Talk:Large Hadron Collider/Archive 5

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←Archive 4 (January–April 2008) Archive of Talk:Large Hadron Collider Archive 5 (April–June 2008) Please do not modify Archive 6 (June–August 2008)→


Supportable Risk Calculation[edit]

In dicussions of risk it is important to separate risk from danger, this doesn't seem to be being done here. E.g. walking a wire inches above some mud is high risk and low danger. Walking a wide plank across an abyss is low risk and high danger.--86.142.37.107 (talk) 14:18, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


Are CERN’s calculations of no risk from MBH (Micro Black Holes) supportable and accurate? Has CERN published any scientifically supportable risk analysis other than the article titled: Microscopic black holes will not eat you… published at http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/LHC/Safety-en.html?

My research [of existing published sources] indicates a risk of up to 10% of a single MBH being captured by Earth’s gravity per month of LHC operation. Supporting assumptions and estimates: CERN states that microscopic black holes might be created at a rate of one per second. Assuming that that CERN’s prediction is correct, [experimental physicist Greg Landsberg at Brown University in Providence, R.I.] Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience estimated in 2004 that 10 million microscopic black holes could be created by LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in a year and 1 in a million would be captured by Earth’s gravity if Hawking Radiation fails to cause the MBHs to evaporate. James Blodgett published survey results from 15 physicists estimating odds between 0% and 50% that Hawking Radiation would fail, with an average estimate of 9.9% for failure . However [Greg Landsberg] Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience also estimated that a single stable microscopic black hole would grow so slowly that it would not be a threat to Earth, though other physicists estimate much faster growth patterns. (updated links) --Jtankers (talk) 18:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
...We discus this over and over again. Those sites are not reliable source of information!116.240.137.216 (talk) 02:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Please cite compelling scientifically verifiable sources that attest to the assured safety of LHC operation with respect to MBH evaporation. My research [of existing published sources] suggests that none exists. Please also cite processes that will allow LHC to detect stable MBH creation without attributing the resulting matter detection deficit to alternate phenomena, so that LHC operation might be halted if stable MBHs are created. --Jtankers (talk) 15:54, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I think you and many editors mistake Wikipedia or more precisly this talk page as a forum for addressing your concerns, or trying to prove or disprove them. Frankly it's irrelevant, now as I have written ad nauseum, some of these fears have gained media attention, the article addresses this. One 'scientist' had fears published regarding the RHIC, the articles notes this. Anything else is irrelevant to this article, until they meet wikipedia's verfiability, reliably sourced and the whole plethora of guidelines I and others have mentioned previously. This article or it's contributors are in no position to assuage your concerns regarding MBH's, Stranglets, the third secret of fatima, or anything else that maybe keeping editors up at night. It is not here to examine the issue and draw conclusions. The article is not here as a platform to make readers aware of anyones personal fears, again I repeat until they become notable or published. You started your second paragraph with my research indicates, when this is published I will be the first in the queue and add the information. Until that time I would read this page and there is an e-mail address at the bottom. I'm sure there you will find people/scientists that will be able to analyse your research and it's findings at the level you so require. Khukri 23:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
The main article is widely referenced in the media as verification of the safety of LHC. However there is a lack of compelling scientifically verifiable sources assuring this safety with respect to MBH evaporation. (Unfortunately my research is only of existing published sources, I updated the post above in brackets.) --Jtankers (talk) 02:06, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
If there is an published article that refers to here stating that MBH's are safe, then it is incorrect (as I have previously stated this article is not for drawing conclusions) and is the fault of the publication for not being well researched. The article cannot state there is a problem until someone notable in a verifiable source states there is a problem or concern with MBH's. From the opposite position the article cannot state they are safe until CERN or another scientific body refutes the arguments raised again as a verifiable source. As there (as far as I am aware) is not any reliably sourced information on either side of the argument then neither point should be included. I'm surprised the media is using it as a verification of safety as the paragraph on MBH's and the section about it devouring the earth should be either re-written or referenced, as to me it is sensationally worded and unreferenced. Unless references can be found I will most probably have to remove it.
Can you link a few of these articles on the talk page, I would be interested from a Wikipedia point of view how the media have drawn conclusions. Thanks Khukri 08:06, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
The main article is widely referenced and respected in the blogosphere by both those who support or dismiss the safety issue. The main article is probably as balanced as possible given the lack of compelling scientifically verifiable sources assuring this safety or not with respect to MBH evaporation. To not present the basic arguments on both sides would suggest that this is a settled issue. The safety issue is arguably one of the most relevant issues related to the LHC as we approach the ‘go live’ date of May 2008. --Jtankers (talk) 13:41, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
This reminds me of the "teach the controversy" strategy in the intelligent design vs. evolution debate. In both cases, there is no controversy in the scientific community. The LHC article acknowledges that there are some concerns outside of the scientific community. Any more coverage of the dissenting "scientists" and non-experts would be an unbalanced coverage of the opposing side. If you could find a list of five scientists who oppose the LHC, then one could find a list of five thousand scientists who know it presents no harm to humanity. Khukri and others repeatedly make it clear that Wikipedia has strict standards for quality. I have the feeling that discussions like these belong more on user pages, but I hope that this extra visibility helps others who are new to the "controversy". PSimeon (talk) 15:28, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
We're talking about the possibility of exterminating millions of species, billions of lives and ending that great messy blob of potential that is intelligent life in this part of the universe, not about whether some schoolkids are going to grow up ignorant. What is the acceptable risk? As for things published... In Darwin's time you could find one person who accepted natural selection and ten thousand who disputed it, what does it matter? If *any* educated published physicist is actually worried about the LHC, he should be heard and refuted properly, over a sensible period of time corresponding to the seriousness of his claims being true. In this case, their claims being true would be incalculably catastrophic - but is anyone aware of ANY delay to this project caused by safety concerns? Construction started 13 years ago and has continued apace, with the only setbacks being due to funding and technical difficulties - and the safety reports are only coming out this year? Where's the time for rebuttal? craigTheBrit (talk) 23:00, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Professor Dr. Otto E. Rössler warns that the scientific community claims the success of the experiment may result in the black hole destroying the planet within 50 million years. His own calculations indicate that this time frame may in fact be closer to 50 months ... German interview and translation to English. (links updated) --Jtankers (talk) 18:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Two of Professor Dr. Otto E. Rössler’s papers have been published on the web (one after the other in the same PDF) for peer review. The first suggests a mechanism for non-linearity in mini black hole accretion. This disputes the idea that it will take a very long time for a mini black hole to accrete the earth. Some of Professor Rössler’s calculations about the growth of black holes in the earth will be published in the journal "Chaos, Solutions and Fractals". Interview in German of Prof. Rössler by P.M. (a large German publication) on youtube: (links updated) --Jtankers (talk) 18:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Adding to the voices of well known physicists addressing the issue -- Michio Kaku refutes earth destroying black holes from LHC
Professor Dr. Otto E. Rössler’s theory is that when a MBH accretes a charged particle, say electron, this will not go straight into the MBH, but will circulate around the MBH for a while, and by doing this, a magnetic field will be created which will attract positive and negative charged particles, each at the opposite poles of the MBH, thus accelerating the accretion rate. (Reposted comment) --Jtankers (talk) 18:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Just for the record I wrote this explanation on the lhcfacts.org site. Since it appears to become cited often, I claim the paternity of this statement:). The IP can be verified.--LF1975 (talk) 09:53, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I updated the post on LHCFacts.org to attribute the post to LF1975. Thank you for the outstanding contribution! --Jtankers (talk) 10:17, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I have some good news. According to lhcountdown.com the first collision will take place in 20 days at 00:00 hours. So the spatial plane of the LHC will be tangential to the earth orbit around the sun. If my other proposal I made here will be taken by CERN, or if by sheer luck the energy of the beams will be very slightly imbalanced, the collision products will have sufficient speed to leave the solar system. Lets hope we will all wake up in the same world on the morning of 8'th of July. --LF1975 (talk) 10:06, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposing a Protest and Action Section[edit]

I think that a protest and action section is needed and justified, if it's only a few people how do you explain the myspace group STOP CERN having over 1,200 friends, and the myriad of websites discussing this issue, I think the safety concerns section is not enough, people need to know there are people doing what they can to stop this.

And how does that meet notable? If they 1200 physicists with experience in these issues then certainly it is notable, have they received exposure in the main stream press? The fact that there is 1200 people grouped on myspace is not in iself notable, I've seen one group with 750,000 people titled "If I get 100,000 members my wife will let me name my child Spiderpig". Khukri 08:05, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Exactly. Myspace should not be considered a credible source for anything, ever. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.76.142.137 (talk) 16:31, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
The safety concerns section is MORE than enough, if we had to cover every crackpot theory on wikipeida then every article would need an action section, for example, should "The intellegent falling support society" be included in gravity —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.35.192.193 (talk) 03:59, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Oppose: Again, an amazing number of folks, on the order of 10% of the population, consider it at least somewhat credible that the Apollo moon landings were faked. That means millions of people! But that still does not make it notable for a factual historic and scientific encyclopedic article about the Apollo program. There is an article on the hoax allegations, with a "See also" link from the Apollo article.
A good article on the LHC safety issues, delineating the uncertainties, written by truly knowledgeable people, and based on reliable external sources, would be interesting and likely useful, and I would support a link to it, assuming it met Wiki standards. It would inevitably be highly technical, and very difficult for non-expert readers to assess. I wish I knew enough to write such an article myself, but I do not. I understand [1] that officials at CERN, in talking to the media, have been instructed “not to say that the probability is very small but that the probability is zero” — which I do think is an obvious falsehood and really deplorable; though I can appreciate CERN's visceral urge to round "truly negligible" down to something simpler, for those millions to understand.
BTW, should not this section (and others with late dates) be moved down to the end of the page? I will wait a while and do it if no one objects, as that is the standard for talk pages, and otherwise it is liable to be missed. Wwheaton (talk) 15:50, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Ooops, I just realized that the original post must have been before March 12, and therefore in place. For some reason it is not dated. My mistake. Wwheaton (talk) 15:53, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Legal Petition Filed with USDC HAWAII[edit]

A copy of submitted complaint and affidavits, in Word for Windows format, was emailed to me personally by Walter L. Wagner, co-petitioner on 2008/03/22. I uploaded a copy to: http://www.lhcconcerns.com/LHCConcerns/Forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=29 . LUIS SANCHO, et al., Plaintiffs

The main article will need links to official copies of the complaint when available (citation assistance needed). Allegations alleged in the complaint and affidavits include the following main facts in quotes, many of which may be out of context and/or text replaced with an ellipsis […] for brevity sake:

"injunction [...] from operating the LHC until [...] proven to be reasonably safe" "No absolute refutation of the adverse scenarios that have been described has yet been articulated” “suggested by defendants that the ‘risk’ of the adverse scenarios is small.” “fundamental flaws were existent in those “safety reviews” and pointed out to defendants by plaintiffs.” “current safety review is known as the LHC Safety Assessment Group [LSAG] Safety Review.” “initially scheduled for completion by January 1, 2008 […] not yet been released […] as promised” “CERN's Chief Scientific Officer, Jos Engelen, was recently quoted in The New Yorker as instructing CERN scientists not to say that the risk from colliders is low, but to say that the risk is zero” “the real risk of these proposed experiments can be as high as 75%” ” Chief Scientific Officer, Mr. Engelen passed an internal memorandum to workers at CERN, asking them, regardless of personal opinion, to affirm in all interviews that there were no risks involved in the experiments, changing the previous assertion of ‘minimal risk’. ” “2 out of 3 absurd articles received by this magazine [for publication] try to prove Einstein wrong, […] they actually only prove their ignorance of Classic Relativity.” “LHC […] producing miniature black holes at the rate of 1 per second” “Director of CERN said that “the LHC will be the closest we will ever be to God”” “experiments that would take place at the LHC could be carried out by advanced Telescopes” “potentially deadly particles might be produced […] Dr. Frank Wilczek […] Nobel Prize in physics“ “letter to Dr. Wagner jointly signed by CERN’s Director General [Dr. Aymar] and Chief Scientific Officer [Dr. Engelen], CERN “mandated a group of experts, not themselves members of the LHC experimental collaborations, to assess safety aspects of LHC operation. This group is mandated to provide by the end of this year [2007] a written report, which will be made available to the scientific community and to the general public through the CERN web pages." It is to be noted that it is this LSAG Report which is currently overdue.“ ” believe that CERN is planning to commence operation of the LHC in April or May, 2008 “ ““go for launch” decision of spaceship Challenger involved placing the lives of only 7 people at risk, whereas the “go for launch” decision for the LHC located on spaceship Earth involves placing the lives of some 7 Billion people at risk, as well as all of our future descendants not yet born.” “reliance on a “cosmic ray argument” that CERN LHC collisions should be safe. […]They reasoned that if any disastrous particle could be created, it would already have been created eons ago by nature […] overlooked during their previous safety assessment […] novel particle such as a micro black hole […] simply pass harmlessly through our planet […] Conversely, any such novel particle that might be created at the LHC […] would then be captured by earth’s gravity, and could possibly grow larger [accrete matter] […] we have ZERO information on what such cross-section for capture actually is.” “Alternative scientific methods that pose no risk exist for obtaining some of the information being sought by the LHC” “upwards of 90% of our galaxy. All available information, however, shows that Dark Matter indeed feeds upon “ordinary” matter […] Creation of such Dark Matter on Earth would then be seen to be foolhardy, at best.” “Hawking Radiation is not only un-proven, it is directly contrary to established theory of Einstein’s Relativity by which black holes never evaporate, and are forever black”

I invite someone else to summarize the purpose of the complaint, basically: "to compel promised proof of safety, and [at least four months for transparent, independent] expert review of the same [prior to operation]" --Jtankers (talk) 01:52, 25 March 2008 (UTC)


Now this is becoming notable. Not being an expert on the American legal system how do you track this injunction/petition, if it is accepted or thrown out etc; is there a us.gov wesbite that shows these actions in progress etc? At the moment it is just a word document on a website, has this been put before the court and given a docket(?) number. The initial complaint is dated 14th March what has happened since then, Jtankers you are the man in the know could you please find out it's current status please? Looks like we are a little bit behind on this one.
At the end of the first paragraph in safety concerns I suggest adding
On <date> a petition was put before the US District Court of Hawaii, requesting an injunction of 4 months to review the LHC's safety documentation and a permanent injunction until the LHC can be demonstrated to be reasonably safe within industry standards. It's current status is .......
Khukri 07:53, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Posted with petition date of March <date>, 2008. I have requested date verification, docket number and and us.gov website. --Jtankers (talk) 10:01, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Jtankers, I just quickly reverted your changes until we can be sure that this has been put before the court (sorry), we could be adding completly false information here. The intention is clear but can you find something to show that the restraining order has put before the court please?
Here is the latest text I was editing before I thought this might not be correct.
On March 21, 2008 a petition requesting an injunction against the LHC's startup was put before the US District Court of Hawaii by a group of concerned individuals. This group including Walter L. Wagner who notably failed to have an injunction brought against the RHIC for similar concerns. See: RHIC - Fears among the public
The current restraining order[1] is a demand for an injunction of 4 months to review the LHC's safety documentation and a permanent injunction until the LHC can be demonstrated to be reasonably safe within industry standards. It's current status is pending.[citation needed]
Modify the above as you see fit and when we know it's legit we can add it straight in. Khukri 10:38, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I received an email moments ago directly from co-plaintif Walter L. Wagner: Correct: March 21, 2008; Case No. 08-00136HG; before the honorable Helen Gillmor, US District Court Judge. --Jtankers (talk) 18:24, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
OK added, but we still need another source for it if possible. Is there anywhere we can see this? I had a look here but can't find anything. Is pending the correct term, any ideas? Khukri 18:34, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm assuming good faith here, can we get some verifiable 3rd party source on this quite soon please? I'm scouring the news and can't find anything, and something like this would surely make the papers. Khukri 10:49, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Plaintif Luis Sancho, PO Box 411 Honomu, HI 96728, 808-964-5535 may be able to provide additional sources. --Jtankers (talk) 12:35, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
If you are not willing to provide 3rd party sources then I will have to remove it, because at the moment it's hearsay and documents on a POV website. I think I've been pretty willing to assume good faith here, but the onus isn't on me to provide sources (though I have tried to find them anyway). Khukri 12:42, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I provided submission date and Docket Number, name, address and phone number of the primary plaintiff, the Court and Judges name, and copies of the complaint, and I attest to personal verification from co-plaintiff Walter L. Wagner. I don't know how long it takes for submitted petitions to become available on-line. What is wikipedia's requirement for submission? --Jtankers (talk) 12:58, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
and therein lies the problem, you have provided the information. How can we demonstrate to the passing reader that this is verifiable information, I believe you, hence the reason I put it up in the first place but that isn't enough. We can't put in the article <ref>as per email to James Tankersley Jr</ref>, we need something verifiable. As I said above I don't know the American legal system, can we find someone on that side of the Atlantic that does know ,and can show us how to get this info because in my mind it must be in the public domain. Khukri 13:07, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I will contact plaintiffs and request the same. --Jtankers (talk) 13:16, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Elaborating on what Khukri said above, a newspaper or magazine article on the litigation would be an excellent third-party source. --Kralizec! (talk) 13:55, 26 March 2008 (UTC)


Removed it back here until we can get 3rd party source, but who ever is in the know on this side of the argument, please don't hang around as it is certainly notable in this whole debate and should be included once verified. Khukri 08:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

On March 21, 2008 a complaint requesting an injunction against the LHC's startup was filed before the US District Court of Hawaii by a group of concerned individuals. This group includes Walter L. Wagner who notably was unable to obtain an injunction against the much lower energy RHIC for similar concerns. See: RHIC - Fears among the public
The current restraining order[2] is a demand for an injunction of 4 months to review the LHC's most recent safety documentation, after it has been issued, and a permanent injunction until the LHC can be demonstrated to be reasonably safe within industry standards. Its current status is pending.[citation needed]
At the risk of dragging this into legal talk, what are they expecting a court in Hawaii to do about a collider on the Swiss-French boarder? Isn't this more of a push for media attention than an actual attempt to use legal mechanisms to prevent turn on?
CaptinJohn (talk) 09:30, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Courts were closed [2008/03/26] for Prince Kuhio Day [Hawaiian Holiday], will follow up today (clerk of courts: 808-541-1300, case no. 08-00136HG). --Jtankers (talk) 12:26, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Confirmation of legal action: http://dockets.justia.com/browse/state-hawaii/court-hidce/ and http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-hidce/case_no-1:2008cv00136/case_id-78717/ --Jtankers (talk) 12:52, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Sancho v. U.S. Department of Energy et al HI GILLMOR Environmental Matters Environment: Review of Agency Action
Plaintiff: Luis Sancho, Walter L. Wagner Defendant: U.S. Department of Energy, Fermilab, Center For Nuclear Energy Research (CERN), National Science Foundation, Doe Entities 1-100 --Jtankers (talk) 13:00, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
That looks like a very good ref. I still have to ask: How will that court prevent the switch on? If they cant actually stop it being turned on then this is really just a publicity raising exercise. A good one perhaps but it should only get a line or two in the article as it is not really notable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by CaptinJohn (talkcontribs) 13:16, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Here isn't really a forum to be discussing these issues, if we could get a third party commentary on it that would be something worth adding. Though in my own mind I'm not sure the notability of the fact that they have the name of CERN wrong and completely misplaced the fact that it's in Europe from the title European Organisation for Nuclear Research. I thought the name of the defendant had to be exact or it can get thrown out on a technicality, but I'm not a lawyer.
Good work on the link Jtankers, thanks.Khukri 13:51, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

CERN is short for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, it's in french, the abbreviation is kept with it's actual leters, but to the rest of the english speaking world is goes by the former title more frequently, either or both are proper.

Oh by the way another article from MSNBC posted this here[2], this should be a pretty decent 3rd party source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ebenonce (talkcontribs) 00:57, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

In French it's "Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire", the naming section of the CERN article accurately explains the naming but it's never been Center For Nuclear Energy Research and it has always had the word Europe in it in both languages, which is conspicuous by its absence. I've already seen a number of comments around along the lines of, "if they can't get the name right what else can't they get right?", but I'm certainly not going to add them
I added the MSNBC link yesterday next to the docket reference, I saw it's on slashdot (but its more of a commentary) and a couple of other websites, I'll wait for some of the big newsites getting hold of it and add that as a better sources later on. The MSNBC site as too many scathing commentaries at the bottom, which isn't want we want as a reputable source. Khukri 07:09, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Maybe, just maybe it would be worth mentionning that the court does not have jurisdiction over CERN... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.167.9.16 (talk) 15:06, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually that's innacurate, and would be why it doesn't say that in the article, many of the parts (Magnets, ATLAS, Etc) are provided by Fermilab, which is US based, the lawsuit took that into consideration with their filing, the US also funds approximately 10 percent and has the largest delegation of scientists assigned, it's almost continent that it was filed in Hawaii.

This gives ample jurisdiction to an injunction.


legal action status[edit]

Anyone know what the status is with this action, I take it's been thrown out haven't heard a thing for over a month now? Khukri 12:26, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Trial in US Federal Court is scheduled to begin June 16, 2009.[3] (details in section: "Court Case?" below) --Jtankers (talk) 02:18, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Safety concerns: against (against the cosmic-ray argument)[edit]

Just to add to the confusion, I have (1) added a citation template to the sentence in the "Safety concerns" section, about LHC collision products being produced at low-speed and so being likely to be captured, whereas CR products would escape harmlessly; and then (2) added a sentence, "Yet again, countering this fear, is the argument that if such micro-black holes or stranglets were in fact dangerous, and were created by cosmic-ray interactions with the Earth, then they should also have been created in huge numbers in the Sun, stars, planets, and ISM, so that the Universe would be filled with them (many cosmologically red-shifted), and traveling at all speeds — in which case stars and planets (including the Earth) ought to be constantly capturing them and thus being devoured, with spectacular results — which are not observed", which also needs a reference, of course. Neither of these arguments should endure without a reliable external source, which I hope (in view of the attention this is receiving lately) someone more expert may be able to provide.

The logic for (2) is correct, I suppose the only danger would be if black holes do decay, just slower than we thought, or if strangelets have a lifetime of e.g. 0.1 seconds, so that in space, they vanish, whereas in the LHC, they accumulate the earth. I won't add that, but it is a counter argument. The main thing is, we have no idea what will happen with the LHC till we switch it on! Buckethed (talk) 17:22, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
No idea about strangelets, but I believe the rate of accretion onto a black hole, even one at the center of the Earth, should be severely limited by the Eddington Limit of astronomical fame. This, fortunately, does not involve exotic physics. My understanding (not to be trusted in itself, alas) is that nothing very noticeable would happen for a time long compared to other hazards, such as the life of the Sun, because the thing would grow extremely slowly at first, during its microscopic phase. Wwheaton (talk) 02:51, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Further questions for experts are, (1) is it correct that collisions at 7 TeV would all be essentially simple, pure quark-quark affairs, due to the extreme Lorentz contraction of the interacting hadrons, (2) should not such collisions produce black holes with a mass (and size) much much less than the Planck mass & correspondingly small gravitational capture cross-section, and (3), at electron Gamma-factors of 100,000 at 50 GeV in the lab (at SLAC), far exceeding those at LHC of ~7,000 (but in the CM at LHC), would not lepton-quark interactions already explored constrain these questions? Are references available about these issues that someone not expert in relativistic quantum field theory could understand? Thanks Wwheaton (talk) 23:47, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Someone seems again to have re-erased some additions made to the safety concerns section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.137.64.26 (talk) 17:33, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I moved some stuff to a seperate heading, do you mean that? Buckethed (talk) 17:22, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

My friend Oldnoah has misunderstood my statement above. I do not claim that cosmic rays originate outside our galaxy (though the ultra-high energy variety clearly do, as they cannot be confined by galactic magnetic fields). My claim is that if UHE CRs (which clearly do exist) do make long-lived microscopic BHs when they hit the Earth, then they will be hitting everything everywhere in our galaxy, the Sun, planets, etc, and have been been doing so since time immemorial. Thus, on the argument (also unsourced) I was seeking to balance, the Galaxy should be full of such micro BHs flying around. Assuming this process has gone on for a long time, they would have accumulated, and some would be moving slowly enough to have been captured by the Earth, the Sun, or other stars. The results should be quite obvious if this happens often, as there are lots of stars around. I do not really object in principle to my statement being removed, as it certainly needs sourcing, but if so I would like to see the argument before it likewise sourced or removed. I put the "fact" tag on both, by the way. I really hope the folks in the community who have studied the LHC safety issue can comment and provide such source material, if we give them a chance (a week?) before deleting. Thanks Wwheaton (talk) 03:12, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Bill:

Sorry, I did not know that was your post. However, it is still not correct, and I will delete it again for that reason primarily [as I always leave unsourced material alone if I recognize it to be correct]. If high-E cosmic rays produce micro black holes, they are travelling at 0.999999+ c relative to our galaxy, and create micro black holes that are also travelling at 0.999+c relative to our galaxy [I'll let you put in the correct number of 9s for each]. At that speed, they are believed to be essentially invisible to all matter [very neutrino like], and hence would never slow down. Only if they are created at slow speed and captured by a star or planetary body would they begin the slow process of accretion, which might take centuries to millenia to complete, as the accretion rate likely increases with increasing mass. Of course, all of this presupposes that Hawking Radiation is not real. In any event, the argument that there should be slow micro black holes created in nature does not appear to be valid. Even those moving well below c [if such could exist from doppler shifted from receding galaxies, etc.] would likely, if they struck earth [after having been pulled in by Earth's gravity] simply pass right on through.

I had taken your "doppler shift" comment to mean micro black holes created in the vicinity of the CMB emission source, which recession doppler-shifts photons from 2,700 K blackbody spectrum to about 2.7 K blackbody spectrum.

Regards, Oldnoah (talk) 23:47, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Oldnoah

OK, I see your point. We agree then, I guess, that there would be micro-black holes from ultra-high-energy cosmic ray interactions in the "modern" universe, say back till reionization, the end of the "cosmic dark age", when stars began making supernovas, sometime around z=7 or before? However, I agree that is probably not enough for a product BH to be captured, or significantly slowed to a speed where it would be likely to be captured. In the absence of Hawking radiation I would wonder about the mass spectrum of small primordial BHs formed earlier in the Big Bang, but I am not competent to go there tonight, nor probably anytime soon. Guess I better think some more. Thanks! Bill Wwheaton (talk) 03:42, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
For the cosmic ray argument - the universe is a big place, and cosmic rays are flying around everywhere. The majority of black holes will be at 0.9999c or so, however.... These cosmic rays will also collide head-on, or at different angles, creating a whole range of vary speed MBHs. These would be a LOT rarer than the relativistic ones - but still would be there. If a single one is enough to destroy earth, then it would have happened (the sun, at least, would have vanished by now).
Against the cosmic ray argument - even with the argument above, how about, if Hawking radiation does indeed exist, but is only 1/100 as powerful as we think?. The black holes may last 100 times as long, and therefore the MBHs made in space will vanish, whereas ones made in the LHC will be captured. Negating this argument is the fact that two cosmic rays could still collide inside the earth / sun, so by now the Sun, at least, should be gone still. By the way I don't recommend putting any of this into the main article :) Buckethed (talk) 18:13, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I am not an expert, but I believe that if the Hawking radiation exists at all, then there is little question about the rate and thus the lifetime, as the whole theory depends on BHs having a certain entropy and temperature, the latter related to the area of the event horizon (I believe T proportional to 1/M), and radiating at the corresponding thermal black body rate. If this is wrong, then there is probably a fatal error in the whole concept, and little reason to think they radiate at all—just my guess. Anyhow, I agree that unless there is more reliable information available from an external source, none of this belongs in the article. Wwheaton (talk) 00:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Hawking radiation has been proven to exist, in experiments with phonon creation in supersonic flow Bose condensates 20:14, 24 April 2008 (UTC - 8) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.87.1.255 (talk)
Too bad we do not have a citation for this amazing news :) .--LF1975 (talk) 13:11, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually there is evidence of exactly the opposite, [papers from MIT http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0012418v1] argue that a bosenova implosion would create a black hole of infinite density, and when one was created, and I am not aware of any environmental impact study related to the safety of creating such exotic matter, approximately half of the atoms simply could not be accounted for. Though several theories have been proposed, the MIT theory argues "“A black hole opens up at the center, …density fluctuations becomes infinite“", suggesting that the missing atoms would tend to indicate no Hawking Radiation. ref --Jtankers (talk) 10:13, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


[Correction] That tends to contradict evidence provided by the 1999 University of Colorado bosenova implosion which may have resulted in creation of a stable micro black hole, though the incident is still a mystery to science. From Supernova to Smoke Ring "Achieving a pure BEC in rubidium-85 required the cloud of atoms to be cooled to about 3 billionths of a degree above absolute zero, the lowest temperature ever achieved. Making the self-interaction mildly repulsive causes the condensate to swell up in a controlled manner, as predicted by theory. However, when the magnetic field is adjusted to make the interaction attractive, dramatic and very unexpected effects are observed. The condensate first shrinks as expected, but rather than gradually clumping together in a mass, there is instead a sudden explosion of atoms outward. This "explosion," which actually corresponds to a tiny amount of energy by normal standards, continues for a few thousandths of a second. Left behind is a small cold remnant condensate surrounded by the expanding gas of the explosion. About half the original atoms in the condensate seem to have vanished in that they are not seen in either the remnant or the expanding gas cloud. Since the phenomenon looks very much like a tiny supernova, or exploding star, Wieman's team dubbed it a "Bosenova." The most surprising thing about the Bosenova is that the fundamental physical process behind the explosion is still a mystery." --Jtankers (talk) 05:39, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
This really seems like an incredible explanation for the bosenova event, to me. To form a BH, it seems the atoms in the BEC should have to come within the event horizon of a BH of their total mass. Such an event horizon would be remarkably small, to put it mildly. But to force those atoms into such a small quantum box would take a terrific amount of energy, by the Uncertainty Principle, and where could that much energy come from, in a low-temperature system? Surely not from gravity?! Very puzzled. Wwheaton (talk) 18:29, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Never trust classical physics when dealing with limits (see Newtonian laws). At almost 0 Kelvin strange things may happen. That's very different from the conditions at the supermassive star cores. --LF1975 (talk) 08:35, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
To probe small distances, you need high energies, in consequence of the uncertainty principle. This is all about quantum mechanics and relativity, nothing classical. The microscopic physics, on a scale much smaller than an atom, should neither know nor care about the temperature, which has meaning only for a large ensemble. Thus I remain skeptical that the bosenova could have anything to do with a microscopic BH. Wwheaton (talk) 17:13, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
"Negating this argument is the fact that two cosmic rays could still collide inside the earth / sun, so by now the Sun, at least, should be gone still".
That might have been be true if our solar system would have been at the middle space-time distance on an space-time axis between two exploding supernovas, or aligned polar axes of the massive black holes from the centers of two galaxies (only they provide cosmic rays of sufficient energies). If there are such cases they would be impossible to detect by us, since the rays would travel millions of years to collide, it would take different millions of years to observe the two involved supernova explosions from the earth (in supernovas case), and other millions of years to (possibly) detect the collapse of a star due to the resulted black hole/s created close to it. And if that would happen a bit far from a star and close to a planet, the resulted black hole will "eat" the planet and keep the planet orbit around the star --LF1975 (talk) 06:37, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

The counter argument that cosmic ray impacts with Earth are not captured is missing, proposed similar to June 13 text:

A concern against this cosmic-ray argument is that micro black holes or strangelets that might be created by high-energy cosmic ray impacts with Earth's atmosphere would leave the planet at high speed, due to the laws of conservation of momentum at relativistic speeds.[4] --Jtankers (talk) 20:20, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Yet if BHs are created at all in 14 TeV collisions, the cross section must be much larger than the naive (Planck length)2 size where quantum mechanics and general relativity conflict (ie, around 10-66 cm2), which is in turn much larger than the size of the Schwarzschild radius (squared) for a 14 TeV BH (this would seem to require there are large dimensions that are non-compacted for gravity only of the fundamental forces). But if this were the case, such little BHs would interact strongly with the Earth via gravity, and one would not expect them to escape. Thus the long-term existence of the Earth (and even more of stars, white dwarfs, and neutron stars) seems to refute this scenario. Wwheaton (talk) 07:02, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
The argument of CERN regarding neutron stars can be debated in the view of Rössler's theory, since neutrons do not have an electric charge. Therefore a MBH inside a neutron star will accrete neutrons much slower that normal matter. Even when considering the density of a neutron star, we still have the quantic space where there is a minimum distance between two points, and nothing can exist between these two points. There might be mechanisms unknown so far which could delay the accretion rate of a MBH in a neutron star. And about normal stars, white dwarfs, gas clouds and other "normal matter" celestial bodies, well, the probability of head-on collision of high energy CR particles close to stars and dwarfs, so that to cause the disappearance of the star/dwarf, and the probability of this to happen at a time and place which would have allowed us to see this in the last 50 years or so, is mini-mini-mini-minute. But if we did not see it in the last 50 years, does not mean that it never happened.--LF1975 (talk) 12:56, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
That conclusion may be what LSAG will argue in the new Safety Report when released, I don't know, but currently all available references by LSAG agree with the opposition that results of cosmic ray impacts exit Earth at relativistic speeds. So to suppress the statement as written is not supported that I am aware of. We can discuss again when LSAG releases a final Safety report if it changes the earlier conclusions that all parities have agreed to, that cosmic ray impacts with Earth's atmosphere exit Earth at relativistic speeds. --Jtankers (talk) 10:35, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
What Jtankers says here is supported by the talks available from LSAG so far. There are much stronger arguments to be made, but Wikipedia will probably have to wait for the full report in order to have a definitive, reliable source on issues like this. -- SCZenz (talk) 11:17, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we cannot use the argument (ie, that a large production cross section for BH production in proton-proton collisions implies in turn a large interaction cross section for the product BH in BH-nuclear collisions -- which possibility is strongly negated by the cosmic-ray argument, especially the existence of neutron stars) in the article without reliable external support, but I still think it is correct, based on my own (limited) understanding of the physics. The two issues arise in different sections of the LSAG material I have looked at, so I think the failure to draw the connection there is not conclusive.
I also think the argument that BHs would be produced essentially at rest (which 11.2 km/s is, compared to c  -- less than 0.00004c ) is really not supported by a reliable published calculation, since 14 TeV proton-proton collisions will be essentially parton-parton interactions, and those components of the proton are moving independently  themselves at high speed.
In any case, I continue to oppose extensive discussion of these issues in the article, or on this talk page, as off-topic, and renew my call for a separate article on the matter. Wwheaton (talk) 20:08, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree. A seperate article should be created to deal with the safety issues. The "safety concerns" section is too long compared to the other sections. LHC safety section should consist of one or two paragraphs, no more. --Phenylalanine (talk) 20:29, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. The calls for a separate article are from those opposing additional safety review. The final safety report has not even been released yet and the issue goes to court Monday. The safety issue is reasonable, relevant, relatively concise and is at the bottom of the article, I don't see a problem. --Jtankers (talk) 00:02, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I do not "oppose additional safety review". I do think that the safety issue is essentially different from the scientific and technical discussion of the facility. The latter has to do with issues of fundamental physics and the enabling engineering and technology, while the safety question brings in also a wide range of philosophical, social, legal, political, and epistemological questions that demand what may fairly be called "value judgments", and as such has the potential to be endlessly extended and expanded without any real possibility of clear resolution or closure. The issues raised in the safety discussion are not without intrinsic interest and importance, and I would not be surprised (or upset) if a separate article on the subject were longer than the physics/technical article that should link to it. But at the moment this discussion page is about five times larger than the article, and 20+ of the 31 sections relate to the safety question. That I think is not "reasonable, relevant, or relatively concise", and I object to it. Wwheaton (talk) 04:14, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Yep, the discussion page needs to be archived at this point. Also, what name would you propose for the new article on safety issues?
Wikipedia:Summary style:

In shorter articles, if one subtopic has much more text than another subtopic, that may be an indication that that subtopic should have its own page, with only a summary presented on the main page.

WP:Undue weight:

NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification: Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and will generally not include tiny-minority views at all. For example, the article on the Earth does not mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, a view of a distinct minority.

We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. This applies not only to article text, but to images, external links, categories, and all other material as well.
Undue weight applies to more than just viewpoints. Just as giving undue weight to a viewpoint is not neutral, so is giving undue weight to other verifiable and sourced statements. An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. Note that undue weight can be given in several ways, including, but not limited to, depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements.--Phenylalanine (talk) 09:37, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Who is Dr evil?[edit]

Wow, micro blackholes end of earth...sounds like a scary machine. Just out of a james bond movie......Landlord77 (talk) 14:48, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I don't know why they're all so concerned about the extermination of all intelligent life. If a black hole did happen to hoover-up this whole sorry mess than maybe some intelligent life might have a chance to evolve. It would be a shame for the poor little koala bears though... Far Canal (talk) 06:41, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

How about ethics?[edit]

Let's suppose that the risk is indeed 1 in 50.000.000. This risk, as far as I know is comparable with the risk of dying in a plane crash. And this happens. Since this risk is "shared in full" by each person in the world, is it fair that some scientists impose practically this risk on a person, however small the risk might be, without the person's consent? Let's say that the experiment would have carried such a risk that 1 in 50.000.000 people will die. If the world population is 6 billion, than that means around 120 people. From which, 60 will be women, 60 men, including all ages accordingly from 0 to 100 years. That means also new borns. Will this be acceptable? If not, why would be the risk of killing all humanity be acceptable?

And about "winning the major prize on the lottery 3 weeks in succession". Well, give me 50 million weeks, and the money to play, and I'll show you. In LHC terms, two colliding particles represent one week.

Why are fools and fanatics always so certain of themselves, whereas wiser people are full of doubts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by LF1975 (talkcontribs) 15:44, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

What does this have to do with the article? --Closedmouth (talk) 16:28, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's about the risk presented by LHC, which is not zero, as even the most staunch proponent of the LHC will admit.--LF1975 (talk) 08:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
You are talking about your personal musings and not the article itself which is why Closedmouth asked how your comments pertain to the article. If this is not addressed sufficiently in the article (which I believe it is) then that is the discussion topic, not what you believe are or are not the risks. Khukri 09:58, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
You're right. I'm not discussing the wiki article but the LHC experiment itself. Anyway, I do not think it matters what we discuss here, the decision is taken. Without the safety study (due for the end of 2007), and that's madness in my opinion. I just wonder when that group of experts mandated by CERN will publish the LHC safety study, if ever. I think that this fact, of going ahead with the experiment without waiting for the safety study promissed by CERN itself, is worth to be mentioned in the article.--LF1975 (talk) 18:53, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I would certainly agree with you about the principle, that operation should not precede completion and release of a mandated safety study; plus some time for the study to be read and digested, and criticized. But the process needs to terminate, one way or the other, in a finite time (remembering that some people will certainly be unconvinced, remain fearful and demand further study ad infinitum, in this world where a non-negligible fraction of people doubt the reality of the Apollo moon landings). It is a cruel irony that the people best qualified to evaluate the risks are likely to be professionally involved with the project, and merely by being part of the "scientific elite", some will say, prejudiced in its favor.
I do not know any details about what impact studies have been required, what has been done, and how careful and honest that work has been. I do believe that the many hundreds of young scientists working on the project must have children and families of their own, and I am pretty certain that none of those people wants to endanger themselves, their posterity, or the Earth; and it is hard to accept the notion that all of them are so intimidated by social and professional pressures that they have not sounded the alarm already, were that needed. The contrary simply seems unreasonable.
But once again in any case, we cannot settle that hard question here. All we can do is report on the credible opinions of reliable external sources. If there are such sources that make a the case that the subject has not been adequately studied and fairly evaluated, then I think the article can (and should) deal with that in the safety section. If that section were to become so large and complex, and so threatening, that the tail wags the dog (of a semi-technical description of the LHC), then there should probably be a separate article on the safety issue. The existence of such an article would no doubt be controversial, but the principles for dealing with such controversy in Wikipedia exist, and the Wiki-lawyers can struggle with it. At least they are not all retained at high salaries, or thinking of Nobel prizes.... Best, Wwheaton (talk) 02:36, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
That 1:50000000 represents a chance that the disaster will happen at all, not the chance that it will occur at every collision. In effect, it's an estimate by a theorist that their theory could be wrong. That's the worrying thing... ask anybody who sincerely believes their model of the Universe to be correct to calculate the probability of them having made a mistake, and whatever answer you get is ultimately facetious because it depends on their on model in the first place. craigTheBrit (talk) 16:38, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
"By the way I don't recommend putting any of this into the main article" - I should just add, that if these are the last days of human civilisation it's nice to see we're still concerned about neutrality! craigTheBrit (talk) 16:40, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Have no fear it won't go into the article, and to be perfectly honest if I thought the end of the world was iminent, the quality of a Wikipedia article would be the last thing on my mind. Khukri 17:03, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
This is surely the dumbest thing I have read on the web in weeks. "This risk, as far as I know is comparable with the risk of dying in a plane crash. And this happens." Do you understand that there are much more airplanes than LHCs? Think about it. "Let's say that the experiment would have carried such a risk that 1 in 50.000.000 people will die.". No, lets not say that. This has nothing to do with anything!88.68.211.199 (talk) 17:54, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
While the quoted risk is surely small, the expectation of ~140 deaths (if one accepts the Rees risk estimate of 1/50,000,000 as accurate, which is debatable either way) is really not quite negligible, in my opinion, and must be weighted against the "human value" of the project in some way, as I tried to do above (getting 1000-2000 human lifetimes as an off-the-wall guess).
But that was really not very satisfactory either, as it stands in for the extinction of the human species, and all life on Earth. If you think of it in terms of expected years of human life lost, the number comes out infinite if one assumes the species is essentially immortal, considering only human descendants, as well as direct fatalities. To do that risk estimate right, one would really have to think of the risk of other potential extincting events (catastrophic epidemic; nuclear war; asteroid impact; gamma-ray burst; lifetime of the Sun, etc), and the odds that advances in technology (which would surely be retarded by Draconian restraints on scientific investigation) might somehow allow us to escape the various significant possible disasters. Not a real simple thing to assess, I think.
Stupidly yours, Wwheaton (talk) 22:15, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

The difference is that people won't just randomly die. It's not like random black holes will start appearing and somehow kill 120 people, and not anyone else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.131.211.32 (talk) 01:58, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

No, all (with low probability); or nothing. Yet both the number of casualties and the likelihood of occurrence must somehow enter into any estimate of the "importance". I claim the risk cannot be 0, as a matter of logic, so what is one to do? Wwheaton (talk) 04:35, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
The risk is not calculable... 1 in 50,000,000 is just a skeptic's way of saying very unlikely. I trust what most physicists say, so I think there is a tiny almost insignificant chance that a large black hole could form, killing everyone. To minimize this chance, the first test of LHC shouldn't perform collisions at energies hundreds of times greater than those ever conducted before. It should increase the energy by only a few eV at first, then if that appears to be safe, maybe go up to twice as energetic as previously possible... make sure that doesn't produce any dangerous effects, then try colliding protons at four times the energy, etc. However, none of this has anything to do with the article. Salute to Wikimedia! (talk) 19:32, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

end of the world- when?[edit]

i remember that one of popsci issues had article about the LHC, and it gave the odds of what will happen. i remember that theres a chance for the world to end. wanna know when exactly, cuz i forgot what issue it was ( i m a subscriber and i got it somewhere in my room ). i think it said april 13. if you can, email me at royachiron [at] the mail service of google (starts with a g, ends with l,) dot com.

it's very important. to me at least. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.138.158.93 (talk) 14:22, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

edit: please, answer, it is very important. i dont wanna die sober! just exact date of that experiment! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.138.158.93 (talk) 00:04, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Of course there is a chance for the world to end. Because we do not know everything , that chance cannot possibly be zero. Simply based on the logic and meaning of chance, it must be positive, but no more than 100%. These facts cannot be controversial, for any course of action.
Then, from the point of view of personal anxiety, if you expect to live to be 100 years old, the probability of your dying today must be on the order of 1 in 100,000 (approximate number of days in a century), somewhat less if you are young and healthy. It would be more if you are older or have risk conditions (like being frequently non-sober due to ethanol consumption).
From a public health viewpoint, if the odds were indeed 1/50,000,000 (as has been claimed), then the expectation value for the number of "prompt" deaths would be around 140, "prompt" meaning somewhere in the time interval of 50 million to 50 years that has also been mentioned. For comparison, the average number of deaths in an typical day on Earth must be at least 250,000.
As a further point of comparison, the estimated total project cost of $5 to $10 billion US dollars might be compared with the economic value of a human lifework, say $2 to $4 million dollars (assuming a 40-year working life, at a wage of $50K to $100K per year) as some kind of very rough indication of the value, in human terms, of the LHC project as assessed by the people who are paying for it. This "human value", imperfect as it must necessarily be, works out in the range of 500 to 2000 lifetimes of work, say 1000, ± a factor of two, and can be placed against the public health cost of ~140 lives calculated if the 1:50,000,000 number is correct.
I cite these estimate because it is simply not possible to evaluate a choice without considering the likely costs and benefits in some way. Both sides of the equation must be considered, even though doing so intelligently is certainly difficult. If we just say "any chance greater than exactly 0.0 is unacceptable", then the logical conclusion for all courses of action is necessarily that we must all stay in bed (which is of course far more risky than an active life).
Hope this helps, some. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 17:07, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
And, of course, at all moments in one's life there is a small but non-zero chance of dying. So if you wan't to be certain not to die sober, there is really only one practical solution...Far Canal (talk) 01:25, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Request for information and a clarification[edit]

Could someone please add info to the article about where on Earth the matter that will be accelerated is taken from? What are the material sources of the protons and lead ions?

The following statement could use some more explanation: "Loss of only 10−7 of the beam is sufficient to quench a superconducting magnet". Does this mean that the magnets are powered by the beam? What would happen if a magnet became "quenched"?

Thanks, Martin Rundkvist (talk) 09:48, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I'm not expert about the details (see Ion source for a bit more), but protons are essential components of all ordinary matter. The trick is to pry them loose from the atoms they normally inhabit. This is easiest for hydrogen, which is almost all a single proton orbited by a single electron, bound together with about 13.6 eV of electrical attraction. (Actually, two hydrogen atoms like to bond together to form a hydrogen molecule, H2, adding an additional level of complexity, but I think we can ignore that here.) To separate the protons from the electrons, we ordinarily use a strong electric field, spark, plasma discharge, or bombardment by high energy electrons (released from a hot filament, typically, and accelerated through metal electrodes at a voltage much higher than 13.6 volts.) Then some protons get knocked free, and they can be attracted by negatively charged (or repelled by positively charged) electrodes, guided by electric and magnetic fields and formed into well-defined beams, and then passed into the main parts of the accelerator. Lead nuclei are a bit tougher to pry loose since they are much more positive and electrons cling to them much tighter, but the principles are similar, you just need much more than 13.6 volts to do the job.
Re the quenching of magnets, the answer is no; the magnets are powered by coils with external electrical power supplies. To make the power bill endurable, we use superconducting magnets, that are cooled to very low temperatures, where they lose all electrical resistance. So essentially no power is needed to keep the magnetic field up once it is turned on, but a very large amount of energy is stored in the strong magnetic field around the ring, that bends the protons into their circular paths. The "quench" issue comes if for some reason a magnet loses some or all of its superconductivity. Then the stored magnetic energy drives the current through the field coils, which have become partially resistive, releasing heat. This causes a spreading loss of superconductivity, and all the considerable energy in the field gets dumped into heat in the coils in a catastrophic runaway, which is damaging to the magnets and I think could even be dangerous to someone in the tunnel. This is called a quench. Very bad. Superconductivity can also be destroyed by the beam itself, or even a small part of it colliding with the magnet coils, which is the issue addressed in the article. This is sufficiently far afield not to be described in detail in the article. A bit of research in other Wiki articles should reveal some supporting articles to explain further. I will look around myself, and maybe some of the other authors can add links to make it easier to navigate. Wwheaton (talk) 03:41, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I added a link on superconducting magnetic energy storage and rerouted quench to the disambiguation page. I'm afraid this does not help much.... Wwheaton (talk) 06:00, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! Being an archaeologist, I have an interest in the geographical origins of raw materials. If anyone knows, it would be interesting to learn where the water for the hydrogen is taken, and where the lead for the ions is mined. The material is after all being put through some pretty extreme treatment. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 06:50, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

A basic assumption in physics for almost a century is that all elementary particles of a given type are truly identical and indistinguishable. Lead nuclei are somewhat more complex, but neither they nor protons should remember their place of origin. Wwheaton (talk) 07:30, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Haha, yeah, I'm not suggesting that there's anything unusual about the particles they'll shoot into the LHC. But I find their geographical origin interesting in the same way that it would be cool to live right next to the quarries where material was taken for the Notre Dame, Stonehenge or White House. Martin Rundkvist (talk) 09:03, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

This bochure (PDF) says that the protons come from a "standard hydrogen bottle." Which means that to answer your question, you'd have to look up CERN's current vendor(s) for hydrogen. -- SCZenz (talk) 10:03, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

True. The same probably goes for the lead. You'd probably just end up with the name of some chemical supplies firm, which may in turn buy metals from wherever it happens to be cheapest at the time. Too bad: every big-name physicist should have hydrogen and lead extracted from a tissue sample and shot into the LHC. I gotta blog this! Martin Rundkvist (talk) 11:12, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, you have probably heard the claim that if you could color every atom in a glass of water red, say, and then dumped it in the ocean and let it mix well (which would take a while), then drew a new glass of water anywhere, it would have several red flags in it. As humans are, what—something like 85% water by mass [?]—I reckon we are all "of a piece". Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 15:41, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

What?[edit]

The article states: "...three fundamental forces: electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force." Where's gravity? It's one of the fundamental forces, too. Zrs 12 (talk) 01:51, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Gravity is one of the fundamental interactions, but it is too weak (many many many orders of magnitude weaker than other three), so there will be no gravity related experiments in LHC. --83.131.74.140 (talk) 13:28, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I know. Therefore it should say "..three of the four fundamental forces: ..." or "... the three strongest of the fundamental forces:..." No? Zrs 12 (talk) 19:01, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I modified the sentence to except gravity, but it was actually correct as it was, since it did not claim to unify all the fundamental forces, although it might possibly have been misunderstood to imply that. Let's see what the others think about it. Wwheaton (talk) 19:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Alright, thanks. I would have done it, but I just wanted to discuss it here first. Don't want to upset anyone. Zrs 12 (talk) 01:25, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
No problem, we all try to be friends here. I did not mean to be picky myself. Probably it is less likely to be misunderstood now. Wwheaton (talk) 04:03, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Where's Mr. Higgs ?[edit]

The 'toilet particle' (Weinberg, nobel prize) is a joke. It was reinvented by lederman as 'god's particle' to sell the super-collider to dumb reagan who bite the hook but clinton who is kinda more clever saw the hoax. It is in fact a top-antitop quark but the quark was discovered and nobody would waste money on that. The top-antitop form a deconfined state field equal to the higgs. Just check the mass, etc. So not only the lhc risk us but is the biggest swindled performed by scientists since the piltdown man... Nambu is the author of the top deconfined theory, goldstone expanded it, smolin and zee proved the higgs is the same maths that the brans theory. How those people dare to swindle10 billion $ and put at risk mankind. What they think they are? to jail with them (-: —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.94.16.127 (talk) 05:27, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

In the picture of a simulated event, where is the Higgs-Boson? Is it the two lines up stemming from an h -> jet jet process or is it the two lines right-down stemming from h -> lepton antilepton or am I completely off-track? That information should probably be added to the picture information for the picture being pretty non-saying otherwise (other than "there is a lot of stuff arriving at the detector" which would be an alternative title for the picture). Bonus question: What's the production channel for the Higgs in this event and how is the activity along the beam-line to be interpreted (e.g. underlying event or tag-jets of vbf)? --78.49.41.193 (talk) 02:29, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Looking at the Higgs boson article, it appears to be neutral, so it would not appear directly, only its charged decay products. Also, I do not know if there is a prediction for its life-time, but if it decays via the strong or electromagnetic interactions, its life would likely be so short that it would leave only a microscopic track. Wwheaton (talk) 03:16, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
The lifetime is dependent on the couplings (known) and the mass (unknown but was set to some value for the simulation). Higgs-bosons are supposed to decay rapidly. My question was actually which of the jets or high-energy fermionic traces stem from a decayed Higgs-boson. The text under the image gave me the impression that anyone familiar with collider physics would immediately see which of the lines belong to the Higgs-boson.--88.70.75.236 (talk) 06:46, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I guess you are too optimistic about the figure. It would be nice to have a more informative caption. The one shown does not even say what the different colors mean. My guess is that the transverse large yellow jet towards the upper left is supposed to signal it, being unbalanced by a big jet in the other direction. But if it decays immediately, both jet and counter-jet should be present to some extent. I do not know enough to say, it isn't obvious to me. But thanks for a good question. Wwheaton (talk) 14:52, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
A little more investigation reveals six nice images, apparently of the same event from various viewpoints, on the CMS web site at [3]. I am sending them an e-mail asking if they can give further information about it. Wwheaton (talk) 14:57, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I have tracked the figure back to the CMS web site, where there are six views of what appears to be the same event (simulated, of course). I've sent them an e-mail asking for clarification. Pending more info, here is what I ask, glean, or guess from the six images, and our Wiki CMS web site. This interpretation may be entirely wrong, but take it at your own risk pending further elucidation from CERN:
"Could you please answer some or all of the following questions:
1. What in the figure reveals the presence of the Higgs? (Our caption claims it is a Higgs event, but without further information.)
2. What do the colors mean? We see a lot of RED stuff around the interaction point, YELLOW jets and some lower energy tracks, plus a lot of BLUE-GREEN rectangles.
3. I believe that no particles from either of the two beams would appear in actual data events, only outgoing interaction tracks, yet they might be shown in a simulation. But since there are so many track near the beamline, I am guessing they are jets due to spectator quarks and gluons, moving slightly off the beam direction? Is this correct?
4. It appears that the other figures on the same "EventDisplay" page are of the same event, only seen from different angles. Is this so?
I am guessing that the unbalanced jet to the upper left, with three straight tracks to the lower right, probably constitute the interesting signal, and that maybe the jet to the upper left is counter (decay products of quarks & gluons) to the Higgs. If so, I am guessing that the event may show a decay of the Higgs to high-energy leptons moving to the lower right. I see three straight tracks to the lower right, two escaping at a sharp angle to the upper left counter jet, and one suddenly stopping or escaping that seems closely aligned with the counter jet. However, looking in the side view on your page of six, it appears that nothing is closely aligned in 3d with the counter-jet. Furthermore, it is clear that the two very high energy straight tracks to the lower right (in our figure) are seen from the side view to be nearly perpendicular to the counter-jet, and have nothing going in the other direction to balance their momentum. So there appears to be at least one high-energy particle that must be a missing long-lived neutral (? neutron? gamma?) opposite to those two HE straight tracks with high transverse momentum."
We'll see what we find out. Wwheaton (talk) 19:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Is it possible[edit]

That all black holes are in fact artificial. Developed by other civiliziations that at one stage or another developed a LHC and subsequently destroyed themselves.? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.7.166.174 (talk) 23:47, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Of course almost anything is possible, but it seems extremely unlikely. We "know" (? how much do we really know, for certain?) situations occur in astronomy, in which massive stars collapse to form black holes. We see stellar explosions that appear similar to what we expect from such events. We see neutron stars orbiting each other that are spiraling inwards due to gravitational radiation, and must apparently coalesce into a black hole in a cosmically short time, say less than 10% of the age of the universe. But, if there is no Hawking radiation, a small black hole, resulting from the collapse of an Earth-size planet, would be very difficult to detect. The radius of its event horizon, for example would be about 1 cm. It would simply orbit its star, as the Earth orbits the Sun now, and never be noticed. Nothing we see is anything like that. So there is really no evidence either way. Wwheaton (talk) 03:51, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like some rough draft of Carl Sagans Contact. Aliens send blue prints for a doomsday machine. Anythign is possible... ANYTHING. Like how this blackhole crap is crap.

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.24.149.212 (talk) 23:24, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Court Case?[edit]

What has come of the suit filled by those "concerned", given that the court has no juristiction over CERN's activities being that they are international... which this article implies it does. Stabby Joe (talk) 16:25, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I've been trying to find out the same. I've have left messages and sent e-mails, but the major anti-LHC protagonists have gone quiet on the issue. This was to be expected in my opinion, it's always big news when David takes a court case out against Goliath, and even bigger news if they succeed, but if they get no where it might make page 28 on the local advertiser which we would have difficulty finding. The jurisdiction issue is one of the thing the court could have ruled on. The argument for was that it doesn't matter where the court cases was taken to, as the fear is a global catastrophe then any court could suffice. Khukri 07:10, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Well if wanted to really stop it, he would have taken it to a European court, otherwise the CERN officials don't even have to turn up, which was even said in some of the news articles about it. Stabby Joe (talk) 22:11, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
The initial hearing in US District Court of Hawaii is set for June 16th. Case details at [4] and [5] --Jtankers (talk) 07:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

<a href="http://www.lhcfacts.org/?cat=50">First hearing</a> in US Federal Court in Hawaii, Monday June 16th. Legal papers served to CERN, requiring appearance before <a href="http://www.lhcfacts.org/?cat=9"></a>.


In a hearing June 16, 2008 before US Federal Judge Helen Gillmor, trial was scheduled to begin June 16, 2009. US Federal attorneys representing the defendants plan to file a motion to dismiss by June 24, 2008. The plaintiffs requested to amend their complaint to seek a jury trial, and to include a challenge to research that may involve the creation of microscopic black holes from ultra-cold atoms of rubidium. Added line:

Trial in US Federal Court is scheduled to begin June 16, 2009.[5] --Jtankers (talk) 02:05, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Activation date[edit]

Have they set a date for running the first test yet? I couldn't find any information in the article.. (Don't worry, I'm just curious, not worried) FredTheDeadHead (talk) 12:19, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It's not really as simple as that, it's not like a light switch where it will be switched on and there is beam and collisions. There have been tests running on the different components for quite along time now. All but one of the sectors are now being cooled down to it's operating temperature, which should take another month or so. Then there will be machine check out tests and then there will be first beam injections maybe a month or so after that, which will take a while as they will slowly build up to the 7Tev energy. Collisions within the detectors themselves will be a while after that I'd imagine. The CERN bulletin has most of the status information if you read back through them here. Khukri 13:08, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
First beam will be 5TeV end of July. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.217.55.206 (talk) 15:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Darn, I planned my holiday in Switzerland exactly at that time. I hope no disastrous unexpected chain of events will blow up that very nice country. I also hope they (CERN) follow my advice and imbalance the beams just enough for the collision products to have the necessary speed for leaving the solar system (5.00TeV and 4.99TeV will do I guess, I'll check the exact ratio later). Maybe the LHC itself is not so precise to have exactly the same energy/speed in the beams anyway. --LF1975 (talk) 06:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

According to http://cdsweb.cern.ch/journal/popup?name=CERNBulletin&type=breaking_news&record=1106550&ln=en activation should be around 17 July 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.36.225.237 (talk) 20:10, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Black hole[edit]

I am going to change

"Thus, the above mentioned opponents to LHC consider that micro black holes produced in a terrestrial laboratory might not decay as rapidly as calculated, or might even not be prone to decay and, if unable to rapidly evaporate, they could start interacting, grow larger and potentially be disastrous to Earth itself.[6]"

to

"Thus, the above mentioned opponents to LHC consider that micro black holes produced in a terrestrial laboratory might not decay as rapidly as calculated, or might even not be prone to decay."

As i couldnt find anywhere in the reference a mention of any concern to earth, mainly because a blackhole would simply fall to the center of the earth and depending on size either sit there (most likely) or at worst slowly consum the earth one atom at a time with no notable effect until the blackhole started sonsuming the crust, but i cant be arsed to do the maths to see if that would be, a a few billion years, after the sun would go supernova, after heat death of the universe.I feal a note should be made to explain the lack of danger around blackholes, but ill remove the existing bias 1st and discuss improvements before editing it further.--82.35.192.193 (talk) 04:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I've put the above in blockquotes to make it easier to read.
However, the omission of the danger to Earth is quite possibly incorrect, so that I think the proposed change should not be made, though the original sentence as quoted could use improvement.
A microscopic black hole (BH) that did not immediately evaporate due to Hawking radiation (which physicists consider the most likely outcome) and became gravitationally bound to the Earth would probably pass through the material of the Earth almost freely for a long time, losing energy slowly, as even the dense matter within the Earth is mostly empty space on a microscopic scale, and gravity is a very weak force compared to all the others. Occasionally it should capture elementary particles, such as photons, electrons and quarks, or possibly whole protons and neutrons. (Because the capture cross section would seem to be very small, this process might go very slowly, I am not sure. But the gravitational force is much much smaller than the Weak Force, which governs the interactions of neutrinos, and these practically do not interact at all.) But eventually it should lose enough energy to reduce its orbit to be entirely within the Earth. Possibly after a very long time (compared to geological time), the BH would be expected to settle to near rest at the center of the Earth, and its gravitational capture cross section become comparable to the size of an atomic nucleus. At some point it would accrete material rapidly enough to surround itself with a very hot ionized plasma region, as accreted matter is strongly compressed and heated.
At this point the regime astronomer's are familiar with would apply, and radiation pressure from the hot core surrounding it would inhibit the infall and accretion, in accordance with the Eddington limit. How fast the growth process would proceed after that depends on the "radiative accretion efficiency", that is the ratio of the accretion energy radiated to that falling through the event horizon, leading to growth. If this efficiency were high (close to 100%), the growth rate would be slow, the mass increasing by a factor of e  ~ 2.718... roughly every 500 million years. Many factors of growth by e  would be required before anything noticeable on Earth would happen and probably the Sun would reach the end of its life first. But the efficiency would probably be significantly lower than 100%, so the growth time could be substantially shorter. When the accretion rate reached a high enough level that the energy release became comparable to the radioactive heat release rate inside the Earth, the effects would be expected to become noticeable on the surface, as increase seismic and volcanic activity, which would eventually become catastrophic.
These are just guesses by an older physicist with some astronomical background; the growth rate during the earliest times when the BH would have a mass of at most 14 TeV could be very long or perhaps fairly short. Perhaps a younger expert in field theory can say more. Wwheaton (talk) 14:59, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I added a reference to Dr. Otto E. Rossler's thesis which has been released for peer review and predicts the possibility of as few as 50 months Earth accretion time: [6]. To my knowledge, CERN's LSAG Safety Assessment Group report has not yet been officially released for peer review. --Jtankers (talk) 03:44, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Walter L. Wagner suggests other possibilities at: [7] I believe the problem that most people have with Hawking's idea is that, generally, there would be three different possibilities for a black hole sitting in the vacuum of space. First, of course, under Einsteinian theory, it would simply just sit there, unchanging, unless matter were to come nearby and fall into it. That was the original theory, of course, before Hawking began talking about 'quantum effects' at the 'event horizon'. We of course make particles and antiparticles every day. In our nuclear medicine departments, every day [including today] we slam protons into O-18 to make F-18, a positron emitter. When the F-18 decays [fairly rapidly because of its short half-life, which means we need to actually make it several times per day in some of our facilities], the nucleus loses a little bit of its mass, which is converted into the mass of a positron [and a neutrino], as well as their kinetic energies. This is then quickly converted back into energy, as the positron only travels about 1 millimeter before it encounters and electron, annihilating with two opposite-momentum photons of about 511 KeV each. We also routinely make antiprotons by slamming high-kinetic energy protons into targets, creating lots of particles and antiparticles, some of which are antiprotons, which we then magnetically separate, store, and later collide with protons [as at Fermilab]. We always need to inject energy, however, to make such particles. Hawking believes that the energy of the black-hole, however, can provide the mass for particle creation. While the idea is interesting, it is entirely different than what we do in the laboratory. To sum up his idea, he envisions that a particle and antiparticle form at the event-horizon as virtual particles. When one falls into the black hole, the other wanders away, and now isolated, required to become real. Consequently, the other that fell into the black hole is required to reduce the mass of the black hole [to conserve total mass], being the equivalent of having 'negative mass'. That is the other odd thing about his idea. It could be just as easily argued that a black hole would accrete a positive mass particle, requiring a nearby antiparticle to disappear. However, in the vacuum of space, there would be no nearby particles, and such scenario would likely be suppressed, just as Electron-Capture radioactive decay is altered or suppressed if the nearby electrons take a different chemical configuration, or are absent [preventing the decay]. [reposted comment written by Walter L. Wagner] --Jtankers (talk) 03:30, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Very interesting. I know that it has been said (maybe not recently) that a similar thing should happen in ultra-strong electric (E) fields, as at the surface of a high-Z nucleus, causing spontaneous breakdown of the vacuum into electron/positron pairs. Because magnetic (B) fields transform into electric fields under special relativistic boost transformations, I believe there was also a claim that B fields over a critical value, of order 1014 G, would also be unstable. It now appears that we observe super high-B field neutron stars ("magnetars") that exceed this limit, and nobody seems to worry about the old critical field issue, but I do not know why. The situation seems somewhat similar, but I am way over my depth here. I would be interested if anyone can explain that E-B issue, whether it is still thought to happen, and why or why not. Wwheaton (talk) 04:24, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I checked out your link to Walter Wagner [8], and found there a physicist blog by a theoretician currently working in the field, with a good summary of why it is not reasonable to fear the LHC (dated 4/29/2008). It does have remarks by Walter Wagner that make me believe he is not a crank (which is nice), but which do not increase my anxiety about the LHC. As a whole, the expert contributers to the blog are far more knowledgeable about the subject than I, and I recommend it to all who are interested. Wwheaton (talk) 18:47, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Large "Hardon" Collider[edit]

Some smart-alecs seem to find it funny to constantly rename the LHC to 'hardon' collider.

I've changed it about 3 times now...mods? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drizzt495 (talkcontribs) 21:16, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I left a comment in the article a while ago about this, but it's been subsequently removed. The article's also been protected several times for this exact reason, but they keep coming back. It's frustrating, but there's not much you can do about it. --Closedmouth (talk) 14:18, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Amazing though, that this wasn't considered when the name was assigned. Those particle physicists really should get out more often. Far Canal (talk) 02:43, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

They just know that any name is liable to lead to someone comng up with something,w hether on purpose or not. For instance, I find myself consistently referring to it as the "Large Hadrian Collidor," perhaps because I'm thinking of the Roman emperor. Perhaps because they'd heard all the teasing possible as students, so they figure it'll happen no matter what.
Though, that mondegreen of mine does lead to jokes about the possibility of it being used for time travel.209.244.187.155 (talk) 00:52, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Hawking's radiation still debated?[edit]

According to CERN,

This [black holes are not stable] is not what physicists believe in general. Those few who pointed out issues with Hawking's radiation were simply trying to get a more rigorous proof of it. But no-one ever claimed that his proof of the decay is wrong, and that therefore they should be stable.

So the statement that "Hawking's radiation is still debated" needs to be changed or contextualized. --Phenylalanine (talk) 03:21, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Hawking Radiation theory is disputed by rigorously peer reviewed studies that found no basis in science to support it, and at least one Delphi study of physicists found significant doubt...
2005 QUANTUM NATURE OF BLACK HOLESby Adam D. Helfer "this prediction is not without its problems... no very good responses to these concerns... completely alters the picture drawn by Hawking" and "My aim here is to argue that the correct picture of a black hole is very different. The black hole, far from being an essentially classical object with only minor quantum corrections, has a strong quantum character which profoundly affects physics in a region of space–time, a region extending beyond the hole a distance comparable to the size of the hole itself. In this region, not merely “virtual” vacuum fluctuations, but real Planck-scale physics must be prevalent."
2004 James Blogget, Masters in Statistics, conducted a Delphi study of 15 physicists and estimates that Hawking radiation would fail ranged from 0% to 50%. The data are as follows: 0, 0, 1E-10, 0.001, 0.01, 0.01, 0.01, 0.02, 0.02, 0.07, 0.1, 0.1, 0.3, 0.35, 0.5" [Corrected to add missing estimate by one physicist for 50% probability of failure]
2004, On the Universality of the Hawking Effect by William G. Unruh and Ralf Schützhold, Quote: "However, we have also demonstrated counterexamples, which do not appear to be unphysical or artificial, displaying deviations from Hawking’s result. Therefore, whether real black holes emit Hawking radiation or not remains an open question and gives non-trivial information about Planckian physics."
2003 Do black holes radiate? By Adam D. Helfer "Yet this prediction rests on two dubious assumptions... no compelling theoretical case for or against radiation by black holes", "…assuming that black holes do radiate should be considered tentative, and the consequences of not making this assumption should be given comparable weight."
1995, On the existence of quantum evaporation of a black hole by Professor V.A. Belinski, (Paraphrase) Asserts that Hawking radiation does not exist (black holes do not evaporate).
--Jtankers (talk) 18:11, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I must say (as I have said before) the probability of any theory being wrong in physics cannot reasonably be 0, because we do not know anything with that kind of certainty. And to arithmetically average probabilities seems extremely dubious to me also, because the results will be dominated by the opinions of the (two in this case) people who rate P relatively high. Knowing nothing about the biases of those two (or the others...) the averages and implications seem to me to be essentially meaningless. It would be better to take the average of the logarithms, which at least points up the absurdity of the zeros. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 20:21, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
The PHDs and Professors in Math and Physics as a group are indicating in their papers that the probability of Hawking Radiation being correct, that micro black holes might evaporate before they grow, may more reasonably be calculated as closer to a 50% probability. --Jtankers (talk) 15:31, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Safety Argument[edit]

The safety argument was modified to add misleading statements suggesting that no physicists reject Hawking radiation.

I changed the following statement from

"From CERN's point of view, there has never been any suggestion that Hawking's proof of black hole decay is wrong and that therefore black holes should be stable.[7] It is further argued that even if micro black holes were created and were stable, they would pose no threat to the Earth during its remaining 5 billion years of existence.[7]"

to

"From CERN's point of view, even if micro black holes were created and were stable, they would pose no threat to the Earth during its remaining 5 billion years of existence.[7]"

--Jtankers (talk) 10:55, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Again I've removed the some of the spam links in the article, LHC defence is listed below in the article as it is linked to the plaintiff in the upcoming court case, the others are unacceptable. Read through the archive for reasons why these spam links are not acceptable.
This article has been neutral and quite stable for about a month, but there have been alot of edits recently weighting it more to the anti-LHC cause. As I have said since January when these edits really started, there are fears out there and this has been mentioned with it's reasoning as is only correct. But we cannot give it undue weight (read WP:UNDUE) to these theories as we have to remember they are the minority view. Lets not go round adding every scientist who may have concern with the LHC, as it will become ridiculous if the opposition position start adding 10 times the amount of scientists who don't think it will cause a catastrophe. There are one or two examples in there and there are a couple of refuting arguments. This article notes there are concerns, but is not a soapbox to promote these fears to a wider audience by weighting the section to the anti-LHC cause. Khukri 07:12, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Would a solution be to allow some small mention, and then to point to unfounded fears of past projects? For instance, I recall that there were fears by some that the explosion of an atomic bomb would cause all the atoms on earth to xplode or something. Or, would that be taking it too far off topic?209.244.187.155 (talk) 00:59, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I think it would not convince anyone. The question of igniting the atmosphere was resolved by detailed quantitative study by a group of very competent physicists, who had to take a hard quantitative look at the details. Reasoning by analogy is only convincing if the similarity is logically inescapable, which it really is not in this case. Would that life were so simple! Wwheaton (talk) 02:35, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Protection[edit]

I've re-semi protected the article due to the prolific IP vandalism again. I've gone for 2 months this time, though I have a feeling the closer it gets to physics be carried out the more vandalism we'll see. Khukri 22:05, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. Kind of a grueling experience. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 23:41, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Creation of 'Purpose' section?[edit]

Someone create a 'Purpose' section or some other section so that it's clear what this piece of machinery does and why it is unique from other particle accelerators. Thanks. WinterSpw (talk) 22:49, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

A brief summary of this should be in the introductory paragraph. Perhaps that needs improving. The details are very technical and probably better treated in separate articles, but the basic thing is that LHC is intended to produce collisions with enough energy to create the Higgs, and should do so if the simplest versions of the Standard Model are correct. If the Higgs is created with the predicted properties, that will confirm that the fundamental theory for the elementary particles that make up the matter we know, and the forces between then, is probably generally on the right track, though still incomplete. Any surprises will close off some possibilities and force investigation of new ones. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Bevatron half a century ago, which was designed to have enough energy to create anti-protons and anti-neutrons, if they existed. It did that, and confirmed the basic theoretical picture as it existed at that time. Wwheaton (talk) 00:24, 14 May 2008 (UTC)


Activation date[edit]

I recently heard that the LHC will activate on june 6th, 2008. Great five days before my 15th birthday. If the world will be destroyed before june 11 i'm going to be really peeved hahaha. 72.192.48.119 (talk) 20:24, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

You appear to be safe. See the previous section with the same title, quoting end-of-July as the expected turn-on time. And of course they will have to have not just beam, but collisions, which means two colliding beams need to be focused on each other, down to a few micron sized spot. Wwheaton (talk) 03:27, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

What is a "Magnetic Monopole" and what will happen to the earth if it happens?[edit]

I don't quite understand what a magnetic monopole is can someone put it in easy to understand terms please? if the LHC creates them what happens to the earth?72.192.48.119 (talk) 20:25, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Accretion?[edit]

About the micro black hole section in the LHC article, what does it mean by "earths accretion less than 50 months? Sorry if im asking too many questions i just need to understand the dangerous "slightly possible" outcomes of this thing. 72.192.48.119 (talk) 20:29, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Oh that's just the amount of time that Otto Roessler estimated it would take for a stable MBH to accrette the planet into a total compressed size of about 30 Cm. nothing to worry about, unless you think it's plausible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.137.64.26 (talk) 01:10, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

A BH with the mass of the Earth would have a radius (of event horizon) of about 1 cm. The accretion rate of a non-microscopic black hole should be limited by the Eddington luminosity divided by the accretion efficiency. As the mass increases due to accretion, the rate of accretion should also increase in proportion, so we would have an exponential process. If the efficiency were the absolute maximum possible, 100%, this exponential growth time could be as long as about 500 million years, but many (? 20 or 30?) such periods must elapse before the thing would disturb the planet, since it starts very small. Off the top of my head I would not expect the efficiency to be terribly small, >0.1% I'd say, which would speed things up to a growth time scale of 500,000 years, or a time-to-catastrophe of some millions of years. I cannot prove that the efficiency could not be 100,000 times less still, and the time scale 5 yr, though that seems pretty unreasonable to me. (Pure opinion, alas.)
I think we have to accept that the probability, logically, simply cannot be zero, because there are always things we do not know. God could decide to smite the planet tomorrow because we are all terrible sinners for being so greedy for power; how can anyone reasonably argue that the probability of that is exactly zero? Or we could get zapped by a gamma-ray burst. Or many other things. So to live our lives at all we have to recognize the possibility that a probability that is not zero can still be negligible in reasonable terms. How do we decide that? By reason, as best we can, I guess; but nobody promised it would be easy. Wwheaton (talk) 01:54, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

There is no know mechanism which allows this catastrophic scenario, therefore it is not possible to determine how likely it is that this will occur. It is, however, possible to calculate "upper limits" of probability based on observations of past occurrences. --XUniverse (talk) 10:46, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Earth accretion in this context means destruction of the planet. The arguments are detailed fairly well at LHCFacts.org --Jtankers (talk) 22:25, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Mosquito myth ?[edit]

Thousands of sites and papers discussing the LHC claim that 1TeV equals the kinetic energy of a flying mosquito.
Few others claim this is the case for 7TeV, which is the energy of a single accelerated proton at LHC.
Even several Wikipedia pages make a similar claim. (ref. 1 & 2)
I couldn't find any page which shows calculations to prove this.
According to my own calculations however, the claim is way off.
Only the planned collision energy of Pb cores (1048 TeV) will come close to the kinetic energy of a small mosquito.

I am not a scientist, so I'd like someone to check my calculations before I start editing pages. After all, there are 4500+ pages claiming something different...

 1eV = 1.602 \times 10^{-19} J (ref. 3)

The formula for kinetic energy is  E=\tfrac{1}{2} mv^2 , Where energy(E) is measured in Joule, mass(m) in

kg and velocity(v) in m/s. (ref. 5)

A mosquito's mass is up to 2.5 mg and it's speed is 1-2 km/h (ref. 4).
Let's use 1.8km/h for the speed, which is exactly 0.5 m/s to ease calculations.

Mosquito mass in kg:  2.5 mg = 2.5 \times 10^{-3} kg
Kinetic energy of the mosquito =  \tfrac{1}{2} \times 2.5 \times 10^{-3} \times 0.5^2 = 3.125 \times 10^{-4} J

Difference in energy at 1 TeV:  1.602 \times 10^{-7} J versus  3.125 \times 10^{-4} J
Difference in energy at 7 TeV:  1.121 \times 10^{-6} J versus  3.125 \times 10^{-4} J
Difference in energy at 1048 TeV:  1.679 \times 10^{-4} J versus  3.125 \times 10^{-4} J

Conclusion:
Only the collision energy of the lead cores approaches the kinetic energy of a lazy mosquito.

References:
1) http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Physics/Archive_January_2008
3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeV
4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito
5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy

p.s.
If the calculation is wrong, I'd really like to know what I've missed.
an-nau (talk) 16:00, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Mosquito mass in kg is 10-6 not 10-3 (milligrams not grams). So 1 TeV is the appropriate energy for its flying not too fast. Ilya O. Orlov (talk) 09:15, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
You're right, I've looked at it a million times, so I don't understand why I keep overlooking such an obvious mistake... an-nau (talk) 11:19, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't feel too bad, I've made such stupid errors 106 ... er, 103 times. This is why we need colleagues and referees.... Wwheaton (talk) 18:36, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Rees & Close[edit]

This passage

The risk of a doomsday scenario was indicated by Sir Martin Rees, with respect to the RHIC, as being at least a 1 in 50,000,000 chance, and by Professor Frank Close, with regards to (dangerous) strangelets, that "the chance of this happening is like you winning the major prize on the lottery 3 weeks in succession; the problem is that people believe it is possible to win the lottery 3 weeks in succession." Accurate assessments of these risks are impossible due to the present incomplete, or even hypothetically flawed, standard model of particle physics (see also a list of unsolved problems in physics).

is self contradictory and absurd (I would like to check the math used by these two gentlemen in calculating their results), and in my oppinion should be romoved from the article. --LF1975 (talk) 09:43, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I took the liberty of moving the above comment as unrelated to the section ("What?") where it was placed. NB comments should normally be placed at the end of the page (or after a previous comment they answer) to keep the page time-ordered, as well as may be.
Rees and Close are both very eminent scientists, whose opinions tend to be trusted by the physics community. As such they qualify as reliable sources, though of course anyone can slip up or be mistaken. To disqualify their statements, you would really have to find an outside reliable source that specifically addresses their statements. An unpublished calculation done by you would be original research, unless it is so straightforward and obvious as to be beyond dispute. Best, Wwheaton (talk) 17:50, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Risk Calculations and Assumptions reasonable quality, short discussion of risks and calculations at Martin Meenagh blog and some related calculations at James Blodgett on Risks Including this assessment:

If the following reasonable and plausible assumptions prove to be correct, then the uncomfortable truth may be that the probability of destruction of Earth could be closer to 100%, far from the often quoted 1 in 50 million, though only mother nature currently knows for certain due to our limited understanding of the physics involved.
A. LHC Creates black holes as CERN Predicted (1 per second) 1.
B. Micro Black holes do not evaporate as LSAG accepts is plausible. 2
C. One or more micro black holes are captured by Earth's gravity as LSAG accepts as plausible. 3
D. Micro Black holes grow exponentially as Dr. Otto E. Rossler's paper predicts and calculates. 4

--Jtankers (talk) 15:45, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Looking at the references, I think they do not support the attached statements, and in fact the entire post is just a copy of one to an outside blog. I think we are in a rut here, and have posted a suggestion for getting out in a new section below. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 10:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, all of the statements are fully supported and supportable. Do you dispute the factuality of any of the statements? --Jtankers (talk) 15:25, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I dispute A, that CERN predicted BH production at 1 BH/s, certainly not in the reference 1; B, I do not agree that LSAG (LHC Safety Assessment Group) accepts the invalidity of Hawking's BH evaporation as plausible; or that the reference given 2, to Helfer's paper, supports the assertion that they do; C, I do not see that your [9] ref 3, supports your claim that "LSAG accepts..."; and D, while Ressler predicts (& I agree) that a micro-BH inside the Earth would probably grow exponentially after reaching a certain size, this only leads to a meaningful statement about risk (compared to other inevitable planetary risks) when the characteristic timescale for the exponential growth is specified as well. The natural growth time with reasonable accretion efficiency seems to be millions of years, and it appears to me that at least twenty such periods should be required.
Then again, your apparent quotation re "...reasonable and plausible assumptions ..." , which appears to be an outside reference, is actually just a verbatim copy of the above post, by you, as posted to a blog. It is clearly not a reliable source according to Wiki standards, and I cannot personally accept it as reasonable or plausible. Finally, your ..."could be close to 100%"... statement, if supposed to be supported by multiplying your four likelihoods together—each cherry-picked from the extreme fringes of uncertainty in my opinion—is really not a probability at all (or else if it is, then I can respond that "the probability of destruction of the Earth is 99.9% in any case", with perfect assurance. FYI, when I multiply my own "worst reasonable case" estimates of the above four probabilities together I get 1/300,000,000, with the additional caveat that if BHs are produced at LHC (only for special ranges of string theory compactification, etc) then they should interact strongly with the Earth, and the cosmic-ray argument, applied to neutron stars, would take hold and reduce the odds by a further factor of maybe 1000. And as one final point: I think it is not reasonable to assume that all the more than 2000 knowledgeable scientists working on LHC are so demented or in denial as to be incapable of assessing the danger of mass murder & suicide for themselves and their families. The essence of sanity is to be able to distinguish between what is possible  and what is probable , after all. (This is supposed to be easy, but in the modern world, I fear it is not.)
So forgive me, James; I believe you are sincerely worried, and on a mission to save the Earth, and I have to honor that even though I think your arguments are not convincing. I will continue to defend this front until I see more clearly, either here or in another dedicated article. Best, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 00:29, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Hello, Bill,

You state that you have some questions about or dispute points A, B and C. The following citations and relevant quotes support the assertions above, plus a brief summary of Dr. Otto E. Rossler's theory of fast accretion that was posted to LHCFacts.org

A. LHC Creates black holes as CERN Predicted (1 per second)
STUDY OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS EVENTS DURING HEAVY-ION COLLISIONS AT THE LHC
"... we see that the (4 + d) black hole will be produced if M is not much larger than 1 TeV."
The case for mini black holes, CERN Courier
"... the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could allow it to become a black-hole factory with a production rate as high as about one per second"
B. Micro Black holes do not evaporate as LSAG accepts is plausible.
LHC: what if ... ? Michelangelo Mangano CERN, TH-PH
"At the LHC, some [MBH] ... could start growing"
LHCSafetyAssessment.Group@cern.ch Sun 3/16/08 6:06 AM
"... we are not working under teh assumption that BHs decay. ...We are in fact working under the assumption that they are stable"
Dr. Adam D. Helfer Do black holes radiate?
"this prediction rests on two dubious assumptions..."
"no compelling theoretical case for or against radiation by black holes"
Dr. William G. Unruh and Prof. Ralf Schützhold On the Universality of the Hawking Effect
"Therefore, whether real black holes emit Hawking radiation or not remains an open question"
Prof. V.A. Belinski On the existence of quantum evaporation of a black hole
"...the effect [Hawking Radiation] does not exist."
James Blodgett (Masters Degree in Statistics) 2004 Delphi Study on LHC Risks
"I asked [15] physicists... estimates that Hawking radiation would fail ranged from 0% to 50%..." [average 9.9% doubt].
C. One or more micro black holes are captured by Earth's gravity as LSAG accepts as plausible.
LHC: what if ... ? Michelangelo Mangano CERN, TH-PH
"At the LHC, some of them [MBH] will have v<10 km/s, will be gravitationally trapped"
LHCSafetyAssessment.Group@cern.ch Sun 3/16/08 6:06 AM
"...particles that in head-on collisions ... find themselves at rest." [percentage of at rest results from head-on symmetric collisions unknown]
D. Micro Black holes grow exponentially as Dr. Otto E. Rossler's paper predicts and calculates.
Bill Wwheaton: "while Ressler predicts (& I agree) that a micro-BH inside the Earth would probably grow exponentially after reaching a certain size"
fyi: Professor Dr. Otto E. Rossler's theory is that when a MBH accretes a charged particle, say electron, this will not go straight into the MBH, but will circulate around the MBH for a while, and by doing this, a magnetic field will be created which will attract positive and negative charged particles, each at the opposite poles of the MBH, thus accelerating the accretion rate. He estimates potentially as few as 50 months from creation to full Earth accretion

--Jtankers (talk) 04:07, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Yo JT -- Thanks for all the refs. I have not had time to look at them, and cannot respond very quickly in any case, but I will try to as soon as may be. One general problem I see in your phrasing (and maybe thinking too, but I do not mean this as a personal attack: we all make mistakes, and need critical input....) is logic of the form "If P then (the probability of Z may be close to 100%)". This usage modifies the meaning of "probability" in a screwy way if the probability of P is small. When built into a chain, "If P then (if Q then (if R then (if S then ...(the probability of Z may be close to 100%)...)))" where the likelihoods of the antecedents may be small, then things get pretty nutty pretty quick. Anyhow, I think we should not panic at the appearance of "may be close to 100%" in such a context; tho 2×10-8 is already bad enough, IHMO. Best, Wwheaton (talk) 19:00, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Do you have any references that don't need to be misrepresented to back up the views expressed on your blog? I got through the first few refs you've provided, before giving up. You do realise that saying "Even if X were true, Y would still be false", does not imply that the writers feel X is is any way true, right? -- Mark Chovain 05:06, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
The assertion is merely that the concept is considered plausible and that it is not reasonable to exclude the possibility. In the case of Hawking Radiation the implication is that the net consensus of the cited authors is that the probability can probably be best estimated at 50% at most. But all that is asserted is only that the concept is plausible and not reasonable to exclude the possibility. --Jtankers (talk) 05:24, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Then at best, this whole thing is original research, because you still haven't provided a reference showing that there are valid safety concerns. Your refs do not say that it is plausible. Some say that micro black holes likely exist (at higher energies), while others say that even if they did exist at low energies, the LHC would still be safe. That is nothing like saying it is plausible that micro black holes will be created at a rate of 1 per second: an assumption your synthesis requires. -- Mark Chovain 05:59, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
The prediction of possible creation of micro black holes at a rate of 1 per second was posted on CERN's safety web site earlier in 2008. This prediction was also published in the CERN Courier and by other news sources: The case for mini black holes, CERN Courier Quote: "... the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could allow it to become a black-hole factory with a production rate as high as about one per second" I believe this indicates that the assertion is considered plausible by CERN. --Jtankers (talk) 12:09, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
But again, you've taken that out of context by failing to mention the qualification on it. -- Mark Chovain 12:22, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

RHIC risk estimates are quoted in the article as 1 in 50,000,000 based on the RHIC Safety Report assumption that the risk of micro black hole creation was 0%, which is not applicable to LHC assumptions and estimates. It is misleading to imply that LHC risk estimates might be similar. This reference should be clarified or removed.

Micro black hole creation by LHC is predicted as possible at the rate of one per second, and stable micro black hole creation is assumed for purposes of the new LHC Safety Assessment Group study. A new safety report has not been released, therefore the most strongly supported risk estimate at this time is the risk estimate contained in the lawsuit, computed by a statistician and submitted to US Federal Court estimating that the probability of catastrophic consequences to Earth as 75% with a very high degree of uncertainty. This percentage needs to be included in the article, or a clear clarification needs to be made that a 1 in 50,000,000 risk is not currently supportable with respect to operation of the LHC due to changed assumptions, higher energies and a lack of completed supporting safety studies related to the same. With clarification as to what risk probabilities are supportable with respect to LHC operation (removal of 1 in 50,000,000 references or addition of the lawsuit estimate of 75% with a very high degree of uncertainty), the safety content would otherwise be reasonably balanced in my opinion. --Jtankers (talk) 16:32, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Funding source[edit]

Who is paying for the project? -- Beland (talk) 18:05, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

The governments of the participating nations. Ever since its founding in 1954, CERN has received funding from its member nations, in accordance with the founding documents and subsequent agreements and amendments. Wealthier nations pay more, obviously. It would be interesting to have a list of contributors, not only CERN members, and the amounts of their contributions both to the accelerator proper, and to the very large experiments being readied. I believe Japan, Canada, and the US are involved at least, but there are several others. Each of the two largest experiments has about 35 nations involved in some way. The Wiki CERN article has little information on how costs are shared among members. Wwheaton (talk) 07:47, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Scope of article: a proposal[edit]

JTankers & All:

I am getting a little concerned that the safety issue is hopelessly off the subject of improvements to the article. It may well deserve an article of its own, but I am very uncomfortable with the topic taking over this one. Yet we keep going around in circles about it.

A paragraph giving a brief outline of the main points should be all that we need here; if you like with a link to a separate article about the controversy, where the technical and other issues can be discussed in detail.

I cannot claim to be neutral on the subject myself, but after looking at the references on JT's last post above, I think we have a POV problem. Personally I don't imagine anyone cannot have some feelings about the safety of the Earth, but this cannot be a soapbox, even for a cause as cosmic as this. Moving the discussion off to another article will not solve the problem, we will still have to fight it out (decently, I trust) there, but at least we can wall off the debate from this article, where it does not belong.

Writing a balanced, well sourced article on the subject will not be easy, and I cannot undertake it myself. Though I would hope to learn something watching it develop, and participate as much as I am able.

Cheers,

Bill Wwheaton (talk) 10:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The first hearing in US Federal Court in Hawaii (focused on the potential existential threat this experiment may pose to the planet) is scheduled for June 16, 2008. The Safety and legal issues surrounding this planned experiment may arguably be the most relevant topic related to the Large Hadron Collider at this time.
Note that the lawsuit also alleges the following on page 15 of AFFIDAVIT OF LUIS SANCHO IN SUPPORT OF TRO AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION:
"CERN has neither asked mankind to validate these experiments, nor has it been open and clear about those risks to the public. On the contrary it has systematically hidden evidence, and hence it is, in my opinion and hopefully that of this Court, liable of criminal negligence and occultation of proofs, as it carries about what amounts to a potential global genocide".
I think these issues are very relevant to the topic of the Large Hadron Collider, particularly at this time. --Jtankers (talk) 15:23, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
You've just ignored everything Bill said there, the court case is mentioned in the article. Khukri 18:29, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I am misunderstanding Bill's proposal. My comments were intended to balance the discussion and to help put the issue in context, particularly as the hearing in US Federal court concerning the safety issues is less than two weeks away. --Jtankers (talk) 18:42, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
My proposal is to (1) give the controversy over LHC safety a separate article of its own, (2) limit this one to the LHC's scientific and technical objectives, design, capabilities, operation, experiments, and results as they become available; and (3) link between them. I am not suggesting the safety discussion needs to be suppressed, but that it is essentially a different subject, bringing in many issues—social, political, risk versus benefits, and out-of-mainstream scientific possibilities—that are important and interesting, but threaten to make this article unbalanced.
A benefit for the LHC opponents would be that, in the proposed new article, details about the controversy would not be attacked as off-topic or need defending on that ground. I think the notability of the subject is beyond doubt, so I would expect no serious problems on that front. Of course they would still have to satisfy normal Wikipedia tests for NPOV, NOR, verifiability, and sourcing. An analogy would be that we do not make our article on evolution cover in detail the urgent and typically good-faith objections of many religious people, but we do have separate articles on such issues, to which Evolution links. Best, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 19:26, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
...safety discussion needs [not] to be suppressed... any reduction in the size and scope of safety issue as covered in the current article would be strongly opposed at this time in my opinion..., [Hello Bill, the safety issue is a primary issue related to the Large Hadron Collider in my opinion, and not just a marginally important side issue worthy of removal of most content from the article. I expect that you will continue your efforts to reduce the safety focus of this article, and I will also continue to oppose those efforts to do so. Cheers!]. --Jtankers (talk) 19:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I am not suggesting elimination of a brief, balanced summary of the issues here, though I guess I think it might be reduced a bit—to a single section, anyhow. But that is negotiable in my view. What I would really like is for the endless discussion on the talk page here to wind down. It would of course continue on the discussion page of the new article, and possibly even find some better focus there. Best, Wwheaton (talk) 22:12, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I suspect people might be putting undue weight on the court proceedings. To describe it as the most important topic regarding LHC at the moment is POV. AFAICT, the court does not even have jurisdiction, so any ruling will be symbolic, but unenforceable. The most important current topic is surely the cooling of the tunnel, right? The safety concerns are fringe stuff, similar in scale to claiming that nuclear weapons might be able to ignite the Earth's atmosphere (while scientists considered the possibility, they were able to rule it out). The thousands of high-energy particle physicists working on the project are the experts here, not some crank who makes good reading in the Sunday paper. -- Mark Chovain 23:22, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The suit is also against Fermilab and the DOE, which could have repurcussions as Fermilab provide some important parts to the accelerator. Khukri 06:56, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I think the compromise suggested by Mr Wheaton is a good one. You want the section expanded, while others want it removed. Mr Wheaton has suggested a compromise where the safety concerns have an opportunity to be expanded without getting too much in the way of an article on a scientific topic. Will you not even consider discussing any option that is not your preferred outcome? We need to reach a consensus here, and it's not going to happen if everyone sticks to their guns. -- Mark Chovain 23:31, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The safety article has been relatively stable for months, it is relevant, reasonable, balanced and the section is near the bottom of the article. The only section with a lower profile is construction accidents paragraph. I propose that the safety section be locked during the legal proceedings, as currently written due to the clear conflicts of interest involved with those who wish to alter the content, size, scope and/or tone of the safety section, then address the safety content after conclusion of the legal proceedings. --Jtankers (talk) 02:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Not sure that is technically feasible per se, as the software only allows articles to be protected. --Kralizec! (talk) 02:33, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Let's just agree not to touch it until we get more clarity. I won't, without giving due notice here. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 02:53, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree Bill, [with one exception, the 1 in 50,000,000 RHIC risk estimate may tend to imply similar risk estimates might be currently supportable with respect to LHC operation, discussion above under Rees & Close. Would the authors of that section like to propose a short term clarification that might be acceptable to both view points on the issue?] --Jtankers (talk) 05:08, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I think the 1:50,000,000 Rees number is near the threshold of acceptability (just my opinion, trying to balance costs [~140] and benefits [~1000 expended] measured in expected human lifetimes lost), and I personally know of no better number in the external literature that would serve as a reliable source, but I have not studied the literature much. (The reported CERN claim of "zero" is absurd, outrageous, and really a disservice to their cause, in my opinion.) Anyhow, I would keep the Rees estimate for now, as the most reputable number we have. Wwheaton (talk) 17:22, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the consensus seems to accept that a threshold around 1 chance in 50 million per year of catastrophic danger to Earth is a reasonable and acceptable risk and similar to or reasonable in the context of existing potentially catastrophic threats to Earth (a large meteor strike, global nuclear war, etc.). The issue is that we currently do not have reasonable evidence to support that LHC operation is anywhere near that reasonable and acceptable threshold. The lawsuit before US Federal Court alleges that the probability of danger from LHC operation can currently be reasonably calculated as being as high as 75% with a very high degree of uncertainty in the opinion of the plaintiff's experts. That 75% risk estimate is notable and relevant as it is alleged in the legal action currently before US Federal Courts.
The RHIC risk estimate noted in the article is not used to demonstrate what might be reasonable risk, it instead is used to demonstrate the estimated risk of RHIC operation and leaves the reader with the impression that a similar risk estimate may already be supportable with respect to LHC operation. Such evidence may soon be available to support a reasonable and acceptable risk level for LHC operation if the new LSAG safety report, which has not yet been released, can reasonably prove reasonable safety to the reasonable satisfaction of concerned scientists. But that has not yet been demonstrated. Thus there remains the potential for readers of this article to be mislead as to currently supportable risk estimates related to LHC operation. Thank you, --Jtankers (talk) 18:36, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I think an un-reviewed number from a lawsuit brief is not a reliable source, and would prefer to stick with what we have. It should not matter anyhow, since the court has the brief already before it. See what other editors say. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 19:58, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
We were thinking text along the lines of the following:
The legal petition before US Federal Court asserts that prior safety studies do not adequately address potential existential risks to the planet from operation of the Large Hadron Collider, and asserts that the probability could be estimated at closer to 50%. --Jtankers (talk) 00:30, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Would the following change be acceptable to put the RHIC risk estimates in better context? Would anyone strongly object to the change below:
Current Paragraph
The risk of a doomsday scenario was indicated by Sir Martin Rees, with respect to the RHIC, as being at least a 1 in 50,000,000 chance,[8] and by Professor Frank Close, with regards to (dangerous) strangelets, that "the chance of this happening is like you winning the major prize on the lottery 3 weeks in succession; the problem is that people believe it is possible to win the lottery 3 weeks in succession."[9] Accurate assessments of these risks are impossible due to the present incomplete, or even hypothetically flawed, standard model of particle physics (see also a list of unsolved problems in physics).[dubious ]
Proposed Paragraph:
The risk of a doomsday scenario was indicated by Sir Martin Rees, with respect to the RHIC, as being at least a 1 in 50,000,000 chance.[10][11] However risks with respect to LHC are based on new risk assumptions that opponents allege have not been adequately addressed. [12] Accurate assessments of risks are impossible due to the present incomplete, or even hypothetically flawed, standard model of particle physics (see also a list of unsolved problems in physics).[dubious ] --Jtankers (talk) 16:17, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I am not comfortable with the suggested change. The standard model has been surprisingly, almost shockingly, successful so far, and only necessarily breaks down at collision energies of the order of 1019 GeV, where general relativity must become important. This is hundreds of trillions of times higher than the LHC will go. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 02:59, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not. -- Mark Chovain 03:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Our issue is not with the standard model statement, that is already part of the article. The issue is that risk probabilities for RHIC are included but no risk probabilities for LHC, and the quote "the problem is..." that tends to suggest that the problem opponents have is with very low risk, when in fact the primary issue in court is that the risk calculations can currently be calculated as very high, closer to 50% because of currently unsupported, debunked or un-verified safety assumptions. --Jtankers (talk) 12:39, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

If "the safety issue is a primary issue related to the Large Hadron Collider, and not just a marginally important side issue", then it surely merits its own article. Far Canal (talk) 03:43, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

It's only a primary issue for a small group, and what extra material would you add to it now that doesn't sway it to one side of the argument or the other. Khukri 07:32, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Whether primary or secondary, I think it still makes sense to split it off. If essential, then it deserves its own space, where it can be developed in detail and debated properly, and if secondary but too large for the primary scientific & technical description, then not to unbalance the primary. Wwheaton (talk) 17:29, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Time travel and LOST[edit]

In this video-http://youtube.com/watch?v=9GIlM2mWBUc - the LOST producers talk about the LHc and that it's centred to the plot, timetravel wise. I couldn't find anything about it on the main page. Were they just misinformed when they talked about LHC and wormholes? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.200.108.5 (talk) 13:29, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, or they're deliberately making stuff up. The photograph they show is actually of the ATLAS detector, not the collider as such. Here's a higher quality copy of the same photo. I don't think even the LHC-will-destroy-the-world crowd has ever suggested that the collider will make wormholes or that the ATLAS detector poses any danger. -- BenRG (talk) 18:50, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

POV wording and organization[edit]

"However" is a word that should be avoided per wikipedia:words to avoid - The structure "AntiLHC-ProLHC-AntiLHC" is POV when both AntiLHC are redundant/similar - Using the title "Dr" is discouraged on wikipedia. This my rationale for modifying the safety issues section. --Phenylalanine (talk) 21:57, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The issue of credibility is significant, titles of opposition experts are germane to the issue. --Jtankers (talk) 22:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Alright, keep the titles, but the other issues need to be addressed. --Phenylalanine (talk) 22:51, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I undid undiscussed, misleading and factually erroneous content by --Phenylalanine (talk) including the following:
Factually incorrect: "No-one ever claimed that [Steven Hawking]'s proof of the decay is wrong, and that therefore [micro black holes] should be stable"
(see references above to several papers concluding no compelling case for Hawking radiation, including Prof. V.A. Belinski who states "...the effect [Hawking Radiation] does not exist.") --Jtankers (talk) 23:24, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Listen, CERN is talking about the "proof". The researchers you refer to don't demonstrate that the "proof" is wrong. --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I Request that user Phenylalanine be prevented from further editing of the article for repeated additions of factually incorrect information and making undiscussed changes. --Jtankers (talk) 01:06, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
This is not the place to make such requests. -- Mark Chovain 01:42, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
There has been a lot of tendential editing from both sides of the arguments in the past, and we have not stopped any editors from editing yet on this article. You would not appreciate it if someone disagreeing with your view point or addition of material requested to have you stopped from editing, so I kindly request you do not do the same. You have not refuted his argument, or asked him to prove it or verify it which in my mind would be the next logical step in a content dispute. Khukri 08:16, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that this was not a discussed issue, discussed as to how this could be misleading and exact proposed wording change has been on this discussion page above (Proposed Paragraph) since June 8th. However the net content appears more balanced now at this point. The "bad faith" comment is unwarranted in my opinion. I am assuming good faith, even knowing that the moderator is a CERN employee and CERN is currently being sued in US Federal Court over the LHC Safety issue (please correct me if I am wrong). Thank you --Jtankers (talk) 17:21, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I updated the legal reference to [13] that Khukri originally assisted with the syntax of when the case was originally filed.

Proposed no-edit agreement[edit]

How about we return to the text at 00:00 UTC 5 June 2008, as it was before I proposed to suspend editing pending further discussion in section "Scope of article: a proposal" above? I know James had a problem with the 1:50,000,000 Rees probability claim for RHIC being in this article, and I think his 50% fear is unwarranted and unacceptable in the article, though I have some empathy for his anxiety, which I have no doubt is genuine. But I think we should step back from edit warring and cool off while we still can (I hope). Since the argument is before the court already, repeating it (or not) here should not affect the outcome. I continue to think that an article devoted to the LHC safety issue would be a better place to treat this subject, where both sides could be fully developed without making the main LHC article unbalanced. Wwheaton (talk) 18:42, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I am against a separate article that tends to indicate that the safety issue is settled just as it is about to head to US Federal Court on June 16, 2008. The article is "reasonably balanced" as it is now. No view point is too over represented or too under-represented. Not perfect, but I would not be opposed to locking the article for two weeks as the article is currently written as of this post. --Jtankers (talk) 19:38, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I am OK with this compromise for two weeks. NB as there is no way to enforce our agreement except by restraint among us gentlefolk, I encourage other parties to the discussion to sign on if they are willing. I don't know what we do if new editors come in and wreak havoc in either direction; have a pow-wow here ASAP I guess. We could simply revert, with a reference to this discussion page in the edit summary. Best, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 22:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
No changes to current article (safety/risk issue, legal challenge or similar) for two weeks (until June 25th), enforced by reverts; I agree --Jtankers (talk) 23:02, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Hun!? Are you an administrator? Any useful material added to the article that complies with Wikipedia policies and guidelines must not be reverted. --Phenylalanine (talk) 06:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Suspending editing of parts of the encyclopaedia is counter-productive. We prevent edit warring by discussing changes, and not reverting blindly. -- Mark Chovain 07:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I'm afraid that non-edit agreements would essentially amount to the parties to the agreement asserting ownership of the article and locking everyone else out; this is not allowed on Wikipedia. However, if editors on both sides agree that the article in a certain form is pretty close to neutral, and work together to remove edits pulling it away from neutrality (even if they might agree with them personally), then the article can remain relatively stable; this is how things are done in the very best articles on highly-contentions subjects. But we don't shut articles down completely unless the usual wiki editing process has become completely dysfunctional. -- SCZenz (talk) 10:01, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Reverts without summary[edit]

Why is this revision being reverted? WP:WTA says to avoid the X; Y; However, X' construction.

This revision is better structured, and includes the same information. Why on Earth is it being reverted? -- Mark Chovain 01:39, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted it back just due to the fact the edit says Steven Hawking's radiation which is incorrect the radiation is not the property of Steven Hawking, it is a noun hence Hawking radiation is correct term. Khukri 08:24, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Unaddressed risk assumptions[edit]

With respect to the following text from the Saftey Concerns section:

However risks with respect to LHC are based on new risk assumptions that opponents allege have not been adequately addressed.["Sancho v. U.S. Department of Energy et al HI GILLMOR". ]

The only bit from that ref I can see that relates to the Rees and Close estimates is:

I would say that the risk is somewhat higher than these authors consider, since they did not take into consideration some of the safety factors that subsequently evaporated.

I have a number of concerns here:

  1. We're again using the "He said X; However, she said Y" construction.
  2. Is an affidavit a reliable source in this context? The affidavit is clearly his personal opinion, and has not been through any kind of peer-review or editorial process (he may be an expert in many fields including statistics and sociology, but point 8, for example, would never find its way into any of his papers). This is an affidavit, not a ruling (which has had input from a number of involved parties). He can claim that he believes Jos Engelen wears women's panties in there, if that's what he truly believes.
  3. Does the source even back up the claim in the article? The reference makes no claims about what "opponents allege". He does not talk about new risk assumptions. He claims that safety factors have evaporated, without elaborating.

-- Mark Chovain 07:48, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Good points related to expanding the safety arguments that have evaporated. In detail, these are the issues referred to in the statement: Safety/Risk Assumptions have changed significantly since RHIC risk probabilities were calculated:

Possibility of Micro Black Hole Production
NO, Not Possible: by 1999 Review of Speculative Disaster Scenarios at RHIC "In no case has any phenomenon suggestive of gravitational clumping, let alone gravitational collapse or the production of a singularity, been observed" ... "but for the foreseeable future values even remotely approaching unity are a pipe dream"
YES, Possible: by CERN "... microscopic black holes could be produced in the collisions at the LHC"
YES, Possible: by CERN Courier "the 14 TeV centre-of-mass energy of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could allow it to become a black-hole factory with a production rate as high as about one per second"
Assumption that Hawking Radiation is Valid
YES, Assumed by CERN "Black holes lose matter ... via a process discovered by Stephen Hawking. Any black hole ... that might be produced at the LHC, will shrink, evaporate and disappear"
NO, Not Assumed by LSAG "“At the LHC, some {MBH} … could start growing”"
NO, Not Assumed by Dr. Adam D. Helfer "no compelling theoretical case for or against radiation by black holes"
NO, Not Assumed by Dr. William G. Unruh and Prof. Ralf Schützhold "Therefore, whether real black holes emit Hawking radiation or not remains an open question"
NO, Not Assumed by Prof. V.A. Belinski "…the effect {Hawking Radiation} does not exist."
Assumption that Cosmic Rays Impacts with Earth prove safety:
YES, Assumed by CERN "Since the much higher-energy collisions provided by Nature for billions of years have not harmed the Earth, there is no reason to think that any phenomenon produced by the LHC will do so."
NO, Not Assumed by LSAG “Problems with using “cosmic rays hitting the Earth” to rule out Black Holes” ... they fly through the Earth like a neutrino)

I would not be opposed to updating and expanding on the allegations and references, except for the two week non-edit agreement while legal proceedings commence in US Federal Court (June 16), which seems reasonable in my opinion. Both sides are stating opposing safety and legal positions, and counter concerns also exist with respect to safety statements making implications of unconfirmed, unsupported and refuted assertions:

Evidence refutes [1.1] [1.1] the veracity of statement part 1.
1. "... physicists in general do not question the assumption that black holes are generally unstable"
Evidence refutes [2.1] [2.2] the veracity of statement part 2.
2. "... and those few who have pointed out issues with Hawking radiation were only attempting to achieve a more rigorous proof of it."
And statement 3. is not supported by a released safety report, only by a public information web page [3.1] and 'draft' safety outline [3.2] and is credibly refuted [3.3.
3 "... even if micro black holes were created and were stable, they would pose no reasonable threat to the Earth during its remaining 5 billion years of existence."

--Jtankers (talk) 18:48, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Err - am I meant to read all of that? What do you mean, "Evidence refutes [1.1] [1.1] the veracity of statement part 1." Part 1 of what? My comment? I pointed out we're using a particular argument construction that is discouraged on wikipedia. If I read your refs, am I going to no longer see that consturction? :-/ Basically, I don't see how anything you've said there addresses any of my concerns. I'll repeat with refereneces to the relevant policies:
  1. We are using wording that is strongly discouraged (see WP:AVOID)
  2. Affidavits do not meet the requirements of WP:RS
  3. The reference does not back up the claim being made. WP:OR prevents us from "joining the dots" between a bunch of disjoint references.

-- Mark Chovain 01:40, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I replaced with the title "Professor" instead of Dr. and linked to academic backgrounds, similar to what is used for: 'Sir Martin Rees" and "Professor Frank Close".
The claim is not logical to suggest that a sworn affidavit by a recognized expert submitted before US Federal Court directly addressing the concerns does not meet requirements, but a draft outline and public relations statement that is clearly refuted does meet those same requirements. Not an unbiased, logical or reasonable argument in my opinion. --Jtankers (talk) 12:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Ok. I'm going to pretend we're having a coherent two way exchange of information for a moment. As you quite rightly point out, the first concern is easily addressed by just removing "However". I'll drop the ref soon if no-one is able to explain, in terms of WP:RS, how an affidavit constitutes a reliable source. -- Mark Chovain 12:12, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Please explain how a public relations web site and a draft safety outline not intended for publication constitutes a reliable soure.
Please cite references to support "wholly apart from Hawking Radiation, micro black holes are expected to decay, based on CPT symmetry"
Unbiased moderation needed, requests by Mark Chovain to drop reference to sworn affidavit directly pertaining to the issues by a recognized expert currently before US Federal Court in Hawaii as being not a reliable source, while claiming [permitting] opposition public relations web sites and draft safety outlines not intended for publication are [to be referenced as] reliable sources. Not [How is this] acting in good faith? I protest and request mediation.

--Jtankers (talk) 12:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, can you please point me to where I claim "public relations web sites and draft safety outlines not intended for publication are reliable sources"? Please stop changing the subject, and do not ever put words in my mouth. -- Mark Chovain 23:32, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

If you want to learn about the mediation process, see WP:DR. I strongly advise you learn some more about wikipedia policies before taking that route though. -- Mark Chovain 23:34, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

The change related to the position of James Blodgett, coordinator of Global Risk Reduction special interest group of American Mensa, needs clarification that he does not consider RHIC risks valid predictors of LHC risks.

The original "However, risks with respect to LHC are based on new risk assumptions that opponents allege have not been adequately addressed. [14]", was changed to "James Blodgett, a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's ethics board, claims that Rees and Close underestimated the risk by failing to take some risk factors into account.[15]" could be more clearly stated as "James Blodgett, coordinator of Global Risk Reduction special interest group of American Mensa, alleges that Rees's and Close's estimates of RHIC risks are not applicable to the much higher energy Large Hadron Collider.[16][17]"

Firstly to clarify, this is the section where the discussion took place: My initial post stated, "The reference makes no claims about what "opponents allege". He does not talk about new risk assumptions. He claims that safety factors have evaporated, without elaborating." None of my three concerns, of which this was one, was addressed in the ensuing posts, every one of which went off on a tangent. I tried a number of times to pull the discussion back to the original post, but was unsuccessful every time. On a personal note, discussions are much more constructive if posts are concise, and address the concerns raised my the section creator. If another editor wants to raise extra new concerns, they should be raised in a separate section, so that separate concerns may be addressed and discussed separately.

The reasons I went with the lifeboat role, rather than the Mensa role, is that we don't need the inline external link, which are strongly discouraged. Another reason is similar to my objection to the use of titles or positions on Rees and Close. His claims are made in a personal capacity, not as part of his position within a Mensa: their his views, not those of Mensa. Identifying him as a Mensa member, smacks of "appeal to authority". As his views are not being expressed in neither an academic nor committee context, I'd be tempted to simply refer to him as a "critic of LHC". -- Mark Chovain 04:09, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

James Blodgett's primary role is as the coordinator of the Global Risk Reduction special interest group of American Mensa. It seems to me that the potential for "appeal to authority" is far stronger on the CERN side, where public relations web sites and draft of a safety report not even intended for publication carry such authority that these are even used as credible references for Wikipedia articles. --Jtankers (talk) 04:17, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

We don't turn a blind eye to policies and guidelines on a quid pro quo basis. If you have a concern with a reference, then voice that concern (explictly and concisely) in a new section, and we can discuss that separately. As an aside DO NOT edit your comments after someone else has responded. You have had this explained to you before. -- Mark Chovain 04:24, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I used the common literary editing technique of [Edit: modification] to make clear a correction was made, however I will try to avoid. The two references that I feel are dubious as credible are CERN Ask an Expert service, LHC and black holes? which is a public relations web site and LHC: what if ... ? which is a draft outline of a possible safety report that was not intended for publication. These references seem dubious to me, do these references really meet Wikipedia policy? --Jtankers (talk) 04:46, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

When modifying your comments, make sure you strike out the bits that you no longer want, rather than deleting them. It makes it clearer what others were responding to. Please don't hijack the discussion though. I'm not going to refactor your comments here for you. If you want to discuss those references, do so in a new section. This section is for discussing the concerns I have raised. You have not once addressed a single one of my concerns in this section; not a single one. Frankly, I'm getting really sick of seeing my attempts to discuss aspects of the article be rail-roaded by irrelevant responses. If you want to take part in discussions, then fine, but making me repeat myself over and over again is not constructive. -- Mark Chovain 05:02, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I thought I was addressing your concerns, but I will try to more directly address your questions point by point below, and good point, line through is a better technique for edits.

1. We're again using the "He said X; However, she said Y" construction.
As you said, we removed the word "However"
2. Is an affidavit a reliable source in this context? The affidavit is clearly his personal opinion, and has not been through any kind of peer-review or editorial process (he may be an expert in many fields including statistics and sociology, but point 8, for example, would never find its way into any of his papers). This is an affidavit, not a ruling (which has had input from a number of involved parties). He can claim that he believes Jos Engelen wears women's panties in there, if that's what he truly believes.
James Blodgett's statement of expert opinion is sworn, published and reviewed and addresses the safety concerns directly and balances CERN's statements of opinion immediately prior in the same paragraph. It is balanced in this context in my opinion.
3. Does the source even back up the claim in the article?
Strongly and repeatedly in the article references to peer reviewed academic papers and the 1999 RHIC Safety report.
3.1 The reference makes no claims about what "opponents allege".
James Blodgett directly addresses risk assumptions not addressed or changed since the 1999 RHIC safety report (primarily that the possibility of micro black hole production was completely ruled out by the RHIC safety report) which CERN currently references with respect to LHC.
3.2 He does not talk about new risk assumptions. He claims that safety factors have evaporated, without elaborating.
James Blodgett directly addresses primary new risk factors including much higher energies and the new assumption that LHC may have the possibility to create micro black holes which were completely ruled out as not possible by any conceivable collider by the RHIC safety report but now accepted as possible by CERN and LSAG.

--Jtankers (talk) 05:35, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Cool, 1. We're agreed, and there's no dispute there. 2. "James Blodgett's statement of expert opinion is sworn, published and reviewed". Can you point me to the review procedure for sworn affidavits? WP:RS requires some kind of review or editorial process. I'm happy with the ref if you can demonstrate that it has been through such a process. 3.1 The ref makes no statements about the opinions of others. He states his own opinions, with some references to explain why they are his opinions. He does not claim that his opinions are shared by the authors that he cites, and you'll find that most of the papers he cites come to very different conclusions to him. If you're happy with the text stating their his opinions, rather than the opinions of some non-specific group of people, then I think we're good here. 3.2 He says that assumptions were made in those estimates that no longer hold true. I'm happy with the new version of the text, but older versions claimed that the risk estimates are "based on new risk assumptions", which is not the same thing; in fact the old text didn't even make sense to me. I suspect we have no qualms here, if you're happy with the current wording. 4. I would like to add a new concern with the current text though: The use of the word, "far". I don't believe the affidavit expresses any opinion on the extent to which the risk is understated. I'd like to see that word go. -- Mark Chovain 06:01, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

James Blodgett argues in his affidavit "and that the risk is considerably higher than was thought until recently." I believe James Blodgett calculates the risk lower than co-plaintiff Walter L. Wagner who calculates the risks closer to 50% with a high degree of uncertainty. Would the term "considerably" that James Blodgett uses be more reasonable? --Jtankers (talk) 06:35, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

New risks estimates consider theories that predict possible micro black holes creation at LHC energy levels, 1999 RHIC safety report does not. RHIC only ruled out any possibility of micro black hole creation at conceivable energy levels, but did not address risks associated with micro black holes once created (capture by Earth's gravity or not, decay or not and growth rates slow or not) now that this prediction has changed 180 degrees from not conceivably possible to conceivably possible. If micro black hole creation is addressed in the paragraph, it should be after the RHIC risk estimate, otherwise the reader may be inclinded to assume that RHIC may have already addressed the safety of actually creating micro black holes. Proposed fix is to move concerns related to safety of creating micro black holes to after RHIC risk assessment which did not address the question: Are micro black holes safe to create? --Jtankers (talk) 16:26, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Titles on people's names[edit]

I think we should drop the academic titles on people's names. From WP:MOSBIO#Academic titles:

Academic and professional titles (such as "Doctor" or "Professor") should not be used [in any] uses of the person's name.

Including such titles tends to attach a certain POV, and has a slight "appeal to authority" smell to it. Readers can make up their own minds as to the authority of the reference without us pushing qualifications down their throats.

The use of honorific titles ("Sir") is considered more controversial. For Martin Rees, I suggest we follow the convention of his article, and drop the honorific. -- Mark Chovain 01:24, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Here's how I changed the titles:
"Sir Martin Rees" changed to "Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow"
Adam D. Helfer, professor of mathematics at the University of Missouri[31] argues that there is "no compelling theoretical case for or against radiation by black holes,"[32][33] and Otto E. Rossler, professor of theoretical biochemistry at the University of Tübingen,[34] calculates that Earth accretion by a micro black hole could take as little as 50 months.[35]
--Phenylalanine (talk) 01:41, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm still not completely convinced that the new version isn't subtly relying on an appeal to authority. If people want to see academics' qualifications, they can check out their respective WP articles. If people want to see the strengths of a certain viewpoint for which we have supplied evidence from a reliable source (in this case, [26] and [27]), they should be looking at the references we provide. We shouldn't be saying (well, implying) that, "this person's view is important because they are a senior academic". Their arguments should be able to stand on the merits of those arguments. As for Martin Rees, I don't think his honorific titles are important to this article: Science transcends honours bestowed by a hereditary power (ok, maybe I'm letting my own POV shine here ;)) - After the opening line in the article for Rees, he's simply referred to as "Rees". Like many in his position, he often drops the honorific title when publishing.[10][11] I don't think the article gains anything by calling him anything but "Martin Rees". -- Mark Chovain 02:56, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
With regards to Martin Rees, no objection if you want to remove the title. Regarding the other titles, look at any article in a scientific magazine, and you'll find the title "X, professor of Y at the University of Z", when a researcher is mentionned. It's the standard way to introduce scientists in articles. --Phenylalanine (talk) 03:07, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm good with that, then. I have made the changes I suggested in the previous section, too, and found it really hard to write without using a similar construction for Blodgett. I'll make the change. -- Mark Chovain 03:15, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Hmm - I've dropped the honorific from Rees, but still can't make up my mind on what I think of Close. Anyone have any other input? -- Mark Chovain 03:20, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
The more I think about this, the more I think we should either only use his name, or find a way of dropping his name entirely (not sure how to do that without resorting to weasel words though: "Some physicists claim..." :D). Here's my current reasoning:
  1. We are not like a magazine. People can see who Frank Close is, and what he said with the click of a button here; magazines need to be more specific in the article itself.
  2. Using "Professor" is explicitly discouraged by the WP:MOSBIO guideline. While it applies more to the Frank Close article itself, I think the vibe of it follows here.
  3. Using ", Professor of X at University Y" feels too wordy to me, and really smacks of an appeal to authority.
I know I'm just repeating early comments with points 2 and 3, and I still am not 100% behind them, but my gut feeling is that they are relevant.
Should we perhaps get another opinion here? We could post to WP:3O (this is exactly the kind of thing it's good for - getting an uninvolved opinion on a subtle and cool disagreement) or we could ask on one of the wikiprojects (not sure which would be best: WikiScience perhaps?) Ultimately, I'm not really all that fussed about this one. If you want to tell me I'm wrong, I'm happy to leave it as it is, but if you've got a shred of doubt like me, we should probably get the extra opinion. -- Mark Chovain 03:42, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that persons with sufficient notability to have Wikipedia articles linked to their names are in a different category than others. Martin Rees is Astronomer Royal, after all, but we do not have to call him that--anyone can click on his name to see it. Similarly for Frank Close. I think persons with sufficient notability to have their own article need less in the way of titles etc. Thus we can bend over backwards against undue deference to perceived authority without ignoring it altogether. Wwheaton (talk) 04:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Safety Concerns Content in Main Article[edit]

In any case, I continue to oppose extensive discussion of these issues in the article, or on this talk page, as off-topic, and renew my call for a separate article on the matter. Wwheaton (talk) 20:08, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree. A seperate article should be created to deal with the safety issues. The "safety concerns" section is too long compared to the other sections. LHC safety section should consist of one or two paragraphs, no more. --Phenylalanine (talk) 20:29, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. The calls for a separate article are from those opposing additional safety review. The final safety report has not even been released yet and the issue goes to court Monday. The safety issue is reasonable, relevant, relatively concise and is at the bottom of the article, I don't see a problem. --Jtankers (talk) 00:02, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I do not "oppose additional safety review". I do think that the safety issue is essentially different from the scientific and technical discussion of the facility. The latter has to do with issues of fundamental physics and the enabling engineering and technology, while the safety question brings in also a wide range of philosophical, social, legal, political, and epistemological questions that demand what may fairly be called "value judgments", and as such has the potential to be endlessly extended and expanded without any real possibility of clear resolution or closure. The issues raised in the safety discussion are not without intrinsic interest and importance, and I would not be surprised (or upset) if a separate article on the subject were longer than the physics/technical article that should link to it. But at the moment this discussion page is about five times larger than the article, and 20+ of the 31 sections relate to the safety question. That I think is not "reasonable, relevant, or relatively concise", and I object to it. Wwheaton (talk) 04:14, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Yep, the discussion page needs to be archived at this point. Also, what name would you propose for the new article on safety issues?
Wikipedia:Summary style:

In shorter articles, if one subtopic has much more text than another subtopic, that may be an indication that that subtopic should have its own page, with only a summary presented on the main page.

WP:Undue weight:

NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been ::::published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification: Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and will generally not include tiny-minority views at all. For example, the article on the Earth does not mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, a view of a distinct minority. We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. This applies not only to article text, but to images, external links, categories, and all other material as well. Undue weight applies to more than just viewpoints. Just as giving undue weight to a viewpoint is not neutral, so is giving undue weight to other verifiable and sourced statements. An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. Note that undue weight can be given in several ways, including, but not limited to, depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements.

--Phenylalanine (talk) 09:37, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Some editors have proposed proposed removing most safety content from the main article on the Large Hadron Collider, and moving most safety content to a separate page instead. I oppose this proposal, I believe that the safety issue is a significant and timely focus of the Large Hadron Collider, and the content is reasonably balanced as is. --Jtankers (talk) 10:38, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
A safety section banner proposing splitting the content off to a separate article was added today by apparent opponents of a safety review to determine if micro black holes are safe to create in high power particle colliders and allowed to be captured by Earth's gravity. This is an unsettled issue, and no final safety report has been released addressing this safety issue (are micro black holes safe to Earth?). Today the issue of the need for proof of safety primarily with respect to creation and capture of micro black holes goes before US Federal Judge US Federal Court Judge Helen Gillmor in Hawaii, and the vast majority of Large Hadron Collider content additions, changes and discussion related to the Large Hadron Collider in the last several months have been Safety related. In my opinion this topic is very germane to the main article, and arguably a primary focus related to the Large Hadron Collider currently. To reduce the safety footprint of the main article just as the safety issue is to be discussed in US Federal Court seems counter productive to me. --Jtankers (talk) 10:37, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
This is stupid. Even if a micro black hole was created and Hawking radiation did not dissipate the black hole, there is no sudden jump in gravity. For instance, if our sun went though some yet-unknown cosmological event and suddenly became a black hole, would the Earth be sucked in? No. The gravity is the same, just the density is greater and the object size is smaller. We would continue to orbit around the black hole, just as we did the sun. Therefore, would this micro black hole cause a doomsday scenario? I don't see how. Not to mention there are plenty of other reasons why this makes no sense. Just because someone comes up with a stupid theory and calls themselves a scientist does not mean the theory should be taken seriously. IF, and I do mean IF, the collision of particles at these speeds would create a micro black hole, this has certainly happened trillions of times before. The argument that human controlled collisions are somehow going to collide particles together more perfectly than any of the trillions upon trillions of collisions that occur every day, just on this planet alone, is absund on its face.
Also, it doesn't matter what the US federal courts say, they have no jurisdiction in this matter since this is a European project. These concerns should be mentioned in this article since they pertain directly to the LHC, but they dedserve little other than a mention. Also, the counter-argument to those concerns should also get equal weight, especially since they are more based in reality than these rediculous proposals.
I also am going to claim, since it is apparent to me that anyone can claim anything these days and get serious consideration, that the LHC will prove the existence of God. This may sound absurd, but this has just about as much merit as these doomsday scenarios. And if the doomsday scenarios get serious mention in this article, then my theory should to. I will come up with some BS science to support my theory so you can add it to the article. Come on people. It is great that we as a society are not just accepting the first thing we are told, but all we are doing is accepting the second thing, which in this case are these doomsday scenarios. Skepticism is great, but only when it is applied equally to both sides. That is all I have to say on this topic. Polypmaster (talk) 14:49, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
You're absolutely right. Now you just have to convince the single editor who thinks the safety concerns section needs to be more than two or three sentences long. Good luck with that. -- Mark Chovain 08:55, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Just to clear things up, here is what CERN says:

What would happen if a black hole created at the LHC turns out to be stable?

Most of the times it would simply pass through the Earth and disappear in the cosmos. This is because black holes from the LHC collisions typically travel very fast, and because early on they interact very weakly with matter. They behave like neutrinos, which can travel through several billion kilometres of iron before they hit something. A few will be slower, and will be trapped by the Earth's gravitational field. In this case, they will start accreting matter, but at a very slow rate.

http://askanexpert.web.cern.ch/AskAnExpert/en/Accelerators/LHCblackholes-en.html
--Phenylalanine (talk) 09:43, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Bosons are Massless.[edit]

I thought that bosons are massless particles by definition. In the research section, it is mentioned that they want to find the number of Higgs Bosons, and their masses. How can the masses be described if they are massless? I also thought that the Higgs Boson is thought to be responsible (by association with the Higgs Field) for other particles acquiring mass. Does this section need removing? Or am I wrong? -86.137.119.75 (talk) 17:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)James, Student

You're mistaken. Bosons are particles with integer spin by definition; there are many examples of massive bosons. (The pion is a composite particle with a mass from Quantum Chromodynamics, while the W and Z bosons are (as far as we know) fundamental particles with mass that is probably due to the Higgs mechanism or something similar.) The Standard Model does indeed predict that the Higgs field is responsible for various particles acquiring mass; it also predicts that the physical Higgs boson has a mass. -- SCZenz (talk) 18:14, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
No, bosons (named after the Indian physicist, Bose) have integral spin angular momentum; that is, 0, 1, 2, etc. The other type of elementary particle, fermions, named after Enrico Fermi, have half-odd spin: 1/2, 3/2, 5/2, etc. The spin-statistics theorem shows that fermions obey the Pauli exclusion principle, while bosons do not. This is the basic, defining point.
Some bosons are indeed massless (photon, graviton?, Higgs?) but most (pi mesons, Z0, W, helium-4 and all other atoms with even numbers of neutrons and protons) are not. The thing we call "matter" is generally composed of elementary fermions, while elementary bosons are the quanta of fields. The Higgs is massless in the simplest versions of the theory, but I believe massive Higgs particles remain a possibility. At the moment, as far as I know, it does appear that all fermions have mass, though neutrinos have been in doubt until recently. Wwheaton (talk) 18:46, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
You're mistaken too. The Higgs boson is massive by definition; there's no way to come out with zero mass in any version of the theory. And according to quantum field theory, our best current theoretical understanding of particle physics, both fermions and bosons are quanta of (different) fields. -- SCZenz (talk) 18:57, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
(It's possible that a point of confusion is that the Higgs field, as initially put into the Lagrangian, appears massless... as indeed, do all other particles at that stage. However, when one works through the math to find the physical particles, the one remaining component of the Higgs field (which we call the physical Higgs boson), does indeed have a mass.) -- SCZenz (talk) 19:01, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Silly me, where were my sleepy brains this morning? I was thinking charge, not mass re, the Higgs. The mass of the Higgs is constrained below, I think to about 115 GeV, by the fact that it has not been clearly seen by the experiments at the CERN LEP and Fermilab Tevatron. The simplest version of the Standard Model constrains its mass to be below 144 GeV. If it is over 1 TeV, then some violence to the standard model will be needed. In any case, the LHC really should have enough energy to produce it -- confirming its existence is considered in some quarters the "most boring possible result" of the LHC's construction. Wwheaton (talk) 20:49, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for clearing that up for me!86.137.119.75 (talk) 10:09, 19 June 2008 (UTC)James, Student

Breaking the speed of light.[edit]

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but if you calculate the speed that a proton is supposedly traveling in the collider using the circumference given (27 km) and the time it supposedly takes to travel around the collider (less than 90 seconds) you get that it must be traveling at least 300,000,000 m/s, which is just over the speed of light. Anyways, I imagine this is somewhat less than correct, though perhaps the 27 km figure just does not have enough sig figs, since the protons are supposed to traveling just under the speed of light. DavidR163 (talk) 03:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)DavidR163DavidR163 (talk) 03:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Right, the problem is rounding error. In a race around the track between a 7 TeV proton and a light beam, the proton would lose by less than a millimeter. (Also, the time for a single circuit of the ring is around 1/10000 sec.) Wwheaton (talk) 03:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Flipping the switch in October now?[edit]

I really think if they continue push the activation date back, the Scientists working on the Collider, gain the common sense that the destruction of earth is on their heads and even the slightest possibility of a black hole or strangelet threatens the survival of the human race and every organism on it, decide "not" to turn it on and 6 billion dollars wasted that could have put towards creating a cure for cancer or HIV, AIDS, world hunger, global warming, space exploration, time travel and many other things that are helpful in other fields of science.
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