Large Hadron Collider – physics teachers take note

I read an article today in a newspaper (I was at my in-laws house, where no internet exists and all information is relayed in newsprint or from TV services!) about the Large Hadron Collider, an incredible engineering feat that is going to be switched on this Wednesday. According to this article, we all better be making the most of the next few days because they could be our last.  

I’ve read a bit about it since, and I’m not even going to pretend that I fully understand what it’s purpose is. My limited knowledge can tell you that scientists are trying to gain a greater understanding of the origins of the universe by pinpointing particles of Dark Matter which are thought to permeate the universe. The article that I read today suggested that switching it on could result in earth being sucked into a giant black hole instantaneously. Cheery stuff really. Other news reports are saying there is nothing to fear. in an article titled ‘Wednesday not doomsday’, reports this about what will happen on Wednesday;

The LHC, installed in a 27-kilometre (16.9-mile) tunnel on the French-Swiss border, is to start unleashing a beam of protons next Wednesday in the first stage of its commissioning process.

Two parallel beams of particles, one going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise, will blast around the underground ring.

At four locations on the ring, superconducting magnets will bend the beams so that groups of protons smash into each other in a giant chamber which is swathed with detectors to record the resulting sub-atomic debris.

It goes on to say we have nothing to fear;

The new Safety Assessment Report says that any black holes produced by the collider would be “microscopic” and decay almost immediately, as they would lack the energy to grow or even be sustained.

“Each collision of a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes, so any black hole produced would be much smaller than those known to astrophysicists,” it says.

I’ll be interested to see the media coverage that results on Wednesday, assuming we’re all around still to be taking notice! What’s also interesting is this LHC Rap that has been posted on YouTube explaining what the Large Hadron Collider is all about. Kate McAlpine put this together – I think Physics teachers around the world should be sending her thank you notes for doing this. What a great way to transfer meaning about what to me is a complicated idea. It makes me think that this would be a great activity for students to do – explain a process as a rap, act it out and post it to YouTube. Share it with the world and help students everywhere gain understanding of concepts and enjoy it at the same time. 

When I was searching for information for this post I used Silobreaker, a search engine with a focus on news results. Great returns, interesting layout with lots of visuals; well worth adding to your list of alternative search engines to use.

2 Replies to “Large Hadron Collider – physics teachers take note”

  1. The safety opposition alleges CERN is not being fully open and honest about the facts, about the certainty of safety or the credibility of the scientists who calculate a reasonable probability of catastrophic danger.

    The safety arguments are based on disputed physics including Hawking Radiation (refuted by multiple papers as flawed conjecture, does not exist) and disputed cosmic ray arguments (if micro black holes are created by head-on collissions in particle colliders they might travel too slowly to escape Earth, unlike cosmic ray created particles that may not be stopped by any of the stable bodies we see in the universe).

    A Brief History of LHC safety issues follows:

    In 2004 CERN announced the possibility that micro black holes might be created by the Large Hadron Collider possibly at a rate of one per second but believed they would evaporate.[2]

    Several physicists wrote papers concluding that black holes do not radiate.[1][3][10]

    In 2007, former cosmic ray researcher and Nuclear Safety Officer Walter L. Wagner discovered flaws with CERN’s safety arguments. He believes that the Large Hadron Collider might create dangerous particles including strangelets possibly with Earth destroying potential, he filed a US Federal law suit to require proof of safety after CERN failed to deliver a promised safety report.[5]

    In response, CERN scientists created a safety report in 2008 that argues no real chance of danger. [6]

    After review, German Astrophysicist (Physics PHD) Dr. Rainer Plaga argues that CERN’s new report does not prove safety. Dr. Plaga proposes that CERN follow additional safety procedures to help reduce the danger, including proceeding slowly. [7]

    On August 14th, CERN’s Dr. Jonathan Ellis stated that there is no real danger and they will not proceed slowly, collisions will begin in a few weeks. [8] (Collisions are probably not possible that soon, CERN does not tend to meet their own time schedules).

    Another German scientist famous for contributions to Chaos theory, founder of Endophysics and visiting professor of physics Dr. Otto E. Rössler theorizes that if micro black holes are created in the Large Hadron Collider, they could grow large enough to destroy Earth in decades or centuries.[9]

    Dr. Rössler requests that an emergency safety conference be held before collisions begin.[11]

    On August 26, 2008, suit was filed against CERN in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg alleging the Large Hadron Collider poses grave safety risks.[12]

    [1] Do black holes radiate?. Dr. Adam Helfer (2003)

    [2] The case for mini black holes, CERN Courier (2004)

    [3], On the existence of black hole evaporationyet again, Prof. VA Belinski (2006)

    [4] What the Experts Say (2008)

    [5] US Federal Lawsuit Filings – Walter L. Wagner (2008)

    [6] The safety of the LHC, Web Site – CERN (2008)

    [7] On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders – Rainer Plaga Rebuttal (2008)

    [8] CERN?s Dr. Ellis tells only half of the story – (2008)

    [9] Abraham-Solution to Schwarzschild Metric Implies That CERN Miniblack Holes Pose a Planetary Risk, Prof. Dr. Otto Rossler (2008)

    [10] A Rational and Moral and Spiritual Dilemma – Otto E. Rössler Safety Counter Arguments (2008)

    [11] Safety of the Large Hadron Collider (2008)

    [12] European Legal Action (2008)

    [13] Scientific Peer Review to Inform Regulatory Decision Making: A European Perspective (2006)

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