back to article Boffins in 'let's create black holes in the lab' jape

Boffins in America say they have worked out a method of creating small black holes in the laboratory for experimental purposes. They seem unconcerned at the prospect of possibly destroying the earth, creating a portal into a parallel universe where peckish man-eating dinosaurs rule etc. Many scientists, of course, have sought …


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  1. Andy ORourke


    "This should be done, they say, not for the purpose of creating interdimensional portals or whatnot"

    This is the SLOLE purpose for which desktop black holes should be used for!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice work Lewis!

    Keep it up!

  3. Chris 67

    They're waiting for you Gordon...

    ...inside the test-chamber.

  4. Columbus

    waste paper basket

    can I have one of these mini black hole things in my bin?

  5. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Black holes and BASIC

    The original Dartmouth BASIC time sharing computer and the computer programming language of the same name also came from there.

  6. Marvin the Martian
    Paris Hilton

    Dartmouth, NH: it used to be bigger!

    Darn black holes.

    I can see it now --- "Master student claims, black hole ate my thesis" and similar shenanigans. Might sell home kits, to get rid of pesky inlaws and IRS inspectors.

    /PH for obvious reasons.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    "an array of superconducting quantum interference devices, or SQUIDs, should be placed inside a magnetic field-pulsed microwave transmission line."

    Well I mean it's obvious really.

  8. E 2
    Thumb Up

    Gimme a portable model

    It could be used to suck Brit cops' shotgun taser rounds right out of the air!

  9. Kent Brockman


    Have these idiots never played half-life??

    "Because we can't yet take measurements from real black holes, we need a way to recreate this phenomenon in the lab in order to study it, to validate it." - why do we need this? are you trying justify having a job you planet threatening lab monkey

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I think this is the same "Dartmouth" that gave us BASIC way-back-when. Ugh.

    They deserve to get eaten by a black hole.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Oblig Futurama quote

    "You've compressed our lunches into a singularity for the last time! Salt him Dwight!"

  12. Simon C

    May I be the first to say

    Desktop black hole ?.....that'll be Windows then.

  13. Gary Littlemore

    I feel a holiday coming on.

    Maybe they could let us know a date for testing and I'll take a holiday, maybe to the moon for a couple of weeks. Just incase things don't go to plan.

    Anyone with me, maybe double up to save costs?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Gordon, Gordon Freeman, is that you?

    Be afraid!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Where's the control group?

    So how do they create the imitation parallel universe where peckish man-eating dinosaurs rule?

    I for one (You know the rest...)

  16. Tim Greening-Jackson
    Gates Horns

    Dartmouth obscure?

    Surely Dartmouth is infamous for having unleashed BASIC on an unsuspecting world.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    I'll bet they haven't thought of this.

    ".......have sought to create desktop black holes for various purposes."

    I'd have thought that the most obvious application would be extremely expensive novelty paperweights for the uber-wealthy. Ideally mounted on a tasteful stand made of platinum and mahogany for effect.

    Doubles as a wastebasket too and sorts all those pesky problems with bin-diving tabloid journalists* into the bargain. What's not to like?

    *Tabloid journalists will still be able to bin-dive, but only the once and any data they do find will remain secure.

  18. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    It's worrying that they've named the devices after the description of the Lovecraftian horrors that will slip through their newly created wormholes to suck our faces off.

  19. Dan Price

    Squids? Seriously?

    SQUIDs. A black hole made from calamari? It's not friday already is it?

  20. sandman

    Who, where?

    "this is a different and more obscure Dartmouth located in New Hampshire, America."

    That'll tell them - uppity lot!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    We're so not going to get to 2012

    bye bye everybody, bye bye.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's collapse the planet!

    What's the mass of the smallest black hole that would be self-sustaining if you just dropped it through the laboratory floor, that is, it would suck in material fast enough to counteract the Hawking radiation and keep on growing, till the whole Earth is a tiny black hole and all that's left of mankind is a few space probes waiting for further orders that will never come?

    You know how you hate those geeks who technobabble on and on about "the singularity"? Let's give them a different kind of singularity!

  23. SteveK

    Where can I get one?

    I could do with a 'desktop black hole'. It would probably work better than this shredder which chokes if asked to do more than 3 sheets at a time. And would finally let me properly dispose of a growing pile of obsolete backup tapes that I wasn't allowed to wall up in the old fireplace in the office that was boarded up the other month...


  24. RW

    Corny comment

    Will they be able to build a black-hole equivalent to the Taser? Aim, fire, and watch the target be swallowed up. Bang! Gulp! Gone!

    Where is the gibbering idiot icon when you need it? Troll will have to do.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I may well have been misinformed but the main thing I remember being told about black holes as a kid was that the smaller ones are more powerful than larger ones?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    The fools!

    Don't they know that black holes in the universe are not collapsed stars! They are the remains or lack of, of civilisations that went too far! The stupid apes created something they didn't understand that destroyed them!

    btw Americans and risk. Hitler was advised that an atomic bomb could set off a chain reaction in the atmosphere that could turn the planet into a cinder, the merkins knew of the risk, but what the hell, and now they are doing it again.

    Little boy was uranium based and tested at the Trinity test

    Fat man was plutonium based and never tested, or was it (German bomb already tested?)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I wouldn't mind betting this device bears almost exactly no resemblance whatsoever to a black hole of any kind. They've just distorted reality in their paper (i.e. lied) enough to confuse ignorant journalists into thinking it does - thereby hoping to make Dartmouth a little less obscure than it was.

    After all, who's going to fund stuffing some squids up a waveguide unless you bullshit them a bit?

  28. Paul Young

    @ AC 15:14 GMT

    "an array of superconducting quantum interference devices, or SQUIDs, should be placed inside a magnetic field-pulsed microwave transmission line."

    Well I mean it's obvious really.

    You owe me a new keyboard... thanks!

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    On completion the control system will say

    "You have a tiny black hole on your desktop. A teeny tiny black hole. Would you like to open it.?"

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    If the Dartmouth boffins screw this up....

    And hurt somebody with their home-grown singularities, I am going to suggest that the eggheads in question be fed the the inter-dimensional dinosaurs!!

    This article seems to be saying that the scientists think they should do this because "We know black holes are dangerous matter-destroying/radiation emitting monsters in outer space, but theres a chance that they evaporate, and to make sure that they evaporate we need to create some of these here on earth. Of course, they may not evaporate, in which case we are all up crap creek without a paddle."

    Next week I am expecting a grant request from Dartmouth on "Optimal stick modalities derived from the stimulation via prodding of malnourished ursine test subjects"

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    glad to still see the Half Life references.

    Black Mesa. Tearing up time and space since 1998.

  32. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    "My people practically invented black holes."

    Can we start growing some TARDISes now, best to make sure your solar engineer doesn't get trapped inside the singularity.

  33. dyfet
    Paris Hilton

    Finally an answer to the Fermi Paradox

    Nobody could get past the curious about the desktop black hole stage.

  34. Martin Nicholls

    I hate titles, I just want to reply.

    "it would suck in material fast enough to counteract the Hawking radiation and keep on growing"

    Well I like that we're doing experiments like this based on the idea that ANY of Hawking's black hole theory is actually correct, which we don't of course know.

    How about we save the black hole experiments for when we can travel to another galaxy far, far away?

  35. Charles Manning

    What's the point of imitating the wrong properties?

    Imitation proves nothing!

    This thing won't be a real black hole (which would first eat the desk it is on top of, then the planet and with it any experimental results (unless those are first beeped off into space before the event horizon can lock them in)).

    Nope. It is an imitation. In other words it shares some properties with a backhole, not all.

    It is surely the non-imitated properties (earth eating gravity etc) that really count when trying to investigate the Hawking radiation. Just having a heavy black thing on your desk (a canon ball or equivalent) won't cut it.

  36. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Darn Americans and their nasty tests

    Ann one remember the high altitude nuclear explosion tests?

    These injected a large quantity of fission debris into the ionosphere!!

    What were they thinking...?

  37. night troll

    Nothing new

    This is nothing new, my daughter made a black hole years ago. It's called her room, whatever goes in doesn't come out (except her of course, but she wears these strange clothes that seem to protect her).

  38. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  39. Alfred

    Black Hole != What you may think it is

    Take your coffee mug. Let's call the gravitational effect it has on your keyboard Wcm (Weight due to Coffee Mug).

    Compress the coffee mug until the atoms are so tightly packed that light cannot escape from the surface of it (you might need some kind of big vice for this step). What's its gravitational effect on your keyboard?

    Wcm. Exactly the fucking same (blah blah blah minor second order effects etc - shut up, Hawking, you're distracting from the key point). Making something into a black hole does not suddenly increase its mass.

  40. Steve Swann


    Hang on a sec...

    These psuedo-black holes will be "much tinier" (failing English, clearly) than the real thing? Which bit of infinitely small, infinitely dense do they not quite grasp? I'm not sure you *can* make something smaller than a quantumn singularity....

  41. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Move along please

    nothing to see here, the government have been creating black holes for years, except they call them IT projects

  42. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Jack the Bodiless went to Dartmouth

    These are the same people who gave us Jack the Bodiless and Abbadon (aka Marc Remilliard)

  43. Annihilator Silver badge

    @Steve Swann

    "Which bit of infinitely small, infinitely dense do they not quite grasp? I'm not sure you *can* make something smaller than a quantumn singularity...."

    Smaller amount of mass, smaller event horizon, anything else?

    And the AC that suggests smaller black holes are more "powerful", in a way, yes. From memory, the amount of Hawking Radiation emitted is inversly proportional to the mass of the black hole. That's why they need to create "small" ones, as astronomically created ones (at least recent ones) are too massive (as in too much mass) that the Hawking Radiation emitted is below the temperature of the microwave background radiation, so we can't measure it. If we could find an elusive primordial black hole, in theory we'd be able to meassure it, but distinguishing the final burst of gamma rays from any other event in the universe would be difficult, and you'd have to be looking in the right direction at the right time.

    With a smaller one (we're talking about quantum mechanical black holes here), they'll disappear almost instantly, mimicing the death throws of a primordial black hole, and hopefully showing up a massive amount of energy/Hawking Radiation. In fact, the energy levels will be along the lines of the mass of the black hole. (remember mass/energy equivalency?)

    Good luck to them.

  44. Secretgeek

    Naming convention.

    I think a better description would've been 'renowned not-dead NHS user uberboffin Stephen Hawking'

    But that's probably just me.

  45. Mark 29
    Gates Horns

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn,

    Squids? Black holes? The return of the Old Ones is nigh!

  46. Lionel Baden

    wtf !!

    They are imitating something they cannot measure to measure it !!!

    *Splodes !!!!!

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The plot is afoot.

    Renowned uberboffin Stephen Hawking rolled past the array of superconducting quantum interference devices. He lunged for the nearest peer-reviewed paper he could see, one of his own. Grabbing the baffling text, the sixty-seven-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it slipped from the shelf and Hawking collapsed backward in a heap beneath his chair. A chillingly weird looking assassin loomed over him from the doorway chillingly. "Now you will die," the tall scarred killer said. Mr Stephen Hawking, 67, only just had time to see what the man was holding - a black hole! Only just time, that is, before being brutally black-holed to death by none other than the other man present in the room!

    And that's basically what's going to happen.

  48. Russ Williams

    Re: Naming Convention


    Surely "famously-still-alive NHS-user robovoice uberboffin"? Then we'd also get the Portal references as well as yank-healthcare-debate-mockery, and that would be a triumph, and we'd be able to make a note - "huge success!".

    Mine's the one with a Weighted Companion Cube in the pocket.

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