Forget Climate Change – Large Hadron Collider Set to Destroy the World

Martin Rees

British Cosmologist Martin Rees. By Festival della Scienza, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Renowned Cosmologist Professor Martin Rees thinks a particle accelerator experiment gone awry could destroy the world – though there are good reasons to doubt the significance of this risk.

Earth could shrink if black hole experiments fail, astronomer warns

By Lauren Fruen, The Sun
October 2, 2018

Professor Lord Martin Rees has said a “doomsday scenario” could see our planet reduced to 330 feet across if particle accelerator experiments mess up.

The respected astronomer made the outlandish warning in his new book, “On The Future: Prospects for Humanity.”

The Telegraph reports how Rees also claims “a black hole could form and then suck in everything around it.”

Lord Rees added: “The second scary possibility is that the quarks would reassemble themselves into compressed objects called strangelets.”

“That in itself would be harmless. However, under some hypotheses a strangelet could, by contagion, convert anything else it encounters into a new form of matter, transforming the entire earth in a hyperdense sphere about one hundred meters (328 feet) across.”

A third danger is that the particle accelerators could destroy the Earth by a “catastrophe that engulfs space itself,” according to the scientist.

Read more:

Fun though it is to contemplate these outlandish possibilities, there is a good reason to doubt whether any of these possibilities are a significant risk.

Every day the Earth is bombarded by untold billions of cosmic ray particles emitted long ago by violent distant cosmic events such as the formation of black holes. Many of the particles which strike the Earth are orders of magnitude more energetic than anything we are ever likely to produce. Some particles like the infamous “Oh-my-god” particle which struck Earth in 1991 with an energy of 3×10^8 TeV, hitting us at 99.99999999999999999999951% of the speed of light defy explanation – we shall likely never find a way to produce particle energies of that magnitude (for comparison the Large Hadron Collider, Earth’s most powerful particle accelerator, produces particles at around the 4TeV range).

The point is the Earth has already been struck many times by particles of a very broad range of energies, including the range of energies used by particle physicists. If anything bad was going to happen due to a collision between particles of a specific energy, it should have already happened long ago when a cosmic ray of that energy struck the Earth.

On the other hand we have the Fermi Paradox – the mystery of the missing aliens. One possible explanation for why our universe seems so empty of intelligent alien life is that (almost?) all technological civilisations make a common mistake – they reach a level of technology which enables them to commit an act which results in their own destruction. One possible candidate for that act of self destruction is a high energy particle physics experiment which goes horribly wrong.

I haven’t read Professor Rees’ book, so for all I know he has an explanation for the cosmic ray flaw in the “particle experiment will destroy the world” theory. But for now I’m not going to be losing any sleep over this alleged risk.

Update (EW) Added the paragraph “The point is the Earth has already been struck many times…” to clarify the Cosmic Ray objection to the alleged risk of particle physics experiments.

172 thoughts on “Forget Climate Change – Large Hadron Collider Set to Destroy the World

      • sycomputing
        October 2, 2018 at 7:25 pm

        I would have thought that Montreal, Chicago, New York, etc. once again under several kilometres of ice would be pretty apocalyptic!

        • Real problems don’t sell.
          That is why apocalyptic porn, like dystopian SF, NAZI plots to take over the world from exile, rapture or 12th Imam based religious stories, and of course climate apocalyptic claptrap are so popular.

          • This sounds like the most merciful release from our present predicament.

            sure beats Armageddon , nuclear war , or the anarchy which would follow a major financial crisis.

        • “I would have thought that Montreal, Chicago, New York, etc. once again under several kilometres of ice would be pretty apocalyptic!”

          It is, but skeptics don’t sell that narrative, so they get nothing.

      • I have my own theory on how the world will end. It starts with Brooke Shields ringing my doorbell. When I open the door, she looks deeply into my eyes and breathlessly says: “Oh! Please kiss me!” As I move in closer, the world ends!

        I call it: A-pucker-lips Now!

        (Stolen from a Wizard of Id comic decades ago.)

      • Why won’t the space aliens communicate with us? Well, why would they? All we do is pick fights over nothing and throw things at each other. I’d back away from that, too. Usually do.

        Why does that guy look like the puppet from the Star Trek episode about the corbomite device that didn’t exist?

    • Whatever media attention this is getting is a repeat of the supposed risks being spouted in 2008-2010 or so when it was first started, and again a little later when its particle energy was fully ramped up to 3-4 TeV per particle in each beam (7-8 TeV per collision). I heard from a few different sources back when Usenet was still somewhat usable that this risked forming a black hole that would eat the Earth. It was restarted in 2015 with a particle energy of 6.5 TeV in each beam, 13 TeV per collision, the current world record according to the Wikipedia article on the LHC. Any news sources considering fears of world destruction by a black hole formed by the LHC seem to not be aware that this is old news.

    • It isn’t even a theory it is how a scientist whores himself to sell a book.

      When pushed he has yet to give us a theory that says why the LHC will collapse the Earth into a round strangelet 100 meters in diameter. Which leads us to the above statement.

    • Throw in the fact that there are 7 or 8 models for black holes because none of them really work or agree with the known universe, and you have the fairly reasonable assertion that back holes do not exist. Einsteim, Oppenheimer, and even NASA negate black holes.

      Conservation of Rotational Energy is the problem. The high spin of a collapsing body would tear it apart before it got to even neutron star density.

      • It’s worse than that – see Hawking’s 2014 paper below. Incredible how their song carries on though.

    • This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends,…

      Steven Carruthers has decimated black hole Theory.

    • It’s the global warming that has caused these scientists not to think straight and thus they pursue high energy particle physics. It’s ALL due to global warming, even high energy physics, right?

  1. So… We 86 the precautionary principle when we’re intentionally jacking around with schist that actually could destroy life, the Universe and everything… but embrace it with fossil fuels even if it means freezing in the dark and starving… WTF?

    • No, we 86 the principle when we can spend other people’s money.

      Thankfully neither the LHC nor CAGW is a threat to life, the Universe, and towels.

  2. Possible world destruction was one of the fears that some people in physics expressed leading up to the first testing of the atomic bomb. It was hard to know where the chain reaction would stop. I still remember my father telling me about this uncertainty when I was about 5 years old!

    • Actually the fear was that the high heat from an atomic bomb would ignite an oxygen-nitrogen combustion and burn up the atmosphere. Alex Zucker was tasked in the early 50s to build a cyclotron and test this theory and obviously much more. Reports were that the cyclotron could project a beam of protons many feet into the air. This came first hand from Dr. Zucker when I met him in 1999 while he was an associate director at ORNL.

      By comparison the SNS accelerator is producing a1 geV beam in 20kJ pulses.

      • A Russian physicist told me they used their particle beam rig to pull engineering chicks – aimed the beam 30ft above the local lake, took the girl for s romantic walk, spent the evening throwing frogs and pebbles into the beam.

        Can’t help feeling maybe he was pulling my leg 😉

      • Castle Bravo likely gave them a real scare running 2.5 times too big. Did’nt scare Sakharov though, who dialed back Tsar Bomba to 30% to protect the ionosphere.

  3. Some particles like the infamous “Oh-my-god” particle which struck Earth in 1991 with an energy of 3×10^8 TeV, hitting us at 99.99999999999999999999951% of the speed of light defy explanation

    I guess we found the missing heat.

  4. “On the other hand we have the Fermi Paradox – the mystery of the missing aliens. “

    IMO the alien are probably about and fully understand that humans are just another semi-socialized lifeform that are not worth the effort of investigating.

    • My personal theory is they are all too busy playing computer games to bother with us. Look at all the problems modern society has had with addiction to games like World of Warcraft. When the VR can be piped straight into your brain, creating an immersive experience in which you can be absolutely anything you want to be, there will be a substantial drop in the number of people who are interested in interaction with the real world.

    • “On the other hand we have the Fermi Paradox – the mystery of the missing aliens. One possible explanation for why our universe seems so empty of intelligent alien life:”

      One possible explanation for why “our universe seems so empty of intelligent alien life” is the same reason this planet “seems so empty of intelligent human life”.

      Albert Einstein explained it thus:
      “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

      I mean, look at all the people who voted for Al Gore, Obama, Hillary, and especially Justin Trudeau and Climate Barbie. These imbeciles have even bought into the global warming/climate change scam.

      The great American philosopher George Carlin explained stupidity thus:
      “Think of how stupid the average person is; and then realize half of them are stupider than that!” [Language]

      • One possible reason for the apparent absence of alien life is that we are in the middle of a narrow, ephemeral technology band. If there are intelligent aliens out there who haven’t yet developed a technological civilization, then obviously we aren’t going to pick up their radio broadcasts. If, on the other hand, use of the electromagnetic spectrum for communications is something that only moderately advanced civilizations (such as ours) do for a few hundred years until they discover something much better (and don’t ask me what it could be – how would I know?), then we aren’t going to detect those civilizations either.

        For all we know, there could be several highly advanced civilizations out there, observing us closely and trying to decide whether we should be mercifully destroyed before we really screw up this corner of the universe. Just sayin’.

        • I lean to the idea they have moved up the spectrum from radio to gamma. Just look at the gamma ray burst conundrum. Now we are picking up fast radio bursts also .
          Accelerating motors at light speed with Cerenkov radiation bursts might be their dieselgate. Who says aliens have no exhaust nor corruption? Its just at a much higher energy density.
          Likely with such motors planets are off bounds for their “greenies”. A GRB when decelerating into this system would be catastrophic. For once alien greenies may be right!

        • Well EM radiation still only travels at the speed of light, and one might surmise that alien technological civilizations who have progressed beyond lower frequency transmission bands would have at one time used those frequencies, or similar ones. Since these civilizations would necessarily lie rather far from us, it would take quite some time for those transmissions to reach us. If we ever do hear them, we will be listening to their past. Such was the mandate for CETI, but with no success and waning interest it is essentially dead.
          It also could be that those ancient radio waves from some nearer island have long since passed us by before we discovered how to detect them. But, that doesn’t mean we should abandon the lookout.

        • IMHO, an intelligent race, if they used radio or some other EMR, would for security reasons employ a wide-band scheme w/encrypted bursts that would look like random noise and require a key to decrypt.

        • Not so anymore. Brexit and Trump are about jobs, work, production, manufacture, progress. People are sick of globaloney consumerism entertainment, fake economics, foisted upon them for decades – serfdom.

    • They live in other dimensions. This is patently a prison dimension with all humanity condemned to life sentences.

      For prisoners no one wants to visit.


      • Well, if I were them looking down at the political absurdities going on here, I’d shake my multi-brain head in wonderment and sadness…..

    • We study ants, but do the ants even know we are studying them? Are the ants aware of our existence or only of our effects?

    • Or they may have already been/are here. Oh I know, just made up stories to sell books, Venus sighting errors, canopy reflections, radar malfunctions, pilot/witness hallucinations and/or CIA disinfo…..(X-files???). Maybe even defective software in the “simulation”:

      “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record” by Leslie Kean

  5. What do you mean by “Where are the Aliens?”
    Haven’t you been watching the news lately?
    They take human form and vote Democrat.

  6. Athmospeher is larger collider than that. The ultra-high enenergy particles are very rare, but athmospehere is large so there are very many high energy collissons.

  7. Scientists told us we had to give them loadsa money so they could “save the world” from plant food. We gave them loads of money and what do they do with it? Destroy the world. Tut, tut.

  8. But …….. we can prevent it happening by giving up fossil fuels and carbon pollution. Sacrifice your SUVs to save the earth! We have only six weeks before we reach the tipping point, so start freezing in the dark NOW.

  9. Well, it’s all got to end sometime.
    So we can give up trying to influence “Climate” it’s not worth the effort when it will all be gone in a moment, just like that!

    (And we can go on using plastic bags .)

  10. Main stream Physics started all this madness around the time of Einstein who invented General relativity theory and Schwarzschild who solved the exact equations for same in 1915. Since then, concepts like black holes ,dark energy, and dark matter have been developed mathematically from the theory. Physicists fell into the same trap that climatologists have fallen into, except that physicists did it long ago. The major difference is that physicists use mathematics as their model and climatologists use climate computer software as their model. Both fall short of the real world. Mathematics is only an approximation of the real world and computer climate models are a much worse approximation of the real world. Physicists have to learn to be humble and say I DON’T KNOW when asked a question. The scientists who believe in dark energy and dark matter say that they can’t conceive of any other reason why the universe is accelerating its expansion (latest research even questions this) ; so that dark energy and dark matter must be the cause. Sound familiar? I believe that black holes will eventually be found to be impossible. Curvature of spacetime, gravitational waves, and Higgs boson particles are also skeptical in my book. And the biggest scam of them all is the BIG BANG with its non existent cosmic background radiation. No I’m not a creationist. Just the opposite. I am an atheist and true skeptic. Science has lost its way and we are doomed to fruitlessly chase our way down rabbit holes like black holes. LET US GET BACK TO THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD . If we cant reject the null hypothesis with 5 or 6 sigma tests, then let us admit we don’t know, instead of inventing concepts through mathematical constructs and computer modelling.

    • I think GOD will turn out to be the equation of all equations.

      The equation that explains everything.

      • There can never be a “theory of everything” in a cosmos of free agents. Life, liberty and endless pursuit of reason is a god-given gift, not permission granted from some committee, nor academy.

        Newton was not a scientist, rather the last alchemist, according to biographer Maynard Keynes. Newtons infamous “I don’t hypothesize” tallies with his unbelievable alchemy, boxes full of papers.

          • If freedom is not builtin from the get-go, how could we be free to pursue happiness? Not to say that may be difficult, but freedom simply does not emerge spontaneously from an algorithm, no matter what von Hayek or Newton might conjure up.

      • “I think GOD will turn out to be the equation of all equations.”

        Or not.

        “The equation that explains everything.”

        Or nothing.

    • Hmm…
      Why did you skip over the evidence for black holes?
      And dismissal of all models is not justified by the facts.

  11. A volcano has erupted on the Indonesian island hit by an earthquake and tsunami five days ago.
    Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi province starting spewing ash 6,000 metres into the sky on Wednesday morning.
    “Not another one” said Brenda (a very long SS min due)

  12. >>
    . . . they (the missing aliens) reach a level of technology which enables them to commit an act which results in their own destruction.

    These aliens must have come up with stupid ideas like “stopping climate change” and destroyed their planets in the process.


  13. I have it on good authority that in the alt universe in which Hillary Clinton won the election, it immediately collapsed into a stranglet upon finishing her inaugeration oath.
    Whew, boy did we dodged a big bullet.

  14. It is not the “oh-my-god” (Higgs boson) particles that hit the Earth atmosphere constantly, but Auger particles which range in energy from 10^18 to 10^24 electron-volts (or 10^6 to 10^12 TeV). They are rare, only app. 2 per square km per century, but the surface of Earth’s atmosphere being app. 510 million square km, that makes about 9,5 every minute. For the last 4,5 bil. years, of course.

    Incidentally, essentially the same argument was advanced against the Brookhaven accelerator (RHIC) back in 2000.


  15. There are three degrees of freedom in the Fermi paradox:

    The degree to which beings learn to control their environment.
    The degree to which beings learn to control themselves .
    The degree to which beings learn to control each other.

    Currently Earthlings are far better at controlling each other than themselves or their environment.
    And they ain’t that good at that, nutha!

    • Douglas Adams’ :
      “The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?”

  16. A fun calculation I made figured if you spat OMG protons out of a million-ton spaceship to accelerate it, at 1g, to, and decelerate it from, lightspeed over the course of a couple of years, then you’d only need 48kg of hydrogen propellant.

    • Could easily be correct. 5he problem is the energy required to accelerate the hydrogen so close to lightspeed.

      Due to time dilation and length contraction such a drive could reach any star in the universe and return in a human lifetime at 1 g acceleration. No warp drive required unless you wish to return to earth time. Still it is an interesting question why the physics works for a human lifetime but not a dog or cat for example. Long odds for coincidence.

        • Additional aspects of 1 g accereration travel are shown here.

          Another anthropic ‘coincidence’ is the value of c/g (=0.97 year).
          That implies that communication with a spaceship that travels with a 1 g acceleration from the Earth is affected after 1 year. Then the signals from the Earth cannot reach the spaceship anymore, but signals from the spaceship can still reach the Earth.

      • Yes, that would require an antimatter fuelled cyclotron many orders of magnitude better than CERN. Another issue is that interstellar particles want to fuse with the spacecraft atoms above 0.1c, so you have to somehow plasmarize and deflect everything in your path.

        Trifling matters for the wrench monkeys though.

    • I believe you have forgotten to account for increased mass as speed increases, as well as the decreased acceleration from each particle as the craft as speed increases.

      • You’re referring to the increase in mass seen by the stationary observer, who would also see a proportionate mass increase in the propellant. These things would kick in closer to lightspeed.

  17. I’m afraid the Telegraph has misread Prof Reese. I’m sure the author wrote those things tongue-in-cheek and isn’t really serious. However, the idea of space-time misbehaving is far from new. I remember Asimov wrote a story in the 60ies about a group of people trapped in an ever shrinking space-time bubble. I think it was called ‘the Psi Effect’ or something like that. The story ended when everyone was plunged in the dark because the bubble had shrunk so small that lightwaves couldn’t fit in it. The last resort of the poor sods was prayer.

    Oh, what’s that slurping sound coming out of the kitchen? Is it an ever growing black hole? No, it’s the dog.

  18. Come on guys we all know how this will pan out. The Earth shrinks to a 100 yard diameter ball but the Germans will get their beach towels down on all the best sunbathing spots before anyone else has a chance …

  19. The Telegraph reports how Rees also claims “a black hole could form and then suck in everything around it.”
    Black hole?
    Black holes, dark mass and dark energy are abstract mathematical concepts, they are not necessarily out there (do I hear ‘booo!’ ?)
    Two days ago a CERN physicist was dismissed from his job not being politically correct !
    Black holes, dark mass and dark energy have introduced racist terminology into science of astrophysics, and should be banned forthwith!
    ergo: they do not exist (/sarc)

  20. You only need read the headline to guess that the guy is selling something.

    Yup. Its a book.
    +1 Brownie Point for me.
    (Psssst, where’s the nearest bin?)

    Take a coin, about the size of a 50 pence piece, and hold it up flat at arms length against *any* part of the sky.
    If you could hold it for 12 months, there would have been approximately one million supernova explosions gone off behind it.
    Your particle accelerator is something slightly less than zero compared to any one of those.

    Thus begging The Question:
    Are we really here to say as much?
    Its fair to say though, that some of us are ‘less here’ than others.
    Peta trying not to look at males with waists greater than 37 inches and folks who ‘do’ any sort of recreational drug, who are excused from, and incapable of, coherently answering.

    civilisations make a common mistake – they reach a level of technology which enables them to commit an act which results in their own destruction.

    Absolutely they do.
    The Technology in question is ‘Settlements’
    Settlements require the use of ploughs, combined with nitrogenous fertiliser and optionally, genetic modification of (living) organisms. Plants esp.
    Thank you John Deere.
    Thank you Bosch Haber.
    Thank you Monsanto
    Thanks for nothing

    Please do try and disregard what you’ve seen on TV and in cinemas.
    Where Star Trek etc went wrong is that they never demonstrated any technology that reverses soil erosion.
    Like the invaders from Mars in War of the Worlds – its the simple & small things which, when overlooked, prove to be the real killers.

    Hence why Fermi equation is junk – it makes (at least) one fatally flawed assumption.
    It doesn’t take any account of ‘Hubris’
    Not dissimilar to Black Hole Theory and of course, the theory of the GHGE

    • One may argue that the Fermi idea is an embodiment of hubris in itself.

      Pride before a fall…………………..

    • It gets worse.
      We all know about Charles Darwin. Wrote a fairly famous book. Been controversial ever since but nothing compared to the controversy at the time. Everyone knew about evolution, only Darwin was brave enough to put the thinking into a book.

      Obviously not a big fan of carbohydrate foods nor a drinker/smoker

      Darwin had access to A Field – a sizable patch of green grass sometimes used for the grazing of horses.
      At some point, said field was ploughed and reseeded. Darwin mentally noted how the horse’s shoes subsequently clattered on the stones that had been brought to the surface.

      Anyway, off he went to research and fact-check his Big Book and as is the way of things it took longer than planned. He was away from The Field for about 30 years.

      On his return, he noted that the stones had all disappeared.
      Obvious question, where were they?
      Nobody claimed responsibility for doing any ‘stone picking’ so he did (modern day scientists take note) his own research using a spade.
      He dug a few holes in the field and lo-and-behold, Ye Shocke Horreur, there were all the stones he remembered.
      Under several inches of soil.

      So. How did they get there?
      Darwin, as we’ve established not being a sugar eater or drinker, quickly worked out what had happened.

      He did not require ‘more research’ and set about writing a new book. A book that he himself considered far more scientifically important than the ‘other book’
      It was going to be all about soil – and the critters dwelling within the top 2 or 3 feet depth of it.
      He’d worked out what soil is and how it is created and, by implication, what destroys it.
      Sadly, he passed away before getting very far.

      Whooda thunk, but the spirit of Darwin is alive and well in the shape of the guy looking after some (3 large and 2 small) ponies in the field at the end of my garden.

      He doesn’t realise quite what, but has noticed something.
      That stones are coming up and out of the ground in his pony field.
      Stones are spontaneously appearing in his field.
      (Recall what even The Bible says about ‘stony ground’)

      He has noticed soil erosion, just from the grazing of horses – even and totally without ploughing or artificial fertiliser.
      Admittedly he is keeping twice as much horse flesh on his field than he really should though (5 ponies on 3 acres when the usual suggestion would be 2 horses on that 3 acres)
      But that is effectively what modern agriculture is doing, generating ever more ‘food’ from a fixed area of ground.
      There are No Free Lunches out there. None.

      Wonder if Kirk, Picard or Janeway ever noticed anything like that

      • We don’t till soil around here until rains have packed it down so badly that drilled seeds don’t germinate well and water runs off too rapidly. I lose more soil in my fields from wind erosion than water. It really helps to leave the stubble in place to rot, from the standpoints of erosion and soil amendment. I don’t seem to be destroying my soil by farming it, my yields are growing.
        On the other hand, my herd of 3 quarter horses and 2 donkeys reside in a half-acre dry lot when they are not out to pasture. Wind and water erosion are very evident there. The best fix for that is waste lime from a nearby quarry, which also maintains healthy hooves.

    • Indeed – ‘what we don’t know we don’t know’.

      See – “The Subways of Tazoo” (New Writings in SF 3)” – proper link in the wiki-thing [Yes, I can edit it!] – entry for ‘Unorthodox Engineers’.

      I enjoyed the first three stories hugely.


  21. In fiction, David Brin’s ‘Earth’ begins with a mob causing an experimental black hole to be released into the Earth’s interior. And it goes on from there. A fun read, if you allow for his “Ice caps melting plus excess U/V” scenario. As an aside, I find myself wondering just WHY so many ‘hard’ Science Fiction writers seem to have bought into the CAGW myth?

    • +kudos for Brin’s novel, Earth [1990]! A great read, especially the eerie ‘death spirals’ and the poor space traveling scuba diver. And the zany news and classified items of Brin’s fully envisioned ‘Internet’. There are many things in the book that will delight and haunt you.

      See here! We created a persistent black hole confined in a magnetic cage.
      I suppose you have supercapacitor banks charged by running dynamos to keep the field stable?
      Naw…. we just plugged it into the wall outlet. Don’t trip over the cord!
      Look, here comes the mob! If this thing gets loose, it will be their fault!

      From what I have learned of the human race, completely plausible.

  22. A movie was made about this I think it was german scientists at CERN or somewhere in Germany. The world was saved at the last time but a lot of stuff was sucked up first! haha

  23. I am a happy student of Stanford U’s Professor Leonardo Susskind’s on-line lectures. Within the week I watched him argue persuasively that BH evaporate.

  24. The late Steven Hawking wrote in 2014 that there are no black holes, this from the top quantum relativity mentor himself, a master of the maths.
    Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes
    This serious paper is well worth reading, relatively accessible. The euphemism is a bombshell – looks like he pulled the carpet right out from under them. So not only do they evaporate, but actually do not form either.
    Einstein was asked about Schwarzschild’s solution, and dismissed it as unphysical as time would stop before collapse allowing no change – not possible physically. He proposed the collapse energy density would be converted to space. No wonder he was looking for a unified theory.
    Rees speaks as if he has “the” theory – o.k.. where is quantum gravity?

  25. Rees is attempting to sell fear of the unknown.
    “We don’t know”, so it must be horrible.

    Sheer absurdity.
    This comes across as a plot from a comic book.

    Black holes and similar constructs are a function of mass, not name or description.

    That the universe will end up inside a black hole is a possibility, given enough time.
    A time factor that closely resembles forever.

    Nor is it irrational to assume Earth has encountered every possible particle, during it’s several billion years of existence, without suffering the extents of Rees’ imagination.


    “Johnson and Baram are concerned that these changes might increase the possibility that the collider will generate strangelets, hypothetical particles consisting of up, down, and strange quarks. Some hypotheses suggest that strangelet production could ignite a chain reaction converting everything into strange matter.

    In their opinion piece, Johnson and Baram quote Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom, who stated that the Earth would then become “an inert hyperdense sphere about one hundred metres across.”

    Just like a carnival barker:
    Come one. Come all!
    Fear the unknown!

    Man will destroy man, it is foretold!
    “We don’t know”, but man must destroy man.

  26. Watch ‘El Barco’. – very bad science movie about the ‘particle accelerator’ creating a black hole and destroying all the land masses in the world… but not the oceans.

    Every episode is one ridiculous science disaster after another !


  27. Quarks are fermions. Bound by the strong nuclear force, they compose protons and neutrons. Along with electrons and some composites, they constitute all the ordinary matter in the universe; some 5% of the universe according to our best understanding.

    The universe is a dangerous place, abounding with mysterious matters and energies. With the many degrees of freedom cosmology affords, one can construe dangerous points many ways. When it eventually comes clear to the unwashed that CO2 does not warrant the current fear and loathing, what better place to project the fret than the cosmos?

    • “When it eventually comes clear to the unwashed that CO2 does not warrant the current fear and loathing, what better place to project the fret than the cosmos?”

      OK so you go and get ‘The Universe’ to pay the blackhole tax!

  28. Every second countless particles with energies far in excess of anything that the LHC can produce, far in excess of anything that humans can ever produce, hit the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere and… nothing happens! This simple empirical observation disproves any concerns over machines such as LHC, ITER, &c. I am surprised Prof. Lord Martin Rees peddles such nonsense.

  29. Scientists discover pipe with U-trap at center of galaxy. Spiral shape now understood. Urgent hunt for plug underway.

  30. What does it matter? If a black hole was created we would all disappear so fast there’s no running away,
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave.

    • “>>> If a black hole was created we would all disappear so fast there’s no running away… <<<"

      Not really. A particle-size black hole, produced by particle collisions, if this is at all possible, would in fact evaporate instantaneously due to Hawking radiation.

      • And you know this because…….

        In any event perhaps you didn’t recognize the words:
        “there’s no running away, there’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
        take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy,
        And you tell me, over and over and over again my friend…”

    • It would take an infinite amount of time to fall into a black hole.

      Note, in Newtonian gravity, r=0 (in spherical coordinates is a physical singularity – the physics breaks down – but it’s an artifact of the coordinate system.

      Space-time is a configuration space.

      It’s just a mapping from the physical space and time to space-time which adheres to the Laws of Thermodynamics and avoids faster then light signals.

      Black holes and strangelets are cosmological and mathematical mind farts.

      In physics, if it can’t be observed it doesn’t exist.

  31. The point is the Earth has already been struck many times by particles of a very broad range of energies, including the range of energies used by particle physicists. If anything bad was going to happen due to a collision between particles of a specific energy, it should have already happened long ago when a cosmic ray of that energy struck the Earth.

    Well, you leave out one important detail there.

    When the cosmic rays are colliding with particles in the Earth, they are hitting particles at rest. However, in the Hadron collider two particles close to the speed of light, but from opposite directions, are colliding head on.

    Because of relativistic effects that makes an enormous difference. A particle close to lightspeed is much heavier than a particle at rest.

    I addition the volume of the particle in motion is also much smaller, resulting in a smaller and denser collision space.


    • “>>> However, in the Hadron collider two particles close to the speed of light, but from opposite directions, are colliding head on. <<<"

      Yes, it's true. But the energies produced by cosmic accelerators are so much higher than anything we can ever produce on Earth that it doesn't make much difference.

        • Cosmic rays are predominantly protons. A 3×10^20 eV proton hitting a proton at rest is equally energetic as a collision of two 5.5×10^14 eV protons. That is still a lot more than the 14 TeV (=14×10^12eV) of the LHC. Conversion factor to rest frame: square root (proton energy/ rest mass proton(= ~1GeV)).

      • But the energies produced by cosmic accelerators are so much higher than anything we can ever produce on Earth that it doesn’t make much difference.

        Are you sure?
        I have made some rough starting point estimations below

        A proton in rest has a mass of 1.67 *10exp-27 kg. A proton accelerated to 4 TeV has a mass of 7.1*10exp-24Kg, i.e. more than four thousand times heavier.

        The “Oh-my God” particle had an energy of 3*10 exp 8 MeV, or about 75 million times more than the fastest particle accelerated by humans.

        If we use the analogy that a proton in rest can be compared to a pea with a mass of one gram, the fastest particle accelerated by humans would weigh 4 kg, and the “Oh my God” particle would weigh 300 000 ton.

        The collisions to compare are therefore two 4 kg particles colliding head on, compared to one 300 000-ton particle at a much higher speed colliding with a one gram particle.

        But it is more to it than that.

        When these “particles” collide, they move straight through each other like dots of smoke. However, there is friction when they pass through each other and the interesting part is the small space left behind where the collision has occurred. The aim is to maximize the energy density per unit of volume.

        This means that the size of the volume where the particles passes through each other matters a lot. This volume is much smaller when two particles collide head on, than if one is in rest.
        The proton in rest has a spherical volume, but the particles near lightspeed have a relativistic length contraction which give them a shape more like razor thin pancakes.

        A proton accelerated to 4TeV will have a speed of 0.99999997, and a length contraction ratio of 0.00023. That means that if, as an analogy, a particle in rest is 1 a sphere with one meter in diameter, the 4 TeV particle would be a 0.2-millimeter-thick disk. The diameter orthogonal to the speed would still be one meter, but the volume of the object is much smaller.

        Taking all this into consideration the difference between the collisions with the most energetic cosmic particles and a particle in rest, and the human crated collisions is closing in. I leave the exact calculation to the domain experts.

        • CERN’s LEP (e+, e-) upgraded to the LHC (p+) for various reasons (synchrotron radiation, cross sections …). Protons do not collide, rather their quarks do.

          Still, not being billiard balls, the only thing that matters is the energy density.

          There are cosmic protons arriving here with relativistic mass of a baseball, but a nuclear cross section from some supernovas (Crab?) or the galactic bow-shock. It gets much hotter in spiral arms or as our system bobs more into that bow shock plasma. Enough to cause mass extinctions, snowball earth, a real hazard, not something from Lord Rees’maths imagination.

  32. But what if we accelerate some type of particle not normally very energetic in nature? We would then be outside the range of natural phenomenon and maybe new behaviors would be encountered, such as: BOOM!

  33. God decided He was finally fed up with the human race and decided to end it for good. He called up a reporter at the New York Times to tell him the news: The world would end the day after tomorrow.

    The reporter tried to talk God out of it, but God was firm and wouldn’t be swayed. The reporter then asked if he had an exclusive. God said that He was going to call three other newspapers.

    Headlines the next day:

    The New York Times: “God says world to end tomorrow; story and analysis on page B11.”

    The Wall Street Journal: “God says world to end tomorrow; market to close early”

    USA Today: “IT’S OVER!”

    The Washington Post: “God says world to end tomorrow; women and minorities hardest hit.”

  34. Seems unlikely seeing that recently two neutrinos with energy 0.6 EeV were spotted in Antarctica having passed through the Earth and out the other side. That is 600,000 TeV. The LHC can do about 13 TeV.

    Hints of weird particles from space may defy physicists’ standard model (28 Sep)

    To detect those two particles the detector had to see the results of the neutrinos colliding with water molecules in the ice cap. E = MV^2 means that when the collision occurs the energy can be converted to mass and vice versa, so at ~50,000 times more energetic than the LHC you’d expect an equivalent increase in probability of the Earth going down a spacetime plughole.

    Likewise since such high energy events are happening even more often to the Sun, being bigger than the Earth, you have to wonder why the poor beastie has survived these last 4.5 billion years.

    Martin Rees has long had form as a climate catastropharian too.

  35. It already happened…As we all approach the event horizon of this new super-dense world, time slows down. Since time is relative, we all experience everything as normal even though the world is collapsing into this man-made black hole. Since time will continue to slow down towards zero, we will never actually experience the last moment (passing into the event horizon) and we, as a species, live forever…

    The only testable part of this theory is that most people’s brains stop functioning rationally, and these people start believing in anything non-rational told to them enough times with enough conviction.

    So…those of us still sane will live continuously among the insane with no hope of ever convincing them of anything rational. Yup…we created Hades.

    Maybe I’ll go write a book.

  36. This has “retirement plan” written all over it much like James Hansen’s and Ravi Batra’s, and Matt Simmons’.

  37. could see our planet reduced to 330 feet across.

    It will mean popping down to the pub for a beer a lot easier.

  38. Harald tells why no Haden Collider can kaputt solar system or even universe:

    every minimal time there’s produced a pair of quarks – up, down / left spin, … AND + a third RANDOMLY which destroys the first pair by mating with one of that couple.

    So matter destroys antimatter by leaving 1 quark FOR THE NEXT ROUND.

  39. Blasting the same container with invisible previous buildups inside it isn’t what happens in nature.

  40. Years ago I heard a debate on the LHC as a potential earth destroyer. As I remember it, the argument for concern was as follows:

    High energy collisions are ubiquitous everywhere, including earth, but they’ve clearly not caused widespread collapse of planets. That would argue that transient black holes from high energy collisions (even if they do occur) are not likely to grow. And that conclusion in turn would argue that the LHC is unlikely to create a stable, all-consuming, black hole on earth.

    However, the high energy collisions in the LHC may be different from ‘wild’ high energy collisions … in that the LHC causes head-on collisions of identical particles. That sort of collision would be much more likely to cause events with small inertia relative to the point of collision than would collisions in the ‘wild.’ Transient black holes from ‘wild’ high energy collisions would be blasted away from the collision point rapidly. But the LHC would provide many more zero inertia events. So perhaps LHC operation would create events that would be exposed to a dense matter environment (the center of the earth?) before they dissipated.

    • The problem is, small black holes dissipating is a theoretical conclusion. Small black holes can’t be detected in a container and that container will be bombarded over and over.

      There are theorists who say that black holes can’t dissipate if there’s a quantum length around them which doesn’t allow for Hawking radiation. They will persist until they’re bombarded with enough energy to start a chain reaction of mass accumulation. Also theorists differ about the size of the quantum mass.

      Theorists tried to sue the LHC, but the judge in the case in Hawaii said that she wasn’t qualified to make a decision.

      The more energy that becomes available to the LHC the more dangerous this becomes. Of course no one knows what that level of energy is. The theorists getting the money at the LHC tell us there’s nothing to worry about.

Comments are closed.