Lifeboat Foundation ParticleAcceleratorShield
By the Lifeboat Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. This is an ongoing program so you may submit suggestions to [email protected].
OverviewOur goal is to prevent, and also make plans on surviving when possible, particle accelerator mishaps including quantum vacuum collapse, mining the quantum vacuum, formation of a stable strangelet, and the creation of artificial mini-black holes.
The ATLAS detector of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) under construction. The LHC is 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) long and spans two countries.
Lords of the Ring
The ATLAS Experiment Movie
ATLAS – Episode I: A New Hope
ATLAS – Episode II: The Particles Strike Back
Click on parts of the detector for their name and description
Anatomy of a black hole (interactive animation)
Large Hadron Rap: Rappin’ about CERN’s Large Hadron Collider!
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. It is the only Standard Model particle not yet observed, but plays a key role in explaining the origins of the mass of other elementary particles, in particular the difference between the massless photon and the very heavy W and Z bosons. Elementary particle masses, and the differences between electromagnetism (caused by the photon) and the weak force (caused by the W and Z bosons), are critical to many aspects of the structure of microscopic (and hence macroscopic) matter; thus if it exists, the Higgs boson has an enormous effect on the world around us.
Artificial Mini-Black HolesSome people are worrying about the world’s next-generation particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider, which is now operating at CERN’s facility on the Franco-Swiss border. The LHC site says:
“According to some theoretical models, tiny black holes could be produced in collisions at the LHC. They would then very quickly decay into what is known as Hawking radiation (the tinier the black hole, the faster it evaporates) which would be detected by experiments.”But some scientists have pointed out that Hawking radiation may not exist as documented in the scientific papers Do black holes radiate? and On the Universality of the Hawking Effect.
DangersSir Martin Rees says:
“It is not inconceivable that physics could be dangerous too. Some experiments are designed to generate conditions more extreme than ever occur naturally. Nobody then knows exactly what will happen. Indeed, there would be no point in doing any experiments if their outcomes could be fully predicted in advance. Some theorists have conjectured that certain types of experiment could conceivably unleash a runaway process that destroyed not just us but Earth itself.”Nick Bostrom says:
“There have been speculations that future high-energy particle accelerator experiments may cause a breakdown of a metastable vacuum state that our part of the cosmos might be in, converting it into a ‘true’ vacuum of lower energy density. This would result in an expanding bubble of total destruction that would sweep through the galaxy and beyond at the speed of light, tearing all matter apart as it proceeds.”Although neither Sir Martin Rees nor Nick Bostrom are greatly concerned by this potential problem, there is a reason that they call the actions done by the LHC “experiments”. If the outcome of an experiment was known beforehand, it would not be called an experiment! What are your thoughts on the experiments that will be conducted at the LHC?