If You Don’t Have an LHC, Here’s How to Create Your Own Black Hole

Those fearful folks who have worried about the Large Hadron Collider creating a black hole that could swallow the Earth have probably been feeling pretty safe while the giant particle accelerator is still offline. But hopefully they haven’t read the latest Physical Review Letters . It includes a paper that explains how researchers at Dartmouth have figured out a way to create a tiny quantum-sized black hole in their lab, with no LHC required.

In their paper, the researchers show that a magnetic field-pulsed microwave transmission line containing an array of superconducting quantum interference devices, or SQUIDs, not only reproduces physics similar to that of a radiating black hole, but does so in a system where the high energy and quantum mechanical properties are well understood and can be directly controlled in the laboratory. The paper states, “Thus, in principle, this setup enables the exploration of analogue quantum gravitational effects.”

“We can also manipulate the strength of the applied magnetic field so that the SQUID array can be used to probe black hole radiation beyond what was considered by Hawking,” said Miles Blencowe, an author on the paper and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth.

Creating a black hole would allow researchers to better understand what physicist Stephen Hawking proposed more than 35 years ago: black holes are not totally void of activity; they emit photons, which is now known as Hawking radiation.

“Hawking famously showed that black holes radiate energy according to a thermal spectrum,” said co-author Paul Nation. “His calculations relied on assumptions about the physics of ultra-high energies and quantum gravity. Because we can’t yet take measurements from real black holes, we need a way to recreate this phenomenon in the lab in order to study it, to validate it.”

This is not the first proposed imitation black hole, Nation said. Other proposed schemes to create a black hole include using supersonic fluid flows, ultracold bose-einstein condensates and nonlinear fiber optic cables. However, these ideas wouldn’t work as well to study Hawking radiation because the radiation in these methods is incredibly weak or otherwise masked by commonplace radiation due to unavoidable heating of the device, making it very difficult to detect. “In addition to being able to study analogue quantum gravity effects, the new, SQUID-based proposal may be a more straightforward method to detect the Hawking radiation,” said Blencowe.

Source: Dartmouth U

38 Replies to “If You Don’t Have an LHC, Here’s How to Create Your Own Black Hole”

  1. One of my co-workers mentioned that he has his own black hole located in his laundry dryer. Four socks go in, three come out. He also mentioned that the dryer lint also occasionally comes from another alternate reality (the fuzz in the lint bin is occasionally pink, and he doesn’t have any clothing that would make pink lint).

    Do you think he could get funding for some research into this?


  2. The research has already determined that this is not a black hole. It is, in fact, the hosezone.

  3. If a black hole would tear a person or thing apart, even a small one, why in the world do scientist want to try to make one? Are they crazy? I think before they make a “Black Hole” and other experiments that could turn dangerous, they should ask the rest of Humanity if they should or not. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  4. If a black hole would tear a person or thing apart, even a small one, why in the world do conspiracy theorists want to believe that scientists would try to make one? Are they crazy? I think before they make ludicrous comments (on a “Black Hole” and other experiments) that could turn dangerous for science as well as society at large, they should ask the rest of Humanity if they should or not. Just because you can make a comment, doesn’t mean you should.


    Besides the nutty social ‘ideas’ of a conspiracy theorist on how scientists differ from other family people, there’s the physics.

    As we all know, or should know, the probability that a “quantum-sized black hole” would swallow even a fundamental particle is smaller than the lifetime of the universe or so. (It’s so small a probability that I haven’t even tried to remember the magnitude.) And IIRC that still doesn’t make it grow faster than it evaporates.

    [I seem to remember theories that Earth meets such evaporating black holes on a regular period, being remnants of big bang and all. Funny that the same people that berates physicists for non-existent risks doesn’t speak up against nature then… Oh, I forgot, it’s _people_ that make up conspiracies, never the dangers of actual reality.]

    And these things aren’t even de facto black holes, just convenient models for studying them.

  5. SandyAbernathy, you appear to be crazy, as by your comments.

    The rest of humanity would not even know of the existence of such a possible phenomenon like a “black hole” if it where not for these “scientists”.

    Also you should read Torbjorn Larsson OM post above.
    Excellent comments Torbjorn Larsson OM.

  6. This does not produce a real black hole. This is a sequence of SQUIDs, which could work with Josephson junctions as well, which emulate the physics of black holes. A linear array of these sets up an impedence which has horizon type of properties. As the article points out there have been similar proposals for optical fiber analogues as well.

    A SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Interference Device) is a supercold quantum Hall detector able to measure quanta of magnetic field flux.

    I mention Josephson junctions because I just worked out how one could construct general spin structures for the Weyl tensor and other field tensors (such as for Yang-Mills theory, with a network of Josephson junctions. This would also model black holes according to the eigen-vectors of the Weyl curvature for type D solutions, such as black holes.

    So there are no concerns about black holes popping out of a lab to devour us, or your granny before being killed by Obama’s “death panel” —- another conspiracy theory. A part of the problem is with science education I think. Before getting on here I was on the MSN page and did this little “Mars quiz.” An answer to one question included the phrase “scientists believe …” and I had to wince. Scientist don’t believe! Scientists conjecture or hypothesize something about nature and then go about testing it.

    Anyway not to worry, no black hole to eat New York or grey aliens to abduct us to their mother ship! To get the big cahouna here to to



  7. Thanks go out to Torbjorn Larsson OM & Lawrence B. Crowell (esp. the link to the paper) for expanding on and explaining what this specific proposal is about and the ‘hazards’ it presents for lay readers who may not understand what is being proposed. Many other sites reporting on this story have elicited reactions similar to that of SandyAbernathy, albeit with no credible or accurate response to the experiment proposed or its perceived repercussions. While technical barriers need to be overcome to perform the proposed experiment, the payoffs could be huge in refining our knowledge of physics in general and black holes specifically (w/o the danger of world annihilation).

  8. yes – let them make those black holes and do their research – before I lose any more socks!
    Black hole type phenomena have also been observed (by both myself and other members of various newsgroups/e-mail lists I have been active on) in relation to wire coat hangers and pens – there seem to be black holes which swallow up and/or spit out those items – and in some kind of pattern/proportion that results in this equationrule – the number of wire coat hangers/pens/odd socks/etc that can be found in a location near one of these black holes is inversely proportional to the need one has for said item.
    I also seem to have a black hole in my sewing room (although I think it, or another one, may also sometimes be active in other areas of the house too) – and it seems to swallow things up and then spit them out again when I am no longer looking for them (usually when I have given up trying to find them, and used something else instead).
    btw – I have even made a (small 😉 quilt with a black hole on it – the photo is on my blog ( in this post – http://aykayem.blogspot.com/2009/01/other-4-journal-quilts.html )

  9. I can understand why some less science-minded
    people get alarmed. I think it would be helpful if the mainstream media included simple disclaimers such as.. ‘although Black Holes are thought to be one of the most powerful forces in nature, the experiments being proposed are so miniscule in terms of force and microscopically small that things could never get out of hand so to speak..’

    However, one experiment being carried out by scientists which I think does merit some genuine concern is the US Government’s National Ignition Facility which …

    “In 2010, NIF will begin experiments that will focus the energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel…”

    Basically, from what I gather that BB-sized target will be hotter than the inside of our sun, although only for a tiny fraction of a second..

    I am all for fusion research but from what I gathered reading documents online was the failsafe for this experiment is that they have calculated the reaction will self-extinguish from such high temperatures. From what I can see there is a chamber of concrete housing the experiment several meters thick which is encouraging but there are very few details available on how the scientists estimated the risk and possible consequences of the experiment and why they think a few feet of concrete is sufficient amelioration of danger…

    I am just hoping that there aren’t delays which force this ‘deathstar’ to delay its first ignition firing until 2012 😉


  10. I don’t think the NIF is anything to worry about. It is not going to blow the world up or anything like that. It will not generate black holes or anything of that sort.

    The NIF was built to run experiments and tests on material at exceedingly high temperatures. One of the main missions is to examine the physics of nuclear materials under the temperatures generated inside a nuclear explosive in its first millionth of a second. There are other fusion spin offs and the like.

    As rule with physics, concentrations of energy, high temperatures, huge energy densities and the like dissipate rapidly. For such energy production to remain or sustain themselves there has to exist additional fuel and pressure to sustain it. There must be thermodynamic conditions appropriate for this, where some homestasis of internal energy, temperature, pressure, chemical potential and so forth permit some island of stability. Configurations like stars are examples of such. A high energy and temperature event at the NIF will be a transient process.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  11. You can create your “black hole”quite easily.Just visit your bathroom and unload.: )

  12. Well, since so-called ‘black holes” have never been observed & measured, and by their definition can’t be, I’m not worried about any “black holes” being created in the laboratory.

    Of course, the failure to produce “black holes” in the laboratory will be hailed a great success, just like the failure to detect so-called “gravitational waves” has been called a great success.

    When in reality it is just failure, plain and simple.

    So-called “black holes” are fanciful figments of imagination in a “community” that has run out of ideas which correctly explain reality.

  13. The black hole is a solution of the Einstein field equation. It is something which satsfies the differential equations of gravity. In electromagnetism much the same happens. EM physics are solutions to the Maxwell equations.


  14. “The black hole is a solution of the Einstein field equation.”

    No, actually it does not. That is why Einstein never subscribed to “black holes”

    The actual Schwardchid solution ruled out “black holes”.

    A bastardized solution that was fraudulent did solve the field equations.

    But you know what?

    In mathematics, you can make any solution work.

    And Einstein’s field equations are one big ‘thought experiment’ that uses make believe terms like pseudo-tensor.

    It does not relate to ANY physical process, but was simply made up out of whole cloth.

    Any hypothesis that relies on make believe concepts like “pseudo-tensor” that are simply fudge factors abitrarily assigned a value has no place in serious science…

    …but you know what? That is exactly what Einstein did.

    So-called “black holes” are nothing but a fairy tale told to keep the money coming in.

    There is no money left for fairy tales.

  15. @Anaconda: Actually, you would be incorrect. Einstein never personally subscribed to the idea of black holes, but his equations for general relativity have been proven to be very accurate in every experiment that has tested the theory. And black holes are a predicted outcome of GR with a mass sufficiently dense enough. Two things are known: if GR is correct, then black holes can certainly exist given the right conditions. And also, observational evidence points to there being a lot of places in the Universe where the conditions are ripe for black hole formation.

    One more minor nitpick: mathematics certainly cannot be used to “prove everything”. If the math does not add up for a given proposed scenario, then it is impossible for that scenario to happen anywhere in reality. This is why GR has held up for so long as a valid scientific theory when alternatives have been discarded; for any other possible explanation given so far about how the large-scale Universe works, the math doesn’t add up. It does for GR.

  16. I second Finton’s remarks. Black holes are a Petrov type D solution, with two eigenvectors of the Weyl curvature tensor.

    It is clear Anaconda does not know what a pseudotensor is.


  17. @ Anaconda
    How really stupid do you think everyone is here?
    Just again the usual mumbo-jumbo anti-science claptrap – and you know it.
    Real liars and fraudsters are so easy to pick up. They squeal out loud when the think they the know something, then run away when their obvious stupidity and flaws are completely exposed. Then they have the audacity to pretend it wasn’t true and continue on with the diatribe and claptrap again, and again and again.

    Really in the end you know absolutely nothing.

    Game’s up jackass!!

  18. I keep coming back to the question of why he (A) does this.

    I mean, he is appallingly ignorant wrt the topic – either specific (black holes) or general (physics) – has admitted that he is, and yet continues to rant!

    Is it all a part of the EU cult’s propaganda campaign perhaps?

  19. Well, since so-called ‘black holes” have been observed & measured, and by their definition can be, I’m not worried about any “black holes” being created in the laboratory.
    Of course, the success to produce “black holes” in the laboratory will be hailed a great failure, just like the success experiments to detect so-called “gravitational waves” has been called a great failure.
    When in reality it is just success, plain and simple.
    So-called “Anaconda insights” are fanciful figments of imagination in a “vacuum” that plenty of ideas which do correctly explain reality.

    Such is the nature of a delusional mind.

    Really in the end Anaconda knows absolutely nothing.


    Why did I expect esactly that? I should start a career as an astrologer with my gift of foresight!

    Anaconda, you have admitted that you have no grasps of mathematics and yet YOU want to judge what Einstein did and did not is correct or not? O RLY?

    Ever wondered why the “Schwarzschild solution” is called a solution? Because it solves! (To say what it solves would lead to nowhere, Anaconda wouldn’t know what I say – and other already said it…)

  21. If mathematics were the language science,
    then really Anaconda has the intellectual capability of a protozoa.

    It is his own deluded mind that holds fanciful figments of imagination, NOT the science itself. Pragmatism – an approach that assesses the truth of meaning of theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application – is clearly not his strong suit. Really to make such wrong and wild attention-grabbing sweeping statements against mathematics and science (minus any real proof) shows the reality of his sad diagnosable psychotic personality flaws.
    In the end, this Anaconda chap is the true representative of prima donna – a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance. Sadly he has neither!
    Such is the true nature of the jackass!

  22. @Anaconda

    Suggest you very carefully read; “Orbital Parameters for the Black Hole Binary XTE J1650-5001 “; J.A. Orosz, et.al.


    No GR needed here, just standard eclipsing binary theory/ observations.* So where is it wrong?? Alternatives?

    * Others, collaborations for methods, are; GRS 1124-683 and V616 Mon (A0620-00)

  23. Reminds me of Wolfgang Pauli’s 1930 postulate of a mysterious particle he dubbed the ‘neutrino’ and the 26 year search for this particle was finally achieved by Cowan et. al. for which they won the 1955 Nobel Prize in physics. For 25 years, this theory was in limbo. My point being that it is way too early to dismiss these ideas out of hand due to the short amount of time that these phenomenon have been searched for and the various experiments that have been devised to look for them. Absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence.

  24. To continue Jon Hanford’s post a little bit:

    It is also interesting why the neutrino is such an important particle:
    During a beta-decay a neutron changes into a proton and releases an electron. Since the energies of the particles are clear, one should expect a relatively narrow peak of the electron-energies. But physicists observed a broad continious distribution of the electron-energy. That was a clear contradiction to the law of conservation of energy.
    Some physicists went so far to almost accept that the beta-decay should break this important law.
    The neutrino finally “saved” the law of conservation of energy – and physics was saved, too!

    So, yes, detection of particles or phenomena (like GW) can be a very tough task. And most (if not all) detectors of GW are below the threshold to detect anything at all, today. We’ll be ready in some years, but I don’t want to speculate how much time it will need!

  25. Thanks, Dr. Flimmer, for that addendum to my previous post. Perhaps this will elucidate the importance of the neutrino wrt to modern particle astrophysics. Always glad to get input from a theoretical astrophysicist (especially one with a deep interest of mine: blazars, BL Lacs, OVVs and the like 🙂 ).

  26. @ Salacious B Crumb, I’m grateful to you for that link to the binary BH XTE J1650-5001 . This article shows up some serious flaws in Anaconda’s ‘logic’ and ‘reasoning’ concerning these celestial rarities. Again, thanks for bringing these glaring errors to light and backing up these claims with current solid, peer-reviewed. published, papers. Similar PRPP seem to be lacking or not forthcoming from the EU/EC/PU/PC community !

  27. @ Anaconda

    Another suggested reference for you to read which will instantly discard your notions and your somewhat inaccurate statement;

    Well, since so-called ‘black holes” have never been observed & measured,…

    Foellmi, Cedric “What is the closest black hole to the Sun? ” 16 Apr 2009


    This might just give you the true perspective about the troubles faced in their determinations! (Note several examples here have nothing to do with GM at all!) Doedn’t sound like someone with a bias view as you claim.

    So where is this wrong?? Direct us to some a alternatives that might support your accusations?

  28. The closest BH identified is 1Kpc, or 32600 ly, away. I hold this distant hope that a single “rogue” black hole passes within .1Ly of our solar system in the next century. Maybe a probe could be sent to make close measurements.

    The written objection to black holes is that the event horizon is a barrier to observation. We are not able to observe deeper than the radius r = 2GM/c^2. All we can do is observe the physical effects of the extreme gravity or tidal forces associated with a black hole. We might be capable of doing particle physics which produces quantum black holes. There particle amplitudes or channels will exhibit entanglement physics between exterior and interior states. Some data from RHIC suggests small amplitudes for black holes, called fire balls, as seen in the paper “AdS-CFT and the RHIC fireball,” Horatiu Nastase,


    So there are indirect ways in which we can detect black holes, certaintly astrophysically and some indication they may play a quantum role in particle physics.

    It is like evolution in a way. We can’t observe the huge evolutionary history Earth. There are no time machines, and we can only observe in our short time frames small incremental evolutionary processes. Creationsists object that scientists can’t produce direct evidence, and they will persist in that. Objections to black holes have a similar quality to them.


  29. You people get some strange people on your websites like Anaconda here and Mega Christ over here it is so humerous to see you all argue.

  30. I said it before, and I’ll say it again.

    Anaconda squeals out loud when he thinks he knows something, then he runs away when his obvious flaws in his argument are completely exposed. Then he’ll have the audacity to pretend it all wasn’t true and continue on with the diatribe and claptrap again, and again and again. So really in the end he know absolutely nothing.

    You might have noticed again that he had disappeared as quickly as his outburst arrived. True to form, when the going gets tough he’s out of here.

    So true to form, he just again shows the exact same learnt patterns of formulated behaviour. Yet he still wants to be treated as an intellectual equal.

    Evidence therefore shows that he should be totally ignored or just promptly put in his place. Why bother to engage with someone who is eager to push an unfounded agenda on some radical personal theory which has little to do with reality?

    In the end, I find the continuing sick joke is no longer funny!

  31. You might have noticed again that he had disappeared as quickly as his outburst arrived.

    So, actually, he is a Gamma Ray Burst?

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