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Q & A: Black holes at CERN?

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Most recent answer: 05/23/2010
Q:
I was told cern has created small black holes that last a few seconds. If everything in the universe is based on a similar pattern from great to small; and if the biggest black hole is a quasar; could it be possible that at the center of every atom is a black hole? when the particals collide the very small amount of matter rushes in to expand the hole large enough to be seen for a second by the cern team?
- ray koonce (age 36)
Taylorville,IL. U.S.A.
A:
The tale of production of black holes at accelerators has evolved into the status of an urban legend.  The succession of higher energy accelerators from Fermilab to RHIC at Brookhaven  to the LHC at CERN has always been accompanied by fear mongers.  It ain't so.   I was at CERN last week and talked with colleagues at the ATLAS experiment.  They would be overjoyed if they saw something like that but don't have any champagne in the refrigerator reserved for it.  They are waiting for the Higgs particle.

As you know, black holes are enormously massive objects.  They are usually hundreds of millions or billions more massive than our Sun.   Astronomers are certain that one exists near the center of our galaxy.  But to make them in the lab, no way.   The forces and masses are not big enough.

For some information see:  http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/milky-way/the-milky-ways-black-hole/

LeeH

It may be that particle collisions could create extremely small black holes, of about the same mass as any of the other particles produced in the collisions.  Some CERN scientists have expressed optimism about creating these:


They wouldn't be dangerous, since if they can be made by these collisions, cosmic ray collisions would have been making them all along without making problems. They should evaporate very quickly via quantum tunneling, called Hawking radiation in this context.
Mike W.

(published on 05/23/2010)

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