plus preamble and epilogue

    preamble - the origin of science is maths... your field depends on mine. Actually I also have an MSc in a science subject but I'm not as proud of that achievement. Every time you use the word "MAY" you prove my concerns correct. Mathematically, the figures "suggest" - experimentally, the results "seem to indicate". In reality - NO ONE KNOWS. It's nothing personal - I'm trying to agree with you. HOWEVER, in simple terms ... if I let go of an apple and it fails to rise away from the effects of gravity... can I then claim that it can't fall down? can I claim gravity does not exist? Of course I can't - now please re-read your own assertions.

    1 - yes - it's all maths - not religion. Infinity and infinitesimal are indeed mathematical frames of reference. They help us to explore the unknown. Why must you be so defensive about this? Quantum Physics is correct - for all observations made of it to date... but that proves nothing.

    2 - speed of light - you're the astrophysicist (please don't go all Marvin on me: if I need clarification to understand you, YOU missed something out), go do something useful like create a massive vacuum, drop the temperature inside it to a fraction above absolute zero and PROVE your speed of light comment is valid, or accept that it MIGHT be inaccurate. An experiment has shown that temperature DOES mess with speed, it hasn't yet been repeated in a vacuum to my knowledge so your comment is presumably guesswork (even if it is based on the most sound of scientific thinking and principals). "astronomically taken as" is still only a very posh way to say "presumed" which is, in turn, just another way to say, "I really don't know but this is my best guess". I'll stick to the useless maths that your discipline relies on. Re: point (b) - I think that means we agree completely - cool. Can you recommend a good book please? Preferably one that uses "layman's terms" since I have neither the will nor the time to become an astrophysicist just in order to able to communicate with you.

    3 - Oh dear... missed the boat a bit there. Information, as you seem to have redefined it, is anything that travels at the speed of light. Information, as I considered it, was anything that serves to induce a change of understanding - or what scientist normally define as data. The speed of data transmission relies solely on the medium used to transmit it (and the medium through which it travels) - use light then yes you are correct, use the post office and a whole new set of quantum and temporal rules applies. Oh, and I think perhaps you meant "first name" not "maiden name"... but then - we all make mistakes - AND THAT IS MY MAIN POINT ENTIRELY. Flailing? - at least I can swim.

    4 - yes, again we agree. but unfortunately you don't see how. The lack of complete accuracy, the error, the uncertainty... we do not know EXACTLY. So we experiment to increase our understanding, we "average out" to cover up the inexplicable bits... We make assuptions all the time. After a while the evidence is so great that we can no longer ignore the fact that the world is not flat, the moon is not made of cheese.

    5 - Statistics - oh boy! The science of fudge, used to dress up what is referred to as an acceptable level uncertainty, poorly taught, always misquoted, and rarely valid. Used to "explain" the range of results we expect to obtain and STILL not 100% accurate (hense 95% confidence limits which are also not 100% inclusive). I understand statistics enough to know NEVER to trust them. Your faith in them is VERY disturbing.

    6 - yes, no, yes - as in, 'we agree', there is no argument here - and yes, I will look out Richard Feynman. Thanks for the headsup.

    7 - LOL - yes. BUT... from earlier, the possibility that my pen might fall through the table ... likelihood infinitessimally small, resultant damage to pen/table/planet effectively zero therefore I feel confident to put my pen down; possibility that Earth is turned inside out by a experimental donut ... likelihood infintessiamally small, resultant damage is unacceptable therefore I don't light the donut.

    8 - Honing and Sharpening is a constant requirement, not a one-off. You use the tool it dulls and becomes blunt. You might consider refreshing your world skills because there is a vast world of useful information and intellectual thought going on outside the laboratory that might help you. The Buckyball construct is based on a conversation between an American scientist and his UK football-obsessed friend. If you close your mind to new ideas and obscure sources, you close your mind to the truth.

    Epilogue: I haven't confused the two, you have assumed that I did because you couldn't (or didn't) follow my argument. The fault is mine for not explaining myself fully. My knowledge of General Relativity and events in space time is indeed sketchy at best but I have read a bit (the 4th dimension and how to get there, a brief history of time - popularist literature it is true, but designed to be inclusive not exclusive). Quantum Uncertainty I understand as being the electron will be at an unknowable location within a ring donut that encircles the nucleus and will be travelling in an unknowable direction. Bit like early astronomy. "Energies" is a very loose term, I have studied sufficient chemistry to be aware of chemical entropy, sufficient biology to understand the requirements of life and plenty of physics to ask if you mean electric, thermal, kinetic, gravimetric, magnetic or nuclear?

    Does a nuclear explosion travel at the speed of light?, what about an object falling under the effects of Earth's gravity? or the tides. These are all, after all, what one could argue, "potential sources of information", equally valid as X-rays or Spectrum Light. Training might help me improve my arguments but when a child says, "but why"... do you attempt to explain in the child's language or do you just call the child stupid for failing to understand multisyllabic subject specific rhetoric (you might want to shove a "quazi" in there someplace).

    One can spend a hundred lifetimes finding evidence to back up a theory, but it only takes one instance to disprove it for all time. Is not THAT a valid argument? I would suggest one needs to train oneself to give a valid and coherent answer. Perhaps, Majikthise, your brain is now too highly trained for us to have any meaningful discussion. I hope not - I was really enjoying that.

  131. Mark

    "the origin of science is maths... your field depends on mine."

    Uh, doesn't matter.

    The Origin the the Reality is not Maths.

    The Origin or the Reality is Reality.

    As far as a real black hole is concerned, your maths can go fuck itself. It's busy BEING a black hole.

  132. Mark

    Will you listen or will you just restate?

    "Does a nuclear explosion travel at the speed of light?"

    What do you mean? The light, the radiation, the shockwave, the particles, the fallout? What does this have to do with "information"?

    It is impossible by any means to know the explosion has taken place. If I'm within a hundred miles I will see an explosion at 4:32. If you're a light hour distance away, you'll see it at 5:32. The information has travelled at the speed of light. By ANY means whatsoever of registering the explosion. Including, but not limited to:

    EM radiation.



    loss of mass registering in a reduction in the gravitational accelleration you register toward that region.

    A wire signal from me to you saying "it went off".

    ANY METHOD of determining that the explosion took place will not travel faster than light speed.

    Now, why are you asking? What does this give to you that you're looking for for elucidation in the operation of particle physics and the LHC?

    For your other examples, same thing. There is NO WAY you can tell that an object is falling under the effects of Earths gravity that can beat the speed of light in getting to you. Gravitational waves, the change in the inertial state of the universe (if inertial induction is correct), nothing. You cannot find out about the tides movement.

    Mind you, you don't have to be hit by the object falling to know it's falling. If you're underneath, you will be able to LOOK and see it coming towards you. And that information goes much faster than the mass will drop. The information is NOT the object.

    Why do you think it is?

  133. Mark

    Try answering this one

    A large mass is created instantaneously 300m away from you. You are in a vacuum.

    Someone is 300m further away from you along the same line (600m away from the mass), but when you meet, you compare times at when you had any measurement of when that object appeared.

    Will there be a difference between the times you record?

    What will it be?

  134. Anonymous Coward

    quoting "new scientist", 6th october, 2007

    page 36: "WHAT do we really know about black holes? That may sound like an odd question. Aren't black holes and all their well-known attributes - the singularity, the event horizon, the ability to swallow light and matter - just part of the furniture of astrophysics? Strangely, no. Astronomers know of massive bodies that fit the bill, but for now black holes remain largely theoretical. So much so that some researchers even claim they don't exist."

    GOD may or may not play dice with the universe, Majikthise; your comments however are most definately random ramblings. I am thusly reassured... if all astrophysicists are as well informed and rigourous as you have shown yourself to be then I doubt they could find their own arses in a dark room, far less get the LHC to work.

    Answer 1... A falling object, upon reaching the ground, makes an audible thump, informing me that it has reached it's destination. This information is detected by my ears as a sound wave (travelling at the speed of sound) and therefore NOT at the speed of light.

    Answer 2... I won't record a time, as the vacuum would cause my untimely demise.

  135. Mark

    Answers (incorrect)

    "Answer 1... A falling object, upon reaching the ground, makes an audible thump, informing me that it has reached it's destination. This information is detected by my ears as a sound wave (travelling at the speed of sound) and therefore NOT at the speed of light."

    You can see the ground. You can see the the object. You can see them meet each other. This is done at the speed of light.

    If you are blind, you can feel the shock waves through the ground and these travel faster than the 300m/s sound travels.

    So you're wrong.

    "Answer 2... I won't record a time, as the vacuum would cause my untimely demise."

    No, because you're in a spacesuit.

  136. Anonymous Coward


    "see the ground, see the object" - you assume I am looking at it ... "feel the shock waves" - of what ? an apple, hitting grass, through my shoes? ... and anyway, are you trying to imply that the shock wave travels at the speed of light?

    "in a spacesuit" - I don't own a spacesuit.

    Love your approach though; faced with complete and utter failure, you ignore the evidence. A real inspiration to us all. There's a big future for you in politics.

  137. Mark

    Look up "Thought Experiment"

    though this may require finding thought for you...

    Look at the question:

    You are in space, you see a mass appear right in front of you (300m away). Someone 300m further away also sees it.

    Now if you're going to be dead, this will preclude your ability to see. Or operate a watch.

    Heck, unless you're reactions are in the fractional microsecond level, this is not a genuine real-life example. Heck, I didn't even say *how* the mass appeared.

    Strange that you accuse me of ignoring the evidence, when you jump about avoiding any questions and have no answers.

  138. Mark

    You didn't pass playshcool maths...

    When you were told by the teacher "you have two apples and I give you another two apples. How many apples do you have?" did you answer "One" because you only had one apple on you?

    You never passed school, did you.

  139. Anonymous Coward


    I got special dispensation to bypass it and go straight to degree level. Let me know when you graduate.

    Regarding "thought experiment" - I haven't read your reading list yet. If you wish to have a friendly discussion on the subject I am all up for it, if you wish to embark on a protracted character assassination I suggest you pick on someone with a lower IQ.

    Please note that I have not at any point claimed to know the answers. I specialise in asking questions. If you have answers to any of my questions then by all means share them and we can all learn something new.

    However, the answer you seem to be trying to pull out of me is likely to be related to the length of time it takes for the light carrying details of the observed phenomenon to travel the additional 300m between the two observers. If we were to repeat the experiment on Earth and listen for an audible event rather than look for a visual one then we would record times related to the speed of sound. You claimed that ALL information travels at the speed of light, I believe that statement was in error. QED.

    How any of this proves the safety of the LHC is quite beyong me, but, as I have already stated, your mind appears to be too highly trained for you to impart knowledge.

  140. Mark

    Re: PlaySchool

    Do you wish to show that you have any education and answer the questions?

    This does not have to be light. It could be the gravitational pull of this new mass in front of you (we have gravitometers today that can detect the passing of a truck a hundred or more yards away).

    The fact of its gravitational pull is information about its existence.

    Oh, and informtaion is a particular term in general relativity. Go look it up. You can read, can't you?

    The point being that if no information about the miniscule black hole gets to any matter on earth before it's passed out beyond the effective range then it will not be able to affect that matter. Since the effective range of a black hole is the gravitational attraction that is based on the mass squared and this is a VERY SMALL MASS, the range is VERY VERY SMALL. And so even travelling slowly, there is VERY VERY little time for anything to know it's there and react.

    So micro black holes don't interact with matter to any meaningful extent.

    micro black holes are (by the same mathematical models that predict they are possible) short lived because they will radiate energy. Because of the minuscule mass, this energy is also minuscule. the chances of getting a micro black hole is minuscule so very few could be created, so the total lost energy is small.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    just time for one more bath

    I am happy to conclude that I have already shown myself to be educated and I have already answered your questions as far as I am prepared to. One's ability to perform tricks does not equate to a higher level of intelligence Magikthighs. Your opinion is irrelevant. I opt to respect the judgment of any 12 peers, not just one dictator.

    Our ability to measure gravimetric pull proves only that our gravity detectors appear to be registering the presence of gravity (the perceived presence of detectable levels of gravimetric pull leads scientists to postulate the existence of black holes - black holes are assumed to be the only possible explanation but there is, as yet, no proof and no alternative explanation - that is where science stops and your religeous fervour starts).

    "Information", as first proffered by your good self, was assumed by me to be the standard English language definition and I humbly apologise for offending your delicate sensibilities when I presumed that you too were speaking in English. I most certainly will research "information" within the inordinately narrow (minded) confines of your chosen specialist field when I have run out of more important handkerchief ironing to do.

    Y e s - i - c a n - r e a d... i - c a n - a l s o - t h i n k - a n d - l e a r n... c a n - y o u?

    And now you are telling me that because mathematical models predict something; therefore (micro) black holes are ??? Who is deluding who? You, yourself attempted to lambast me days ago because I was sufficiently lazy to associate mathematical models with the real world.

    The point being that if we know nothing as an absolute certainty and then we experiment to discover the truth, we must accept (before conducting the experiment) that the results are unknown until such time as they become known. If one already has an answer that one is aiming to obtain, one will "find" the data required, play down or find an explanation to exclude anything that doesn't fit and therefore negate the validity of the experiment. Normally the mismatch is attributed to errors in measurement or imperfections in the materials used ... and then statistics get brought in to scare people out of looking too deeply into the findings.

    As an example, scientist postulate the existence of black holes based on empirical data. This does not mean that black holes exist, it means that science is not currently capable of coming up with a better explanation for the observed phenomena. See also "flat Earth", "maximum safe speed for a train", and "nothing can travel faster than light".

    How about... ...before chemistry we had alchemy and before that everything was "known" to be made of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water (and some might argue also, Surprise). The "atom" - you've heard of them yes? That's those little things that some people play with to make all sorts of interesting stuff like bombs and poisons. Literal meaning is "indivisible" because at the time that is exactly what they were. The logical undertone to your many arguments above seems to be that all of the science that predates your current understanding of quarks, strangeness and charm... is ... ? what ? stupid ? wrong ? irrelevent? I would argue that these are the stepping stones without which you would still be scraping flint to make one of the four^H^H^H five elements.

    Unfortunately, in your particular field of excellence, performing the experiment and observing the results will both have an effect on the final outcome. The effect MAY be significant. This thread, however, is not. Get over it and go back to sleep.

  142. Mark

    You've shown you're ILL educated

    Oddly enough, we're talking about a technical branch. Equally unusual, a technical branch has specific meaning.

    Actually, both of those are bloody obvious.

    Your argument again seems to be "because you can be wrong, you are wrong" (suspiciously like IDers and AGWdenialists) well, you can be wrong, so you are.

    There is no significant danger. We are more likely to see the sun change phase and enter red giant stage (ending all life within the orbit of mars) than a problem here. Your inability to understand means you can't refute. Just because you don't know doesn't mean you get the same rights to pontificate.

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    143rd post, no further forward

    Ah... I see, If I fail to understand or agree with you then I am wrong and if you fail to understand or agree with me then I am wrong. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

    Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


  144. Mark

    Re: 143rd post, no further forward

    No, you already have proven you don't understand the physics. I would also point you to a quote from you:

    "This thread, however, is not. Get over it and go back to sleep."

    Strange how Article 18/19 only work when it comes to stoping you spouting complete shit. Oh, and wander into parliament and yell "death to Gordon Brown". See how free you are to talk complete shite.

    You maintain that because you think there COULD be a micro black hole and it COULD be dangerous, it needs to be considered.

    It COULD be that the Sun will turn TODAY into a red giant and expand within a few weeks to swallow the earth.

    It COULD be that you will spontaneously explode as the component atoms of your body decide to be elsewhere (it IS theoretically possible and it is NOT exactly 0% chance, so it MAY happen). But do we bother?


    The LHC is hitting high energy particles together.

    The universe has been doing this for billions of years to earth.

    The earth is still here.

    There's no chance perceptually different from zero that the LHC will cause a problem.

    The reason why it's taken so long to get nowhere is you don't want to think about HOW likely a bad scenario is. You just want to be heard and believed. Well, your information is non-existent and your capability to understand the issues unavailable. You have nothing to say on the subject because you don't know anything about it.

    Or should Alan Greenspan listen to me because I've got an idea about how to run a financial institution? PRINT MORE MONEY AND WE HAVE MORE MONEY. END OF POVERTY!!!

    Or should Alan Greenspan tell me I'm a frigging idiot and to shut up?

    You're a frigging idiot.

    Shut up.

  145. Alan Fisher

    sheesh the anger...

    why can neither side accept they can BOTH be wrong and maybe BOTH right at the same time?

    As far as I'm aware this LHC is something quite new, doing things which are quite new; hence the entire point of CERN building the bloody thing. Ok?

    therefore is there not an itsy-bitsy possibility that it could do something, shall we say unpredictable, yea even NEW? This new thing could be beneficial to humanity or it could be detrimental; catestrophically in all likelyhood.

    SO....those of you who crow on about your abilities or lack thereof in maths and/or science are missing the point. Could Pythagoras have predicted the advent of computers? Copernicas the idea of black holes?

    Just because the numbers add up does not make it true, else science would not require experimentation, coz we'd know everything already!

    So why all the arguments I don't sound like a load of religious people arguing about whose god is best when you're using second hand and often inaccurate information to back up your surmises.

    Fact; science is flawed and changeable

    Fact: maths is not perfect and merely a tool

    Fact; my facts aren't facts when one looks at it but I felt in an ironic mood.

    I'll also add a science and religion angle as there are similarities. Both are methods used to try and explain that which we do not understand and therefore fear. We hate not knowing so we use our brains to foment an airtight explaination to make ourselves feel better. Then, because it's our security blanket, we get angry when it's challenged because, if we're wrong then everything falls apart. Any belief system is bad for you, try to see what is and not what you expect to see.

    Now put your toys away children and wash your hands!

  146. Mark

    re: sheesh the anger...

    Well, when one side is 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% likely to be right and the other gets not the remainder but


    of the remainder for their chances (there are trillions upon trillions of unlikely scenarios that all have a non-zero chance of coming true), there's hardly a balance to be struck, is there?

    Or should we not build weapons because they could backfire and kill our soldiers? That's one view. The other view would be "it won't backfire and kill our soldiers", but you seem to think we must give equal freighting to these two ideas.

    It doesn't work like that.

  147. Anonymous Coward

    Hands Washed

    Yes, Alan, Absolutely and Thanks ;o)

  148. Mark

    Fact; science is flawed and changeable


    But reality is always exactly reality.

    And the reality is protons smashing into protons a TeV energies have been going on for billions of years on earth and all matter visible to us.

    Since they have not been eaten by weird particles that *science* says could result (which you've just said is flawed and changeable) then smashing protons into other protons at TeV energies don't result in these strange things.

    So "Science is flawed" doesn't mean that the LHC is dangerous because REALITY shows the processes it will enact are not dangerous.

  149. Alan Fisher


    No worries chief, I always preferred a nippy jacket i liked to a wooly jumper ;)

  150. Alan Fisher


    yes mark and 200 years ago reality was that some old chap in a bedsheet with a flowing beard made everything, almost everyone accepted that - now many beg to differ.

    Disease was caused by bad air or 'animalicules' (soon to be called bacteria) were dismissed and fantasist nonsense...

    Facts, old boy, are more flexible than the ruler one loves to twang off the edge of one's desk, no? Chew on this;

    "a fact is simply a commonly reached consensus of an idea which, at present, remains neither fully proven or full disproved."

    in other words, "a million people believing in a stupid thing does not stop it being a stupid thing"

    and finally to quote the inestimable Mr Pratchett "my bum has been a bum for a very long time but i still don't listen to what it ways"

  151. Alan Fisher
    Thumb Down

    *sigh* @Mark

    mate, no-one is saying your partner is ugly or that your dress sense stinks....simply that an open mind is required......any form of learning and knowledge acquisition requires an open mind does it not? One simply must doubt in order to learn and question EVERYTHING....that's how one dared question Einstein but Hawking dared question the Church but Galilleo and Copernicus state there is NO possibility when there is only theory and inferance to support such a statement is facile in the extreme

  152. Mark

    Linky for Alan

  153. Mark

    @Alan Fisher

    Do you have an english translation?

    I have seen hundreds of cups fall. This is considered proof of gravity. I have never heard of someone seeing one fall up.

    We have never seen any of the vastly more powerful cosmic particles create an MBH. Yet you insist this LHC "knows" it's artificial and will act differently.

    You should never have a mind so open your brains fall out.

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