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Can a quantum black hole destroy the Earth ?


Posted on Thursday, 1 May, 2014 | Comment icon 23 comments

What are the dangers from a black hole created in a particle accelerator ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
Can the Large Hadron Collider produce a black hole and what would happen to us if it actually did ?
As scientists continue to work on making the world's largest atom smasher even more powerful following the discovery of the Higgs boson, some people have expressed concerns over the possibility that the high-energy collisions within the accelerator could produce a quantum black hole that will end up destroying the entire planet.

Scientists have since moved to dispel this idea in a new study which maintains that we are in no danger of the Large Hadron Collider bringing about the apocalypse. Even in the unlikely event that the accelerator does create a quantum black hole it wouldn't pose any risk to the Earth.

There are several good reasons for this - one being the fact that such an object would evaporate within a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Another is the fact that it would be traveling so quickly that it would immediately escape the Earth's gravity and disappear off in to space.

Even in the event that the accelerator did create a quantum black hole that stayed put and did not evaporate, it's size is so infinitesimally small that it would take several billion years to swallow up even a milligram of matter.

Source: Live Science | Comments (23)

Tags: Black Hole, Large Hadron Collider

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Frank Merton on 6 May, 2014, 12:23
If black holes don't evaporate as originally thought (and I must say I've read the stuff on this and it makes no sense to me, but then that is not relevant), then would this be an explanation of why the hypothetical mini-black holes that were thought to have been made by the big bag and should be evaporating about now in bursts of gamma radiation are not being detected. I had earlier thought that the non-detections were explained by saying apparently they weren't created after all.
Comment icon #15 Posted by White Crane Feather on 6 May, 2014, 13:56
No we wouldn't have a problem. It wouldn't weigh anything (or, very very little); and a black hole's destructive force comes from its enormous mass. Not at all. It comes from its enormous density and the gravity that comes from it. It's mass doesn't really have that much to do with it yet. If it did not evaporate or shoot off into space and we couldn't contain it, it would fall toward the center of the earth. Now its difficult to know without some serious math if it would accelerate enough as it fell to achieve escape velocity, but friction is not going to be a problem because it would simply ... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Leonardo on 6 May, 2014, 14:26
If black holes don't evaporate as originally thought (and I must say I've read the stuff on this and it makes no sense to me, but then that is not relevant), then would this be an explanation of why the hypothetical mini-black holes that were thought to have been made by the big bag and should be evaporating about now in bursts of gamma radiation are not being detected. I had earlier thought that the non-detections were explained by saying apparently they weren't created after all. Or it might be that the particular BB model which has the event creating mini-black holes is incorrect, and that ... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by White Crane Feather on 6 May, 2014, 20:13
Or it might be that the particular BB model which has the event creating mini-black holes is incorrect, and that mini- and micro- black holes do evaporate, as theory predicts they should, so we would have nothing to worry about - even though the collisions in the uprated LHC are not expected to be energetic enough to create a micro-black hole. WCF, Emma is quite correct, and it is mass which is the cause of gravity. The density of the object has no bearing on that, except allow for other objects to approach closer to the centre of gravity. Ok... Sure.. I figured that sentence was the wrong way... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by White Crane Feather on 6 May, 2014, 20:26
Or it might be that the particular BB model which has the event creating mini-black holes is incorrect, and that mini- and micro- black holes do evaporate, as theory predicts they should, so we would have nothing to worry about - even though the collisions in the uprated LHC are not expected to be energetic enough to create a micro-black hole. WCF, Emma is quite correct, and it is mass which is the cause of gravity. The density of the object has no bearing on that, except allow for other objects to approach closer to the centre of gravity. Ok... Sure.. I figured that sentence was the wrong way... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by E. L. Wisty on 7 May, 2014, 0:27
The greatly overrated Stephen Hawking may or may not be correct in saying that black holes evaporate - in the absence of any conveniently tiny black holes to observe, it's rather hard to tell, which is why he has yet to receive the Nobel Prize. And unless I'm missing something very important, it would seem to contradict the extremely well-established theory of general relativity, which states that the acceleration of matter falling into the singularity at the heart of a black hole must reach the speed of light, therefore time stops relative to the rest of the Universe. If the fortunately inacc... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 7 May, 2014, 8:55
The problem with science is that people, in general, know so little about it, and are not really interested in learning more. So when you say something like quantum black hole, people associate it with a stellar mass black hole, which they know to be dangerous. (most likely from science fiction) I am not saying that everybody should become physicists (i am certainly not), but sometimes it would be nice if people read up on a subject before panicking ! This is probably the most extreme example: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7609631.stm We don't know if Hawking radiation is real or not. In any even... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Frank Merton on 7 May, 2014, 9:16
When I read something beginning with, like, "The greatly overrated Stephen Hawking," I tend to draw negative conclusions about both the knowledge and arrogance of the author. Maybe it's just me.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 7 May, 2014, 9:25
When I read something beginning with, like, "The greatly overrated Stephen Hawking," I tend to draw negative conclusions about both the knowledge and arrogance of the author. Maybe it's just me. I did not in any way intend to belittle Hawkin, i just wanted to show a little appreciation to some of the less well known names in science. Most of the great scientists in history have based much of their work on others. the true mark of a genius is to take a lot of different information and put them all together in a grand theory. Newton said it best: "If I have seen further than others, it is by sta... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Frank Merton on 7 May, 2014, 9:37
I did not in any way intend to belittle Hawkin, i just wanted to show a little appreciation to some of the less well known names in science. Most of the great scientists in history have based much of their work on others. the true mark of a genius is to take a lot of different information and put them all together in a grand theory. Newton said it best: "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." The thing is I didn't aim what I posted at you.


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