The Large Hadron Collider slated to be fired up in September isn't likely to accidentally generate any Earth-devouring black holes. That's according two new reports, including a safety review by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The world's most powerful particle accelerator may crank out black holes, but they'll be so tiny and vanish so quickly that we shouldn't worry. I wonder if these reports will appease those who filed a lawsuit against CERN fearing that the machine might suck Earth into a parallel universe. From Science News:
…It is possible that the LHC, according to one theory, could be a veritable factory of mini-black holes – no larger than a thousandth of the diameter of a proton.
That theory proposes that gravity is weak, compared to the other forces in nature, because some of it leaks out into other, hidden dimensions folded up into sizes as small as 10-17 centimeters, a tiny fraction of the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
At the high energies and small scales probed by the LHC, gravity would become much stronger than it is in ordinary three-dimensional space. Gravity could then cram enough matter together to form microscopic black holes as often as once a second.
However, such black holes, according to research first reported by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s, ought to rapidly radiate away their energy and evaporate in an instant, before doing any harm.