Jun 11, 2011

Why the LHC won’t destroy the Earth

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

I just posted this story on Universe Today — which is a science-based moderated blog (i.e. any pet theories and psuedoscience nonsense are cut out).

The story offers a quick precise of why there is zero danger of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) destroying the Earth, but also a (hopefully) interesting discourse on cosmic rays.

This is the kind of interesting science we might see on this blog if it was moderated Eric!

Steve Nerlich (Member of the Board)


Comments — comments are now closed.

  1. KeithCu says:

    It can be hard to tell what is science and what is pseudo-science.

  2. I agree it can be hard, but it is both possible and worthwhile.

  3. Steve Wilson says:

    The lack of moderation of the blog seriously diminishes the credibility of the Lifeboat Foundation.

  4. riskalert says:

    Universe Today is moderated, but postings are not reviewed. It relies on pre-vetting by the scientific community. It explicitly does not publish new research. So it provides nothing new, just digests of what is already out there.

  5. Ed Sweet says:

    You’re all wrong and Professor Rossler is right — but not for the reason he supposes. In truth, by the Relativistic Inequality a = b*u*n*n*y^2, the LHC will produce Warp 6 plus Verteron radiation, that will cause a pseudo-Cochrane Trans-Warp Corridor effect, which will attract Giant Space Bunnies that will eat the chlorophyll from our vegetable gardens, and generally trash the Solar System.

    I know this sounds sarchastic, but I am growing weary of all the ridiculous pseudo-science floating around. Alternative Medicine, Planet Nebiru, El Natschie and others…just so much junk, it’s annoying me.

    Ed Sweet

  6. I was about to post this new blog when I found I was unable to post a new blog. I hope it is a technical problem.

    Please, dear administration: Give the follwoing text the status of a blog of its own or tell the readers why not. I apologize for my lefthandedness — it is certainly all my fault. Here the text I had planned to post as an entry of its own:


    “Dear Dr. Hawking”

    Dear Dr. Hawking:

    Excuse the public letter.

    Europe does not object that it is betting the planet on the existence of Hawking radiation.

    Hawking radiation got disproved implicitly by Kuypers in 2005 and explicitly in my “gothic-R theorem” of 2007 and my “Telemach theorem” of 2010. The pertinent paper which is on goes un-rejected for months by the Albert-Einstein Institute to which it was submitted.

    The impression is building up on the planet that CERN – that is, the European Nuclear Research Organization – is continuing its dangerous experiment only because they have passed a point of no return. Note that if CERN at last allowed for the scientific safety conference called for 3 years ago and officially requested by a court 5 months ago, CERN would implicitly concede having consciously risked the planet for many months in a row. Hence CERN is in a trap: No matter how high the risk, they feel they have to go on because otherwise the act of their having gone as far as they did would become known to every individual on the planet so that both science and Europe might end up being excluded from the still to be hoped for planetary future.

    Please, dear Dr. Hawking: be so kind as to help CERN out of its “double bind” in the sense of Gregory Bateson. The planet justly admires you. If you declare that you take the sole responsibility on your shoulders for having made the mistake of refusing to discuss Hawking radiation with a concerned colleague, the world public will forgive CERN.

    Even better: If you talk to me there is a remaining chance that we jointly find the flaw in my disproof of Hawking radiation which eluded everyone else so far. In that case the black-hole danger will be over. The world is waiting for your answer.

    In deep respect,

    Sincerely yours,

    Otto E. Rossler, University of Tubingen (For J.O.R.)



  7. Richard Kane says:

    Scietists used to look at the unknow with a mixure of wonder and dread. The world forgot dread, and Otto Rossler and Ed Sweet seem to have forgotten how to wonder.

    Steve Wilson, this blog is moderated and doesn’t like what I guess the moderators consider empty praise.

    If the moderator left a ghost comment stating comment rejected, you would know this.

  8. Richard Kane says:

    What happened to the wonder and dread that use to engulf scientists? Who can be certain that there is no danger or that there is certain danger like two scientists here argue. Deadly accidents in laboratories are now rather rare, but is the earth itself now one giant lab? However Steve Wilson this blog is moderated perhaps against empty praise.

  9. Robert Houston says:

    The post by Steve Nerlich gives no reason “Why the LHC won’t destroy the Earth.” Instead, we are referred to his worthwhile article on cosmic rays, which merely states in this regard that a cosmic ray particle detected in 1991 had “about 50 times the collision energy we expect the…(LHC) will be able to generate at full power.” He concludes that “this gives you a sound basis to scoff at doomsayers…”

    But such a “basis” for collider safety was found invalid by CERN physicists in 2008 and by astrophysicist Martin Rees in 2003. As in a car crash, the head-on opposite speed collisions in the collider would result in a slowdown of the products, some to below the earth’s escape velocity (ll km/sec). Thus, if black holes are produced by the LHC, some could linger and accrete matter, whereas higher energy cosmic rays would merely cause a closer-to-light speed departure of the products.

    According to CERN’s public safety report (p. 2), “collisions at the LHC differ from cosmic-ray collisions with astronomical bodies like the Earth in that new particles produced in the LHC collisions tend to move more slowly…” In regard to neutral microscopic black holes, CERN admits: “Those produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into space, whereas those produced by the LHC could remain on Earth.”