Doom by Black Hole Redux

Estimates for the life spans of those microscopic black holes destined to be created by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — those little guys that some scientists feared would grow to consume the earth — turned out to be, uh, a little short.  Rather than evaporating in milliseconds, some of them may actually last for more than a second, which is, as FoxNews.com reports, “a relative eternity in particle colliders, where most objects decay much faster.”

I don’t think we are doomed to be digested by these dark denizens of the universe (I’ve searched my computer Bible for the text string “horrifically crushed by the power of gravity into a singularity” but so far haven’t found it), but I am sure that those physicists who tried to sound warnings are smiling rather smugly at this point.  Here’s the article for your own reading pleasure, written with an interesting voice, methinks: “Scientists Not So Sure ‘Doomsday Machine’ Won’t Destroy World.”

 

8 thoughts on “Doom by Black Hole Redux

  1. anon and on and on

    One scenario that some serious physicists have proposed is that if a stable black hole were created, it would take decades or centuries to expand (at a logarithmic pace) before it became a threat to the Earth. In that scenario, scientists might be able to determine that within 50 or 500 years a freshly created black hole would indeed grow to suck in the Earth and all around it.

    If a European consortium of scientists announced tomorrow that the world WOULD indeed end in 50 years, how would people react? Would they “eat, drink and be merry” for tomorrow they will die? Or would they hunger for some super-powerful world leader who might help unify the world and somehow bring us together to find a way to put an end to this world-threatening event?

    Clearly, we know from Scripture that the world will not end by being sucked into a black hole. However, do we know that powerful men won’t use the THREAT of such destruction as a tool to try to wield power over others?

  2. “the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll” (Is 34:4)

    More importantly, they didn’t say someone is working on weaponizing black holes. After all, LHC was built by governments.

    WikiPedia documents world destruction by man made blackholes.

    In the science fantasy series Lexx, one character points out that although all-out nuclear war sometimes destroys all life on planets as advanced as Earth, it is much more common for such planets to be obliterated by physicists attempting to determine the precise mass of the Higgs boson particle. The particle colliders used to perform the calculations reach critical mass at the moment the mass of the particle is known, causing an explosion which destroys the planets and then collapses it into a nugget of super-dense matter “roughly the size of a pea.”

    Blackholes could be a useful trash compactor and alternative to landfills.

    Just beware of the Higgs Boson

  3. I have a hard time imagining how a particle collider would create any kind of black hole at all. How much gravity does the nucleus of an atom have? Now imagine the energy needed to compress it so small that its gravity at its surface would prevent light from leaving! Besides that, what would be needed is uniform spherical compression of a nucleus, and I don’t see how you can get that with a collider. The compression would flatten the particles like a pancake, which would not produce a black hole, I would think.

    Do the scientists who are doing this experiment really say that it might produce black holes?

  4. Howdy, Mr. Schaefer —

    I scarcely understand it, myself, but it really does seem that the creation of “micro black holes” — which is a specific breed of the beast — is, indeed, possible. They are predicted by both scientists who support the LHC work and are unconcerned and by those who believe the work is too risky. While whether or not they will be produced is an outstanding question (actually, the sort of thing that the LHC has been built to probe and test), the real question is whether they are actually a threat if they are produced.

    As best I can tell, the keys to the possibility seem to relate primarily to two facts: (1) It isn’t just the matter that is to be taken into account, but the amount of energy, as well, since energy and matter are equivalent (E=mc² and all that stuff!). While the mass of the particles, themselves, will be low, the amount of energy present has to be taken into account. And given that, in a real sense, the goal is to try and create a mini-“near Big Bang” environment, such considerations are significant. (2) String theoretical considerations come into play, since the presence of extra dimensions may make gravity much stronger at very small distances, effectively lowering the minimum amount of mass (or energy) needed to create a black hole.

    A good place to start looking into it might be the Wikipedia entry on “micro black hole” — Have fun! 🙂

  5. Thank you Mr. Smith. Your comment clarifies this for me. Actually I forgot that the added energy would increase the mass of the particles and thus increase their gravitational field, perhaps millions of times.

    I really do not have much confidence in the idea that a mini-black hole would evaporate, not because I think the idea is wrong, but because it is too much on the fringe of science and untested to be reliable.

    Revelation 11:18 comes to mind.

  6. rakkav

    If I may, scientists ought to be a whole lot more worried about the black hole that is human nature. Einstein said something to the effect that it’s easier to denature plutonium than it is to change human nature.

    Just think, the U.S. was building an even bigger and more powerful particle collider, but budget cuts put that project aside before it was finished. Whatever comes out of Europe’s LHC, depend on one of those things being knowledge that could put and keep it on the scientific cutting edge in applications, quite possibly including military ones.

    Arthur C. Clarke and others have had ideas about micro-singularities being the basis of very powerful spaceship drives. If one could contain the singularity while hydrogen was being fed past it, and do something with the jets of particles that came off the singularity, the concept just might work (you’d combine an electric dynamo and terrific thurst at the same time). Even the Romulan warp drive in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION is based on feeding matter to a micro-singularity rather than on matter-antimatter collision as in the Federation warp drive.

  7. rakkav

    Mr. Smith and Mr. Schaefer,

    When colliding particles, it’s not the natural gravity of the particles that needs to be overcome — at that scale it’s negligible compared to the other forces that need to be overcome, especially the strong and weak nuclear forces. Again, while the masses of the particles increase at such high velocities, it’s not their masses and their accompanying gravity that matter (for the gravity of the particles still remains negligible compared to the nuclear forces).

    On the contrary, as Einstein pointed out, gravity and acceleration are for all intents one and the same thing. The accelerator takes advantage of this principle of relativity. It increases the effective “gravity” “pulling” the colliding particles together to such an extent (one hopes) that the electromagnetic, strong and weak forces are all overcome and the matter loses its structure (creating a singularity).

    Again in effect, on that level relativity and quantum mechanics come together to form a black hole. And now I will shut up, lest I expose myself as one of the six blind men feeling the elephant.

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