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Playing with fire in Switzerland... or when nothing else (anti-)matters...

Stargazer2006

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NOTE: I didn't want to go off topic in the Japanese projects thread, so I prefer to continue here...

Skyraider3D said:
I wasn't worried before, but now I wonder if I should be! How long does it take for a black hole in Switzerland to absorb Surrey, UK? ;)

There's enough going on in this world for me not to give it too much thinking... but when I do, it DOES seem worrisome that these guys are playing wizard with something whose effects are still unfathomed... and without any possibility of going back, should it go wrong. I am no scientist or astrophysicist, but I think a black hole, whatever its size, can and will eventually swallow everything in. If they end up with a black hole the size of, say, a football, who can tell if it will be days or seconds until the whole of Europe disappears from the map. And who knows when and IF it stops at all? From what I heard, as long as there is matter around, the anti-matter does its thing... Scary indeed. You'd think that with hindsight on how studying the atom resulted in terror, the world's scientists would know better than playing with fire, but I guess some guys think a Nobel prize (or new military applications, whatever) are more important than to safeguard our planet and everything/everyone in it.
 

TomS

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Stargazer2006 said:
NOTE: I didn't want to go off topic in the Japanese projects thread, so I prefer to continue here...

Skyraider3D said:
I wasn't worried before, but now I wonder if I should be! How long does it take for a black hole in Switzerland to absorb Surrey, UK? ;)

There's enough going on in this world for me not to give it too much thinking... but when I do, it DOES seem worrisome that these guys are playing wizard with something whose effects are still unfathomed... and without any possibility of going back, should it go wrong. I am no scientist or astrophysicist, but I think a black hole, whatever its size, can and will eventually swallow everything in. If they end up with a black hole the size of, say, a football, who can tell if it will be days or seconds until the whole of Europe disappears from the map. And who knows when and IF it stops at all? From what I heard, as long as there is matter around, the anti-matter does its thing... Scary indeed. You'd think that with hindsight on how studying the atom resulted in terror, the world's scientists would know better than playing with fire, but I guess some guys think a Nobel prize (or new military applications, whatever) are more important than to safeguard our planet and everything/everyone in it.

How can I say this politely? You have no idea what you're talking about.

1) It's not even certain that LHC collisions will produce black holes at all.

2) If they are created, they'd be the result of proton-proton collisions and thus be subatomic in scale, not "the size of a football"

3) Black holes lose mass constantly via Hawking radiation, which means that they only remain around as long as they absorb matter to replace the losses. The smaller the hole, the faster it evaporates; a subatomic black holwe woudn't last long enough to absob any new matter.

4) Even if you did get a stable subatomic black hole (just barely theoretically possible), it would interact so weakly with the Earth that it would not be noticeable. Contrary to "common sense," gravity is actually a very weak force at the subatomic level. A black hole smaller than a proton would have essentially no gravitational pull and it would actually be too small to absorb most other particles.

Now, how can we be confident about these assumptions? Because the high energy beams produced by the LHC are similar in power to energetic cosmic rays, which already hit the Earth on a regular basis, meaning that millions of LHC-type collisions have already occurred in Earth's history. If colliding cosmic rays were going to produce dangerous black holes, it would already have happened and we wouldn't be here talking about it. The only difference between LHC and cosmic rays is that the LHC collisions happen in a controlled environment for easy observation.

Antimatter is even less of a worry. Contrary to your post, antimatter doesn't hang around continuously destroying matter it comes into contact with. When matter and antimatter collide, both are destroyed, resulting in a burst of high-energy photons and occasionally neutrinos in very energetic events. The most the LHC could do is cause a microscopic explosion and nothing more--which is exactly what it's designed to do anyway. The total energy levels we're talking about are on the order of a mosquito in flight, so not exactly dangerous even in a worst-case scenario. There are already plenty of experiments that store larger amounts of antimatter particles than would be produced by the LHC, but the largest are working with quantities measured in fractions of a picogram (a trillionth of a gram). That's enough energy to light a lightbulb for a second, at most.
 

Stargazer2006

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TomS said:
How can I say this politely? You have no idea what you're talking about.

Did I pretend I was an expert?

Stargazer2006 said:
I am no scientist or astrophysicist

I was merely voicing the worries of the average guy hearing contradictory echoes from various scientists and journalists, hoping that the guys there really know what they're about. Please note that this was posted in "The Bar", as an acknowledgement of the non-authoritative value of my opinion.

Anyhow... isn't it fine that this forum enables ignorants like me to be enlightened by knowledgeable people like you? ;)
 

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Stargazer2006, it's OK to be concerned about egotistical scientists messing with nuclear sh_t they don't understand (if they did,they wouldn't need to experiment!) while happily wasting billions of other peoples money, as a measure of their blatant denial of the immediate, solvable problems of the world.

I don't remember being asked if I wanted to pay for this - do you? (just glad I don't live in Europe anymore). If scientists can't justify their projects in laymen's terms, they shouldn't take laymen's money, much less put them at unknown (to us) risk.

Cheers, Woody
 

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Woody said:
Stargazer2006, it's OK to be concerned about egotistical scientists messing with nuclear sh_t they don't understand (if they did,they wouldn't need to experiment!) while happily wasting billions of other peoples money, as a measure of their blatant denial of the immediate, solvable problems of the world.

I don't remember being asked if I wanted to pay for this - do you? (just glad I don't live in Europe anymore). If scientists can't justify their projects in laymen's terms, they shouldn't take laymen's money, much less put them at unknown (to us) risk.

Now, replace every instance of "scientist" with "politician," ""community organizer" or "government bureaucrat."

I'm uncertain of the breakdown of the spending of the national government of, say, Switzerland, but I suspect that spending on the LHC is a tiny pittance compared to social welfare spending. And I'm far more worried about the long-term deleterious effect of *that* than of the magical fear of black holes.
 

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Woody said:
I don't remember being asked if I wanted to pay for this - do you? (just glad I don't live in Europe anymore). If scientists can't justify their projects in laymen's terms, they shouldn't take laymen's money, much less put them at unknown (to us) risk.

This is a pretty amusing comment from someone on a site dedicated to esoteric aircraft projects, many of which have objectives that could not be easily explained to the layman.
 

Justo Miranda

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No need to be alarmed. The Geneva scientists are of the civil servant type. They are usually more interested in keeping their jobs, analyzing data, than in publishing new discoveries that might provoke the ecologists or provide arguments to the religious leaders for cutting their budgets.

Would they be in the NASA, they would use the Mercury orbit to launch a space probe to Saturn, thus extending the length of the project as much as possible.
They would not discover or publish anything useful, specially nothing related to gravity and the Higgs Boson.
Nobody wishes to be Darwin nowadays.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Now, replace every instance of "scientist" with "politician," ""community organizer" or "government bureaucrat.

Ideally I'd like all to be accountable and responsible, but in the land of Fox & Friends I guess you're better off in your desert hide away with your guns.

[quote author=Toms]This is a pretty amusing comment from someone on a site dedicated to esoteric aircraft projects, many of which have objectives that could not be easily explained to the layman.[/quote]

These exotic aircraft were usually justified on the premise that they protected us from a greater evil, presumably delivering us paradise, but usually the journey was more exciting than the destination - don't you agree?

Cheers, Woody
 

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Woody said:
Orionblamblam said:
Now, replace every instance of "scientist" with "politician," ""community organizer" or "government bureaucrat.

Ideally I'd like all to be accountable and responsible, but in the land of Fox & Friends I guess you're better off in your desert hide away with your guns.Cheers, Woody

Better in the desert than waiting in the cheese line for your next handout from His Highness.
 

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Woody said:
........scientists messing with nuclear sh_t they don't understand .......

"OF COURSE we're messing with powers we don't understand. If we understood them, it would be engineering, not science" ;)

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
 

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To be correct, they know exactly what they are doing, they are verifying theories.
The main objective is to find the Higgs-boson, the particle that gives mass to all other particles.
It is a big mystery why mass exists. A lot of scientists believe that this particle can explain why is exist.
The only problem is that it needs a lot of energy to be created.
That is why the LHC is so big.

About the cosmic radiation; we get bombarded with particles from other space constantly. Neutrinos from the Sun and deep-space go right thru us with millions per square centimeter per second. These particles react to almost nothing, they can get thru light-years of lead without ever noticing it is there.
Only protons, neutrons or electrons that come from the sun or deep-space can do any damage. Almost all of them hit the atmosphere and explode there with forces thousands to millions of time harder then the LHC can produce. I don't see billions of black holes in orbit, do you?

The LHC is an international project, supported by many countries in the world. If you worry how much of your taxdollars is 'wasted' on it. Lets say your garbage-disposal-taxes has cost more then your 'contribution' to the LHC. Scientists are more then happy to explain what they do to laymen, if only the laymen are willing to get the basic facts straight. Ignorance and arrogance are never a winning couple...
 

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Woody said:
Orionblamblam said:
Now, replace every instance of "scientist" with "politician," ""community organizer" or "government bureaucrat.

Ideally I'd like all to be accountable and responsible, but in the land of Fox & Friends I guess you're better off in your desert hide away with your guns.

Well, that was pretty random...
 

Orionblamblam

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TomS said:
Black holes lose mass constantly via Hawking radiation, which means that they only remain around as long as they absorb matter to replace the losses. The smaller the hole, the faster it evaporates; a subatomic black holwe woudn't last long enough to absob any new matter.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010518150717/http://www.kressworks.com/Science/A_black_hole_ate_my_planet.htm

Well, the smallest possible black hole is around 10-35 metres across (the so-called Planck Length). Anything smaller just gets wiped out by the quantum fluctuations in space-time around it. But even such a tiny black hole would weigh around 10 micrograms--about the same as a speck of dust. To create objects with so much mass by collisions in a particle accelerator demands energies of 1019 giga-electronvolts, so the most powerful existing collider is ten million billion times too feeble to make a black hole. Scaling up today's technology, we would need an accelerator as big as the Galaxy to do it.

And even then, the resulting black hole wouldn't be big enough to swallow the Earth. Such a tiny black hole would evaporate in 10-42 seconds in a blast of Hawking radiation, a process discovered by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s. To last long enough even to begin sucking in matter rather than going off pop, a black hole would have to be many orders of magnitude bigger. According to Cliff Pickover, author of Black Holes: A Traveler's Guide, "Even a black hole with the mass of Mount Everest would have a radius of only about 10-15 metres, roughly the size of an atomic nucleus. Current thinking is that it would be hard for such a black hole to swallow anything at all--even consuming a proton or neutron would be difficult."

So we needn't lose sleep about creating an Earth-eating black hole in an accelerator. But according to John Wheeler of Princeton University, there is another way: detonating a big hydrogen bomb. He showed that the pressures generated by a suitable explosion could crush matter to the densities needed (around 1017 kilograms per cubic metre) to stand a chance of creating a black hole. However, Wheeler estimated that a "suitable" H-bomb would require all the heavy water in the oceans, and weigh many billions of tonnes. Some bomb.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Woody said:
Stargazer2006, it's OK to be concerned about egotistical scientists messing with nuclear sh_t they don't understand (if they did,they wouldn't need to experiment!) while happily wasting billions of other peoples money, as a measure of their blatant denial of the immediate, solvable problems of the world.

The only ego I can detect so far is yours, Woody.

Woody said:
I don't remember being asked if I wanted to pay for this - do you?

Yes, this is how Western democracy works. You vote for a representative who makes decisions on your behalf. Do you really want to be compelled to research and vote on every single banal decision?

Woody said:
(just glad I don't live in Europe anymore).

I'm pretty sure Europe returns the sentiment.
 

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overscan said:
(just glad I don't live in Europe anymore).

I'm pretty sure Europe returns the sentiment.

Europe's a beautiful place if you can get past the bureaucratic super government - fifteen steps removed from their 'democratic' voters - perhaps, Orionblamblam, even you'd agree (PS: love your aircraft posts).

I just think there are much more productive (and less dangerous?) engineering challenges to be funded than finding the modern equivalent of how many angels can stand on the point of a pin.

However you slice it, creating black holes (theoretical objects themselves) is a scary prospect.

Anyway, all this Higgs-Boson, dark-matter, super-string, gravity-wave stuff will all sound pretty dumb as soon as the next astrophysics superstar comes along.

Cheers, Woody
 

Orionblamblam

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Woody said:
However you slice it, creating black holes (theoretical objects themselves) is a scary prospect.

Wrong on both counts.
1) Black holes are not "theoretical." They are observed.
2) Creating them is not a scary prospect, since it is many orders of magnitude beyond our capability to create a meaningful black hole.

Anyway, all this Higgs-Boson, dark-matter, super-string, gravity-wave stuff will all sound pretty dumb as soon as the next astrophysics superstar comes along.
And when will that be, exactly? Give us a date, and show your work.
 

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E=0.000000000000001 kg (300,000,000 m/s)²

E=90 joules ;D

assuming that the body is static

if the body is in motion at near light speeds, apply lorentz equation for mass

if the object is in motion at 1/10 speed of light. . .

90/√(1-30000000²/300000000²)=90.45 joules

since mass isn't constant at varying speeds
 

Stargazer2006

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Orionblamblam said:
Creating them is not a scary prospect, since it is many orders of magnitude beyond our capability to create a meaningful black hole.

I know by now you're a nuke lover, OBB, but surely, you never stroke me as naive.

Mastering the atom wasn't such a scary prospect if you heard the scientists of the 1920s and 1930s. And the possibility of it becoming real certainly seemed eons away at the time, yet it was only a matter of years when the bomb was dropped.

We all know that once science meets (or rather, is recuperated by) the military, the danger becomes very real. As soon as someone knows how to create a black hole, and as soon as they can come up with a way to determine the size of the resulting vortex (or whatever you call it) the military will request a weapon that can be launched on a target and swallow up everything within a determined range. And there will be people wondering how we let that happen.

The only one that did not express an ounce of regret was Paul Tibbetts, the guy who dropped the first A-bomb. But let us not forget that even Oppenheimer expressed regret at the thought of what his discoveries had made possible. I think some areas of "knowledge" are better left untouched by a decidedly war-like species like ours.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
I was merely voicing the worries of the average guy hearing contradictory echoes from various scientists and journalists, hoping that the guys there really know what they're about.

There's the problem - whilst most scientist have a very good idea of what they're talking about, most journalists either don't - or won't let their knowledge get in the way of a good story.
 

starviking

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Stargazer2006 said:
We all know that once science meets (or rather, is recuperated by) the military, the danger becomes very real. As soon as someone knows how to create a black hole, and as soon as they can come up with a way to determine the size of the resulting vortex (or whatever you call it) the military will request a weapon that can be launched on a target and swallow up everything within a determined range. And there will be people wondering how we let that happen.

Two points - first if we could make a portable generator that could produce the energy required to make an effective black hole 'weapon', we could more easily just attach it to a laser and have a far more safer, but no less deadly weapon.

Second. Any black hole capable of 'swallowing up' a military target will continue to grow until it has absorbed the whole Earth.
 

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starviking said:
Any black hole capable of 'swallowing up' a military target will continue to grow until it has absorbed the whole Earth.

Well, you're saying exactly the opposite of what someone else said earlier on in this thread, i.e. once a black hole has reached a certain mass it stops swallowing stuff!

Well, the smallest possible black hole is around 10-35 metres across (the so-called Planck Length). Anything smaller just gets wiped out by the quantum fluctuations in space-time around it. But even such a tiny black hole would weigh around 10 micrograms--about the same as a speck of dust. To create objects with so much mass by collisions in a particle accelerator demands energies of 1019 giga-electronvolts, so the most powerful existing collider is ten million billion times too feeble to make a black hole. Scaling up today's technology, we would need an accelerator as big as the Galaxy to do it.

And even then, the resulting black hole wouldn't be big enough to swallow the Earth. Such a tiny black hole would evaporate in 10-42 seconds in a blast of Hawking radiation, a process discovered by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s. To last long enough even to begin sucking in matter rather than going off pop, a black hole would have to be many orders of magnitude bigger. According to Cliff Pickover, author of Black Holes: A Traveler's Guide, "Even a black hole with the mass of Mount Everest would have a radius of only about 10-15 metres, roughly the size of an atomic nucleus. Current thinking is that it would be hard for such a black hole to swallow anything at all--even consuming a proton or neutron would be difficult."
 

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Stargazer,

please read what you posted.

You talked about a black hole capable of 'swallowing up a target', a Mount Everest mass black hole is not in that category at all..
 
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I think you should be more worried about the DoD producing an antimatter weapon than a black hole weapon....

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/10/04/MNGM393GPK1.DTL
 

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The text 1°) wasn't mine (only quoted from earlier in the thread), and 2°) was only quoted with the purpose to expose a different theory according to which a black hole stops swallowing stuff at some point... the exact opposite notion of an all-devouring black hole as starviking envisioned it.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
The text 1°) wasn't mine (only quoted from earlier in the thread), and 2°) was only quoted with the purpose to expose a different theory according to which a black hole stops swallowing stuff at some point... the exact opposite notion of an all-devouring black hole as starviking envisioned it.

Stargazer, you said:

"the military will request a weapon that can be launched on a target and swallow up everything within a determined range. And there will be people wondering how we let that happen."

I pointed out that to have such an effect such a black hole would have to be so large that it would continue growing until the Earth had been absorbed - the Mount Everest mass black hole in your quote is nowhere near as large as the 'military' black hole you mused upon.
 

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I hope this thread is not going to get out of hand.

Bailey (Moderator)
 

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Bailey said:
I hope this thread is not going to get out of hand.

Bailey (Moderator)

I have 'flamed down' my last post, so I hope your hope is realised.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
I know by now you're a nuke lover, OBB, but surely, you never stroke me as naive.

I suggest you re-read what I posted before. The best we as a species could do today is create a black hole with the mass of a small number of protons. But any black hole with a mass less than a speck of dust - many, many orders of magnitude greater than what can be achieved - is simply excluded from existence by quantum mechanics. And Hawking radiation would wipe out a dust-speck-sized black hole long before it could even *try* to swallow so much as an electron. The smallest black hole that could conceivably swallow so much as a proton would have the mass of a *mountain.* And even that black hole would have an exceedingly short lifetime due to Hawking radiation.

We cannot conceived of creating a black hole with the mass of a speck of dust. And you're worried about creating one with the mass of a *mountain?* The particle accelerator required to create such a black hole would have dimensions measurable in *light* *years.*

It is not naive to not worry about things that are not only physically impossible currently, but physically impossible for any species less powerful than gods.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
We cannot conceived of creating a black hole with the mass of a speck of dust. And you're worried about creating one with the mass of a *mountain?* The particle accelerator required to create such a black hole would have dimensions measurable in *light* *years.*

I thought the size of the accelerator could be significantly smaller with an Overthruster?
 

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I trust the scientist who created the most complex instrument in history to do anything they want any time over the validity of any statement by a journalist or politician about it.

That actually makes logical sense.
 

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quellish said:
I thought the size of the accelerator could be significantly smaller with an Overthruster?

Ah good ol' B.B. ... the horribly crappy movie that just keeps on a'givin'!

I've recently had a number of conversations regarding quantum mechanics. It is a topic even more poorly understood by the average person than evolution. When you cannot convince an intelligent person that the inability to accurately define both the position *and* velocity of, say, an electron due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle is *not* due to us simply not having good enough instruments... how can you adequately explain that a black hole with the mass of an atomic nuclei is *not* a threat? Especially when every single instance of a black hole in popular culture describes them as unstoppable killing machines that "suck in" everything nearby?


Let me state this again: a black hole this small is simply EXCLUDED FROM EXISTING BY THE LAWS OF NATURE. A black hole this small would have a Schwartzchild radius smaller than the Planck Length. The Planck Length, about 10E-35 of a meter, is the smallest *anything* can be. It is the quantum building block of physical dimensions, the smallest division that can be made. Anything smaller than this either ceases to exist, or is restricted to this size. And something with the mass of even a heavy atomic nuclei at this size would *not* be a black hole. It would essentially explode as a teeny-tiny nuclear bomb, with enough energy that *maybe* a human with good eyesight *might* see it in a pitch-black room.

Laugh while you can, monkey boy!
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
starviking said:
Any black hole capable of 'swallowing up' a military target will continue to grow until it has absorbed the whole Earth.

Well, you're saying exactly the opposite of what someone else said earlier on in this thread, i.e. once a black hole has reached a certain mass it stops swallowing stuff!

Well, the smallest possible black hole is around 10-35 metres across (the so-called Planck Length).
.
I don't see anything in this quote that indicates that black holes can grow too large to take more mass, which is good because that's not how they work. It's talking about the fact that exceptionally small black holes can't take in mass because they're too small to absorb anything. There's some formatting missing, that may be contributing to some confusion. Plank length is ~1.6x10-35 meters, which is an exceptionally small distance, about 1020 times smaller than a single proton. The Everest-sized black hole mentioned is ~10-15 meters, just barely large enough to absorb a single proton at a time, which means it would grow slowly, if at all (Hawking radiation would probably be faster than absorption. As a black hole got larger than that, its ability to take on matter would increase. But actually making one that big is beyond any plausible human capability within the next few million years.
 

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The uppity scientists are conspiring against mankind! The humanoid aliens told us so! ;)

::)
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Black holes are not "theoretical." They are observed.

Black holes themselves can not be observed as, even by their own definition, nothing escapes from them. Phenomina has been observed that appears to correspond to how black holes would behave (if they existed), but that's not the same as actual observation. Anyway, the whole gravitation/fussion powered universe model is so last century.

Cheers, Woody

History never proves scientist wrong, nor do they ever make mistakes or produce anything dangerous - ha ha.
 

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^they do emit X-ray radiation though and also spew out "digested stuff". moreover, the behavior of celestial bodies around it can be observed, albeit tracked

theory of general relativity is still relevant as it is a simple and consistent explanation for numerous observable phenomenon, space-time corrections and predictions

what they're doing in switzerland is quite important to the scientific community as they are looking for ways to reconcile the theory of relativity with quantum physics which are in their ways contradicting. a vast majority of physicists just wouldn't accept the present fact that quantum physics is unpredictable, thus they decided to dissect subsubatomic(yes, subsub!) particles
 

Grey Havoc

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With regard as to the LHC's planned successor:
Experimental physics rarely tops the news agenda, but the 2008 launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) catapulted academic theories such as the search for the Higgs boson – also known as the “God Particle” – into the spotlight.

Now, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is planning for a successor of the LHC.

The new circular supercollider will sit next to its predecessor at CERN in Switzerland, but will be nearly three times its size, with a circumference of 100 kilometers. The Future Circular Collider (FCC) will pick up from the LHC to continue studying the smallest particles in the world.

Contributing to this revival of particle accelerators, the U.S. is getting its first new collider facility in decades, set to start operating around 2030. One of the missions of the Electro-Ion Collider (EIC) in New York will be to make particle acceleration more energy-efficient.

This should also impact the use of accelerators outside experimental physics. As successful as the LHC has been – eventually finding the Higgs boson in 2012 – particle accelerators come in many shapes and sizes. And they are used in a wide range of areas from radiation therapy for cancer to treating wastewater and cleaning flue gases from power plants.

As an aside, I find it interesting that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries paid for this article.
 

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