Daily Archives: January 24, 2009

The LHC will not destroy the planet earth

Because the black holes that the big machine will probably create will decay too quickly to start an irreversible sucking-into-the-black-hole kind of effect.

But wait, there is a glitch in that theory. As being reported by the Physics arXiv blog, Black holes from the LHC could survive for minutes.

In 2002, Roberto Casadio at the Universita di Bologna in Italy and a few pals reassured the world that this was not possible because the black holes would decay before they got the chance to do any damage.

Now they’re not so sure. The question is not simply how quickly a mini-black hole decays but whether this decay always outpaces any growth.

Recalculations seem to indicate that the black holes can last for seconds, maybe longer. This raises two questions:

1) How does that part about how the LHC can’t destroy Switzerland (or more) go again, only this time do it with the black holes lasting, oh, say, 30 seconds?


2) What is the change in the basis of confidence for these predictions that would be mandated if in fact the previous assertions are incorrect? In other words, what is the new meaning of “oh really, we’re quite certain, that think you are saying is totally impossible how could you even think it” in the post “impossible” version of this conversation?

I’m not making any assertions here. I’m just asking.