New Report: LHC Switch-on Fears Are Completely Unfounded

Article written: 5 Sep , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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We don’t mean to beat a dead horse – both Fraser and Ian have already covered this topic quite thoroughly — but just in case anyone still has any fears about the Large Hadron Collider meaning the end of the world, a new report published today provides the most comprehensive evidence available to confirm that the LHC’s switch-on, due on Wednesday next week, poses no threat to mankind. A copy of the report is available HERE. In a nutshell, it says nature’s own cosmic rays regularly produce more powerful particle collisions than those planned within the LHC, and nothing bad has happened to Earth from those quite natural and frequent events. The LHC will be studying nature’s laws in controlled experiments. So just relax and watch the LHC rap video.

The LHC Safety Assessment Group have reviewed and updated a study first completed in 2003, which dispels fears of universe-gobbling black holes and of other possibly dangerous new forms of matter, and confirms that the switch-on will be completely safe.

The report, ‘Review of the Safety of LHC Collisions’, published in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, proves that if particle collisions at the LHC had the power to destroy the Earth, we would never have been given the chance to exist, because regular interactions with more energetic cosmic rays would already have destroyed the Earth or other astronomical bodies.

The Safety Assessment Group compares the rates of cosmic rays that bombard Earth, other planets in our solar system, the Sun and all the other stars in our universe itself to show that hypothetical black holes or strangelets, that have raised fears in some, will in fact pose no threat.

The report also concludes that, since cosmic-ray collisions are more energetic than those in the LHC, but are incapable of producing vacuum bubbles or dangerous magnetic monopoles, we should not fear their creation by the LHC.

LHC collisions will differ from cosmic-ray collisions in that any exotic particles created will have lower velocities, but the Safety Assessment Group shows that even fast-moving black holes produced by cosmic rays would have stopped inside the Earth or other astronomical bodies. Their existence proves that any such black holes could not gobble matter at a risky rate.

As the Safety Assessment Group writes, “Each collision of a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes, so any black hole produced would be much smaller than those known to astrophysicists.” They conclude that such microscopic black holes could not grow dangerously.

As for the equally hypothetical strangelets, the review uses recent experimental measurements at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider, New York, to prove that they will not be produced during collisions in the LHC.

Source: EurekAlert


25 Responses

  1. GTC says

    Compelling stuff, but it doesn’t fit into the attention-whoring pseudoscientific babble emanating from the likes of that fake “nuclear physicist” Walter Wagner and his brain-dead lackey JTankers. They’ve set themselves up as pimples on the butt of the internet for the rest of their lives, now they claim that the “disastrous effects” of the LHC might happen hundreds of years from now.

    What a pair of laughable and transparent frauds they are!

  2. Rey says

    I hope those debunkers are wrong…as many wisened humans will say “If something can go wrong, it can go wrong ~ it’s a matter of when and how lucky the victim is”.

    But, I hope this LHC project will be a positive step for humans.

    Rey.

  3. Jordan says

    Why does every thing that happens in this world these days pose a threat to the world as we know it. First it’s 2012, and now It’s even earlier supposedly with this LHC, I’m so scared. :[

    It makes me feel good to read your article Nancy, I feel a bit more at ease. :[

    But what’s next, SLHC (Super large hadron collisionator)?

    T_T

  4. marcellus says

    Not much of a speller either.

    People that believe in the LHC being a threat are in the same vein as thinking global warming, NASA faking the moon landings and the 2012 doomsday prophecy are real.

    Get a life.

  5. “Each collision of a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes…”

    Have 2 mosquitoes ever collided? Have studies been done on the amount of energy released in mosquito collisions?

  6. Prime says

    Newton said it takes 3 derivatives to completly define motion. Maxwell and Einstien just used 2 in current electromagnetics and special relativity.
    velocity & acceleration.

    The 3d derivative is expressed as L/T³, or variations of acceleration with respect to position (statics).

    And scientists wonder, why so many phantom particles, just using 75% of overall motion in
    their flawed theory colliders.

    Prime

  7. David says

    Have 2 mosquitoes ever collided? Have studies been done on the amount of energy released in mosquito collisions?

    Hey Ben everythung is connected and so the energy involved in such a collision would be infinite, in an invinite universe such collisions would happen all the time relesing infinite enrgy, such as found in the LHC V2. which will generate a black whole devouring the pkanet this must stop.

    DaViD 2012.( Not drunk)

  8. Gabriel says

    Just switch the darn thing on already.If we go out we will go out with a bang.A big bang.Life is too short to allow it to be frozen by our fear of the unknown.

  9. Van says

    I keep wondering…does this make the case for more money for cosmic ray research? How about some super-duper cosmic ray detectors like ALICE and the others. Maybe in a polar orbit?

  10. marcellus says

    Another idiot that doesn’t know how to spell.

  11. de je vu says

    de je vu

    I am from galaxy where we were also told
    “crank the mother up already —-, THERE’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT .”

    Thats why I’m here !

    I love these super intelligent scientists that know 100 % of Nature – God – the iniverse – quamyum particles -bedrock of it all .

    One thing that puzzles me is if they understand everything in Nature 100% that means they should be able to describe it by mathematics 100%

    Then why do they have to build the collider LHC in the first place.

    Its like a paradox .

    trust me compadre – I’ve been there already

    de je vu

  12. Janette says

    Yesterday I asked my husband if this thing could explode and take out France. He laughed at me. In previous stories about the LHC and the lawsuits surrounding it, they kept saying the fears were unfounded and the result of little logical thought. I didn’t take any offense to this, because I’m a layperson, the anti-egghead in comparison. The majority of the people who have gotten all riled up over this are not physicists, just regular people sipping their coffee and reading Digg. Most of these people are incapable of acquiring the logical thought needed to figure out how anything of this stuff works or how any of this is impossible, and are just able to process what they’re told.
    As for me, I just have faith that these eggheads aren’t the reckless nerd renegades the lawsuits suggest.
    I’m just glad there are sites like these that put big science into dummy terms.

  13. Astrofiend says

    “# Prime Says:
    September 6th, 2008 at 9:30 am

    “Newton said it takes 3 derivatives to completly define motion. Maxwell and Einstien just used 2 in current electromagnetics and special relativity.
    velocity & acceleration.

    The 3d derivative is expressed as L/T�, or variations of acceleration with respect to position (statics).

    And scientists wonder, why so many phantom particles, just using 75% of overall motion in
    their flawed theory colliders.

    Prime”

    Wow prime – with but a few cunning strokes of the blog-comment pen, you’ve managed to demonstrate how laughably inadequate our understanding of the universe is, seemingly based vaguely on the work of a scientist who lived hundreds of years ago. I was blind, but now I see! It’s all about the third derivative!!! I just wish I’d thought of taking that elusive next step in physics, and differentiated an expression for the displacement of a particle not once, not just twice, but indeed – thrice! Thrice Einstein you moron – not twice. Get that through your thick skull.

    Excuse my ignorance, but maybe you could demonstrate how the the derivative of acceleration wrt position (statics) suddenly makes all of these problematic phantom particles that we keep finding with our “flawed theory colliders” disappear…

  14. Member
    DrNothing says

    “And scientists wonder, why so many phantom particles, just using 75% of overall motion in
    their flawed theory colliders. (sic)”

    Good thing we have you to catch these mistakes that the people that spend their entire lives studying this stuff so flagrantly make. Next, would you please tell all the brain surgeons how they can get electrocuted by cutting into electrically charged tissue (via firing synapses) with metal scalpels… (…genius…)

  15. hiro says

    Didnt anyone complain when the SSC was built? I believe the energy of the SSC would have been 2.5 times higher the the current LHC. I’m looking toward the ultimate one: 1 PeV !!!

  16. Aodhhan says

    Prime,
    Leave it to you, to totally mess up Newton’s Law of resultant force; otherwise known as his 2nd law.

    …I’m not even sure where you picked up the electromagnetic part of whatever craziness you are talking about; unless you are somehow trying to feed in Classical Electrodynamics…so I’ll attempt at an answer which may be in the ball park of whatever crazy reference you used.

    However, lets get to WHY someone might not use the laws to perfection. Every first year physics student knows Newton’s laws combined with gravitation and classical electrodynamics should not be used under certain circumstances; like high speed (in reference to special relativity… due to the Lorentz factor which must be considered…along with others), strong gravitational fields and of course very small scales (which drove Einstein nuts anyway; quantum mech was not a love of his).
    I won’t go any further, you can look up anything you have questions on based on what I’ve stated so far.

    Not sure what your hatred for physicists is, but you should at least have a better grasp of things before you go around saying how idiotic a group of people are.

    I mean seriously… if a famous physicist used something for some reason, there is something behind it you probably aren’t getting.

  17. Aodhhan says

    Small giggle test for particle colliders, and those who believe the LHC will be the end of us all…

    Within the cathedral rooms where the collision occurs is very sensitive equipment (obviously to capture information on sub-atomic particles); if there was a great deal of energy from this process… colliders would only be good for one use, and this obviously isn’t the case. They would also have to create everything to be ‘explosion’ proof… again, they do not have to.
    The colliding items are thousands of times less massive than a spec of dust. Even going 0.9 the speed of light, there isn’t going to be any great BOOM of energy; and certainly not enough to create a black hole.

    I think…. we are safe!

  18. Tobias says

    In my opinion it’s very important research. For those who fear the end of the world I say: start protesting against the thousands of nuclear bombs on our planet instead !

  19. kenn hammer says

    i am vondering what is the purpose of this machine. is to greate electricity or just finding these sub atomic particules. and if they find the partikels whats the purpose. anybody….ps sorry for the bad writing i am danish :p

  20. Kaje says

    Hi guys,

    Firstly – congrats on a wonderful site. I love all things science fact related, even with my very limited knowledge, and this site puts the gobbledegook into words I actually understand!

    Right, at the risk of being branded one of the ‘unclean’ I have to admit I am VERY worried about the LHC being in operation.

    I’m well aware that the world won’t actually end tomorrow/today (Wed 10th Sep 08) as they’re only doing the preliminary tests and aren’t actually colliding anything yet – but I’m getting increasingly worried and may just be worried enough by the proposed collision date in October 08 to explode.

    I’ve seen a lot of articles that have said there’s very little danger of anything negative happening as a result of the LHC – but what of that small chance that something negative might happen?

    I love science, I love technology and I’m well aware that experiments must take place in order to further our knowledge, understanding and application – however very, very few tests have any chance at all of wiping out the human race – be it immediately or over time.

    With two court cases attempting to stop the LHC being switched on thrown out of the European Court of Human Rights, it looks as if there’s no way to stop it.

    My worry is that these scientists, regardless of how good they are, are playing with MY life – and I like it just the way it is.

    Oh and don’t get me started on the whole 2012 thing, that scares me too – regardless of evidence for or against – as does any notion of the world ending before I’m 80 as we can never be totally sure.

    Kaje (currently only 23….)

  21. Jason B Ross says

    Hi I’m a Canadian and I feel your research will kill this planet why are you all not thinking. I feel this experiment should be done around the time we have another planet to escape to please rethink what you’re doing. The public and the people of the planet haven’t even heard of this device before. I was told about this machine only yesterday and you already have it cold and are aligning the beams. I feel that it’s a good idea to learn more about the building blocks of life but it’s not a good idea when you could be destroying all walks of life on this planet.

  22. Jorge says

    Jason, are you still there? The LHC has been turned on already. If you’ve become a cloud of superheated gas, let me know, for that would mean you might be right in what you say about the LHC. 🙂

  23. Kaje says

    Jorge,

    The actual experiment won’t take place until mid October. They’ve turned it on and tested without particles colliding so far.

    Kaje

  24. bems68 says

    There are some things in this universe that man simply isn’t meant to know. This might be one of those things. Our technological wizardry has far exceeded our wisdom of whether or not we should use it.

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    Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to that person from that chat who told me to visit your site 🙂

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