No Earth-imploding black holes at LHC this decade. Probably.
While (some of) the world watched the Large Hadron Collider power up, fault, power up again and ultimately land its first 7 TeV collisions, others may have gripped their armchairs tightly, waiting for the planet-destroying black hole that some claim the LHC is capable of creating. As one might be inclined to notice, the Earth has made it through the ordeal just fine.
However, whether these doomsday black hole concerns are credible or not, a pair of scientists from Princeton University and the University of British Columbia at Vancouver have been delving into the relativistic physics calculations just to see what might really happen. Matthew Choptuik from UBCV and Frans Pretorius from Princeton have done the grunt work to solve field equations related to soliton collisions at specific energies.
"Our calculation produced results that most were expecting, but no one had done the calculation before. People were just sort of assuming that it would work out. Now that these simulations have been done, some scientists will have a better idea of what to look for in terms of trying to see if black holes are formed in LHC collisions," explained Choptuik.
Based on string theory and its extra dimensions, Choptuik and Pretorious concluded that high-energy collisions at the LHC could indeed form black holes -- but the chances of them destroying the world are pale even in comparison to the chance that they would actually be detected by LHC equipment while they exist.
Of the events, Choptuik says, "Some are already taking this very seriously. However, I don’t think that we are likely to actually see any black holes at the LHC, even if it is possible."
Rather than directly observing such a formation, he explains that to confirm the existence of the fleeting matter-energy magnet, LHC scientists will have to study the debris from the collision rather than the particles that instantaneously exist and then disappear. A typical collision would leave jets of debris while the short-lived black hole would produce a more spherical pattern.
The duo's findings have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters, titled "Ultrarelativistic Particle Collisions."
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