Blog

Sep 1, 2011

Why the LHC won’t destroy the Earth (still)

Posted by in category: particle physics

Surely there must be some kind of statute of limitations on just how long anyone can seriously keep claiming that the LHC might destroy the Earth.

It’s been operational for three years now after all.

So, here is another Universe Today article (a moderated science blog) about why the LHC can be expected to continue not destroying the Earth for many years to come.

31

Comments — comments are now closed.

  • Robert Houston on September 2, 2011 9:56 pm

    Steve Nerlich’s argument at Lifeboat is that “the LHC won’t destroy the Earth” because it hasn’t already — though “it’s been operational for three years…” However, the lowest estimate for an LHC mini black hole consuming the Earth is “50 months to 50 years” (Prof. Otto Rossler) and the next shortest, by three German physicists who support the LHC, was that “with one extra dimension, the earth would be accreted into the black hole in 27 years” (B. Bleicher et al., ArXiv.org 7/22/2008, v.1).

    Even the “three years” is erroneous. The LHC exploded 10 days after it was turned on in Sept. 2008, and then was out of action for 14 months. It’s been operating only since Nov. 2009 — less than 2 years — and will not attempt full energy until at least 2014.

    Mr. Nerlich refers us to his article at Universe Today, which presents equally fallacious safety arguments, most already contradicted by CERN’s own analysts. He tries to buttress this weak case by smearing LHC critics as “conspiracy theorists” and claiming they were “adamant that the Earth would be destroyed the moment the LHC was switched on…” But there were no such instant-doom predictions, and LHC critics acknowledge that what CERN is doing is right in the open: there’s no secret collaboration towards an unlawful goal, such as would define “conspiracy,” and certainly no malicious intent by CERN scientists. What the critics contend is not that the LHC will destroy Earth, but that there is a risk that it might, which is unconscionable.

    Mr. Nerlich also claims: “Microscopic black holes are implausible.” But according to CERN physicists, “the 14 TeV centre-of-mass energy of the LHC could allow it to become a black-hole factory with a production rate as high as about one per second” (A. Barrau and J. Grain, CERN Courier, Nov 12, 2004).

    Mr. Nerlich then reassures us that a “microscopic black hole couldn’t devour the Earth anyway.” But even CERN’s chief safety analysts, Giddings and Mangano, found that an mBH could devour the planet on time scales “much shorter than the natural lifetime…” In the 5 dimensional model, strangely neglected by G&M, “the lifetime of the earth is shortened to less than 30 years after the LHC produced its first black hole…” (Bleicher et al. 2008, see above).

    As a final argument, Nerlich suggests that LHC critics “propose that an LHC collision would bring the combined particles to a dead stop…” But no one ever proposed that. What the critics pointed out is that the symmetrical collisions in the collider, unlike cosmic rays hitting Earth, could result in a slow-down of the products, some to below escape velocity. This was confirmed in 2008 by CERN’s own safety report, which states (p. 2) regarding neutral micro black holes: “Those produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into sapce, whereas those prodcued by the LHC could remain on Earth.”

    For this reason, the cosmic ray argument was relocated by CERN in 2008 to dense neutron stars and white dwarfs but, as its analysts G&M admitted, these are protected from cosmic rays by magnetic fields up to a trillion times stronger than Earth’s, which may deflect or weaken cosmic rays so they can’t form black holes. Moreover, such dense stars are believed to contain strange matter and thus would exemplify the feared outcome for the earth of a strangelet disaster at the LHC.

  • Steve Nerlich on September 3, 2011 1:26 am

    Hi Robert — thanks for the detailed comments.

    So can I ask what criteria would you define as disconfirming evidence of your theoretical viewpoint? If three years of operation is not enough — do we go with Prof Rossler’s 50 months to 50 years? From what time does this period start? Should there be some early signs that the implausible BH is starting to grow?

    Good science makes testable predictions — how about you and the good Prof put some cards on the table.

    Best wishes,

    Steve

  • Anthony L on September 3, 2011 11:54 am

    There is something distressing about the complete lack of research behind your post, dear otherwise distinguished Steve Nerlich, Sir, and your empty headed follow up question to Houston. Apparently you run your engine on empty when you practice journalism, is that it, merely being towed behind the biggest truck you can attach yourself to?

    Why not do your research and give us the benefit of your agile mind on a foundation of properly informed thinking? This all is just repetition of your prejudice that those who question the LHC are fools, by definition, because they question the establishment which is so vast in terms of size, operation and funding.

    Are you not aware that there are other instances where the public is evidently being seriously misled by scientists who are avoiding proper review while they spend vast amounts of public funds?

    If not, perhaps you should check out http://www.scienceguardian.com where we have parsed such evasions for over six years now. If we say so ourselves, it sets a good example for you to follow if you wish to avoid strictures of this kind, that is, suspicion that like so many overworked and under-resourced journalists you are simply a reflexive mouthpiece and unwitting propagandist for the status quo, which may be scandalously out of line with the public interest, as in the case of the LHC.

    One does not blame you for your lack of resources, for which publishers should take responsibility, if that is the problem, but even so, surely your pride in your work should motivate you to be more cautious in the positions you take up.

    There is more under heaven that you may conceive of, Horatio — er, sorry, Steve. Please reconsider you What me worry? attitude. It smacks of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Neuman. And it is unfair to earnest worriers about the Fate of the Earth, in which, one might point out, we all have a personal stake.

  • Steve Nerlich on September 3, 2011 12:34 pm

    Hi Anthony,

    I am sorry you are distressed.

    I note your comment that the ‘public is evidently being seriously misled by scientists who are avoiding proper review while they spend vast amounts of public funds’.

    This alleges conspiracy by one or more major public-funded organisations — isn’t that a conspiracy theory by definition? Would you agree these same arguments are used by climate change deniers? Then how is your context any different?

  • Mike on September 3, 2011 4:32 pm

    Steve,

    One thing that the LHC critics keep forgetting to mention is that Rossler’s Telemach theorem is unpublishable junk. It lacks clearly, consistently defined equations and variables, and has been judged by a number of physicists as unpublishable in a peer reviewed journal. Whenever anyone tries to run a set of clearly defined variables through Telemach, it falls apart, or gives results contrary to what Rossler says.

    My theory is that Rossler knows this, and is not posting in good faith — he is knowingly posting a false argument to generate publicity. Rossler appears to be a mentally unbalanced, emotionally immature individual who craves attention.

    How do I know this? Because, whenever Rossler is pressed for details on his equations, he either becomes evasive, or resorts to making excuses. Like a “press blackout” or “groupthink.” THey are really excuses and evasions.

    Robert Houston and Anthony L are doing their best, but they deserve better than Rossler’s insanity and misleading publicity seeking.

  • Steve Nerlich on September 3, 2011 5:19 pm

    Thanks Mike — Prof Rossler is entitled to his views, but filling this blog with repeated open letters to the UN is getting a bit tiresome. I hope we can redirect this blog onto more useful lifeboat areas of discussion — and maybe save the world from more tangible threats.

    Steve Nerlich
    Member of the Board (and Death-by-LHC Skeptic)

  • Anthony L on September 3, 2011 8:07 pm

    At the present stage of the discussion it does appear that Professor Rossler has done nothing to prove that Mike is wrong in any of the well formulated points he makes above. And nothing so far to render the first half of Steve’s reaction in the above comment unjustified.

    However, the second part of Steve’s sentence is a non sequitur. Professor Rossler’s concern for the outcome of the LHC experiment may still be based on a valid perception, though one without demonstrated mathematical proof or even demonstrated mathematical argument.

    The concern is shared by others who have read the rather shamefully inconsistent and misleading set of safety arguments which CERN has published over the years, which have now dwindled to a vanishing remnant which is insufficient to justify their continual evasion of outside review.

    So Rossler’s mathematics and his inability to justify it in terms acceptable to anyone who has questioned him about it are not the basis for concern about the LHC. His repeated efforts to agitate others here with his extreme concern are justified in this respect, regardless of the status of his own thinking on the physics involved.

    It is people like Rainer Plaga, Adrian Kent, Martin Rees (regardless of his renunciation of his book’s pages on this issue) and similar who justify concern over the paucity of CERN safety rationalizations.

    But are they speaking up? No, they recognize that one cannot move the Cheops pyramid of the concerted view of 10,000 physicists with their poor little sticks of reason.

    Therefore Rossler deserves great credit for being the only scientist willing to go on whistling in the wind, a wind that may change if sufficient numbers of bright journalists such as Steve would trouble to be better informed on the topic, instead of making facile remarks which have neither information nor logic as their prop.

    However, the likelihood of that is about the same as the LHC producing a Higgs Boson, if the current mood at CERN has any predictive power.

    For one thing, Steve asks which conspiracy theory I support. Since when have I ever implied any conspiracy, if by that you mean what most people mean, which is some kind of secret plotting to subvert the Commonwealth a la Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot.

    The tendency of CERN like any other large modern institution to act as if it was a cult is no conspiracy, but merely social psychology, induced and maintained by the interest of the whole, which pushes aside the independent judgment of the individual in favor of the group notion, however foolish.

    This is why Steve can do an excellent job in his article on asteroids, and write sense, and yet when making comments on the LHC matter can only let fly paper airplanes in the hope that others will brief him painlessly, instead of him having to read the references they give him.

  • Anthony L on September 3, 2011 8:10 pm

    Sorry, that should read “Gunpowder Plot?” with a question mark.

  • Steve Nerlich on September 3, 2011 8:35 pm

    Thanks Anthony — I appreciate your kind comment on the asteroids article.

  • Robert Houston on September 3, 2011 9:34 pm

    Steve Nerlich asked, “what criteria would you define as disconfirming evidence for your theoretical viewpoint?” My theoretical viewpoint is that the 6.8 billion humans who share the planet with a special interest group of particle physicists should not be exposed to a risk of annihilation from their experiments. For colliders to be consistent with UK guidelines for radiation workers, “we would require an assurance that the chance of catastrophe was below one in 1000 trillion,” according to Cambridge astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees (Our Final Hour, 2003, p. 129).

    If a neutral multidisciplinary panel that included risk assessment experts could determine the risk was lower than that and back it up with logically consistent safety arguments and empirical data, this would be reassuring. Instead, CERN’s in-house safety reviewers have made no quantified risk assessment of the LHC, but instead admitted in 2008 that its main safety arguments were either invalid, e.g. high-energy cosmic rays hitting Earth, or open to serious question, e.g. Hawking radiation and neutron stars (the latter judged by CERN’s Science Policy Committee to “require confirmation”). This is the shaky basis on which CERN concluded there’s no risk.

    So, what would Steve Nerlich consider evidence against the safety of the LHC? Apparently, only the destruction of the Earth. Obviously, we need a less costly means of evaluation, such as suggested above and further discussed at Lifeboat by the spokesman of an LHC critics group (see: http://lifeboat.com/blog/2010/03/critical-request-to-cern-co…-lhc-risks ).

    To suggest as Anthony did that the public is being misled by scientists who avoid proper review is not to charge conspiracy, as Steve Nerlich alleges, but rather to point out their self-serving bias. Again, the definition of conspiracy involves secret collusion for unlawful activity. There’s nothing unlawful about expressing a biased viewpoint.

    Nor is it unlawful to hide alarming findings, as did the three physicists I mentioned (referring to Bleicher et al. but actually listed at ArXiv.org as B. Koch, M. Bleicher, and H. Stocker), whose original 2008 paper (v. 1) contained a section on “Taking black holes seriously” which gave equations showing that “with one extra dimension, the earth would be accreted into the black hole in 27 years.” The entire section with these findings, plus an accompanying figure, were omitted without explanation from their published paper, which sought to defend the LHC. That’s not conspiracy: it’s a cover-up.

  • Steve Nerlich on September 3, 2011 10:40 pm

    Martin Rees is clearly misquoted in this regard. He is an eminent scientist and cosmologist (i.e. actually specialises in this area, unlike anyone on this blog, including me).

    Like many, he sees the LHC as vital to taking us forward towards new technologies that might really save the world. e.g:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.universe

    At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_of_particle_collisions_a…n_Collider
    “Rees has also reported not to be “losing sleep over the collider,” and trusts the scientists who have built it.[25] He has stated: “My book has been misquoted in one or two places. I would refer you to the up-to-date safety study”

    (which was this at the time: lsag.web.cern.ch/lsag/LSAG-Report.pdf).

  • Anthony L on September 4, 2011 5:46 am

    “Martin Rees is clearly misquoted in this regard. He is an eminent scientist and cosmologist (i.e. actually specialises in this area, unlike anyone on this blog, including me).”

    Steve, thank you, it is pleasant for you to avoid the responsibility of admitting my points by choosing to reply above only to the brief flattery I included on your asteroid article, but Alas you are building up a pattern of incorrigible error in your replies here on the LHC topic.

    Instead of saying “clearly misquoted” I am afraid you have to admit now, I am sorry to say, that you have not checked the reference given you, carefully, by Robert Houston. Because if you did you would find the quote is accurate.

    Of course, the use of the word “clearly” is a bit of a giveaway, since in common usages it reliably reflects lack of research and checking in the mind of anyone inclined to use it.

    The psychology is apparently that if one uses the word ‘clearly’ it emphatically guarantees and reassures the speaker/writer and his listeners/readers that what he is saying is well founded, typically when it is in fact only flying another paper airplane.

    The second part of your paragraph is also based on an error, which is to imagine that well established people are somehow more likely to be truthful and accurate in their public claims. There is no evidence for this that I know of. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    People who occupy high position eg Astronomer Royal and president of the Royal Society, as does Martin “I am at least always a very agreeable person, even if I daren’t speak my mind on the LHC in a truthful manner” Rees, demonstrably mislead the public quite often in matter of public interest, since they are playing politics in what they write in editorials or tell journalists as a matter of course, indulging the same habit as helped them achieve their position of respectable distinction.

    Such remarks as yours suggest that you are young and naive, an idealist as yet not sunk into the cynicism and disillusion of older men. Bravo! But an idealist who takes care to remove his rosy spectacles and deal with the world as it is is much more useful to mankind, don’t you agree?

    At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_of_particle_collisions_a.….n_Collider
    “Rees has also reported not to be “losing sleep over the collider,” and trusts the scientists who have built it.[25] He has stated: “My book has been misquoted in one or two places. I would refer you to the up-to-date safety study”

    Sadly, this is another example of your fine but misguided idealism in taking these reported statements of Martin Rees at face value. Not only has his book NOT been misquoted in one place, at least, if he means the quote referred to by Houston, but the safety reports he refers to are the very ones that reveal CERN has exploded its own safety arguments.

    It is evident that Martin Rees if he is not consciously misleading us has not read the safety reports he refers to very carefully, and neither has your eminent self. You have everything in common with Martin Rees in this regard, even if you are not a fully paid up physicist. I dont know why you should kowtow to him

    Both of you are willing to speak from lack of research and knowledge but with a confidence born of an accurate sense of what the group you belong to believes as a whole (which is almost always what is in its interest to claim).

    The mistake you make if I may say so is to think that Martin Rees or anybody else in his group is thinking independently and making their own judgment based on proper research and analysis, which is the only way group thinking reaches worthwhile conclusions (see The Wisdom of Crowds).

    All you have to do is examine your own thinking and see that this is true in your case. You are not thinking independently, would you not have to agree? Then you will see that it is very likely true in the case of others in the press and in science too, just as Martin Rees demonstrates.

    What we need is properly informed debate on the LHC. The important thing is to do the research, read the material, double check it, and then write or speak your thoughts based on that solid foundation. Taking group think as gospel only leads to error.

    Also it wastes what is evidently in your case a very fine mind, since Garbage In = Garbage Out.

    Not to mention wastes the efforts of the well researched Houston to enlighten you and do your research for you, which is surely an act of generosity for which you might be grateful. And if I may say so, also wastes my relatively feeble efforts to do the same.

  • Anthony L on September 4, 2011 5:55 am

    Sorry, that should be usage, not usages.

  • Mike on September 4, 2011 6:03 am

    I agree with Anthony L’s post above — Robert Houston has done an excellent job finding holes in CERN’s safety arguments — for example (was it Vilenkin or Vilkovski) published some peer reviewed calculations that indicate that black holes might not completely evaporate.

    While this is not applicable to CERN now, since CERN’s detectors would have already detected the partial evaporations that Vilkovski predicted, just as they would have detected complete evaporations — this remains a hole in CERN’s safety arguments.

    Mike

  • Steve Nerlich on September 4, 2011 1:34 pm

    Hi Anthony — no I am a fairly old codger, but much appreciate the ‘fine mind’ comment. I am comfortable being identifed as an admirer of Martin Rees — and sure I am grateful for the trouble both you and Robert go to writing to me.

  • Robert Houston on September 4, 2011 9:01 pm

    Hey Steve, I rechecked the statement from the book by Dr. Martin Rees and found I quoted him correctly. Here’s the full sentence, which followed one about “UK government guidelines” for nuclear workers: “If this very risk-averse criterion were applied to the accelerator experiment, taking the world’s population as being at risk but accepting an equally stringent maximum number of deaths, we would require an assurance that the chance of catastrophe was below one in a thousand trillion (10^−15).” (Rees, Our Final Hour, 2003, p. 129.)

    Regarding his sleeping habits, he wrote: “The accelerator experiments didn’t give me any sleepless nights… However, these attitudes are little more than subjective assessments based on some knowledge of the relevant science… There is no evidence that exactly the same conditions have ever occurred naturally. We cannot be absolutely sure that strangelets couldn’t lead to a runaway disaster” (Ib. p. 124).

    Mike, thanks for your kind comment. The Russian physicist to whom you referred is Dr. Grigory Vilkovisky. A 2010 paper from Princeton physicist Tony Rothman and a colleague supported his finding “that black holes lose only ten percent of their mass to Hawking radiation before evaporation ceases” (Abs.). (See: http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.2368 .)

    According CERN’s study a year ago reporting no black holes, their system is set up to detect only the signature of “full Hawking evaporation.”

  • Steve Nerlich on September 5, 2011 4:39 am

    Hi Robert,

    Again I refer you to the fact that Martin Rees himself reports being misquoted: “My book has been misquoted in one or two places.” I think he is the only one who could address your comments.

    I again refer you to his 2008 article — http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/cern.universe
    “Whatever comes out of the LHC, the results will be a stimulus to next-generation Einsteins who will achieve the next steps in a quest, which started in ancient times, to understand the building blocks of the natural world.”

    This doesn’t read like someone who is concerned that the big science machine could destroy the Earth.

  • Otto E. Rossler on September 6, 2011 6:21 am

    Everyone who says nice things about CERN is right. CERN is top in many ways. It is also interesting that the only compelling argument used by the present blogger is that black holes are “implausible.”

    Plausibility arguments to defend an assault on everyone are cute. Suppose I were the dishonest person you prefer I were: How then rationalize the fact that no scientist on the planet says “I have found a counter-proof to Telemach and here it is”?

    But in your place I would presumably also put my head in the sand. Going on dreaming is a natural reflex.

    Still there ought to be a single grown man or woman somewhere on the planet. Please, help me find that person.

  • Mike on September 6, 2011 10:06 am

    Yes, what is the truth. That is what I am interested in. And I don’t know what the truth is here. I am no physicist, though I can evaluate the physics and math easily enough if I have to.

    Is Otto Rossler right? Or sincerely wrong? If so, how do we know for sure that he’s wrong? Or insincerely wrong, as some claim?

    I don’t know. Is it error, or groupthink, or people (one person, or many people) being mistaken?

    For a non-expert such as myself, there are lots of questions…

    Professor Rossler bases his thesis on Birkhoff’s theorem, which as I understand is:

    “However, m is only the local rest mass energy m of an in-fallig particle according to the Telemach theorem The total mass energy of the same particle is conserved (and hence so is that of the black hole). This is because the kinetic energy of the in-falling body goes up by exactly the smame amount by which its rest mass energy goes down. This fact is sometimes called “Birkhoff’s theorem.”

    Charge, in its turn, is always proportional to the local rest mass energy and hence likewise approaches zero on the way down. ”

    Is this correct, or incorrect? Professor Rossler thinks this is correct — why do other physicists think this is incorrect?

    I’d really like to know…

    Mike

  • Anthony L on September 6, 2011 2:07 pm

    Steve, you do a remarkable job of blocking any new information, one has to say. We discussed whether Rees had changed his public position, and whether public positions are often political, rather than genuine. Why do you ignore what I labored to tell you? You seem to pick out only the compliments! But those were to sweeten the pill of correction which you must swallow if you are to be thinking and reporting accurately on this issue, rather than trading cocktail party chat.

    I assume that is not your intention, is it? I thought you were serious. Nothing wrong with being lighthearted, if you wish, though many may object that this is a somewhat serious subject, with the future of the world and its riders at stake, and you shouldn’t be cavalier about it.

    I have a different reason why I am lighthearted about the doomsaying in this regard and that is to be fully explained on scienceguardian.com, so let me just say here that theorizing as to the future of experimental outcomes in collider operation seems more a stab in the dark than anything else, so the speculations as to the prospects of disaster are also equally groping in the dark.

    So your jolly confidence that we will survive the LHC is probably justified, if optimistic to some degree.

  • Robert Houston on September 6, 2011 7:39 pm

    The world can be reassured by Anthony’s report that he feels “lighthearted about the doomsaying.” What a relief it is to know that “speculations as to the prospects of disaster are…groping in the dark.” But arguments for the safety of the LHC are not only speculative but have virtually all been contradicted by CERN’s own scientists. Surely, when the world is at stake, more solid rationales for safety are needed — not just “jolly confidence.” In their absence, a potential doomsday machine should be scrapped.

    Steve Nerlich reasons that I must have misquoted Martin Rees because Dr. Rees said in 2008: “My book has been misquoted in one or two places.” Is Sir Martin such a seer that he reacted precognitively?. My quote was accurate, as anyone can verify in Chapter 9 of “Our Final Hour” ($10 at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Our-Final-Hour-Scientists-Warning/dp/0…sr=1-2 ).

    There one can also read of the “frightening possibility” that a powerful accelerator could generate a strangelet. According to Rees, “the danger is that a strangelet could, by contagion, convert anything it encountered into a strange new form of matter” and “transform the entire planet Earth into an inert hyperdense sphere about 100 metres across” (Our Final Hour, pp 120–121).

    Although Dr. Rees has joined the cheering squad of luminaries fo rthe LHC, safety skeptics will note that he also wrote in his Guardian puff-piece that Steve cited: “The impacts may generate particles of a novel kind never before detected in a laboratory (and which may even never have existed on the earth before).” If they’re novel and never existed here, how can we be sure they’re safe?

    .

  • Otto E. Rossler on September 7, 2011 3:27 am

    Thank you, dear Mike. May I sign with Otto?

  • Anthony L on September 8, 2011 4:13 pm

    Robert, my own jolly confidence that both sides are generating a lot of intellectualized wool spinning when they theorize (backed up by CERN’s increasing pessimism that the Higgs boson is not going to pop up at the LHC) is certainly no reason for more responsible people such as yourself not to insist on outside review of a huge organization in charge of the world’s largest and most far out machine exploring levels of existence never before artificially reproduced and only dimly understood by all concerned, an organization which despite being publicly funded actively tries to evade review by misinforming the public.

    My brainless What Me Worry Alfred E Neuman optimism is generated by lack of personal responsibility for the fate of the planet combined with a profound skepticism that science has yet achieved any useful understanding of these vast deeps of existence and is allied to the usual superficial knowledge of the matter acquired by reading current texts on the subject, which I have no doubt will be replaced by more informed and reliable ones as time wears on, probably well beyond my own remaining years.

    But the history of science tells us that understanding will be improved and the grounds for further experimentation will be firmer for that reason. The decision as to whether to wait or proceed should be taken by responsible outsiders and not by journalists even if they are relatively well read, but by people who are well informed on the present and the potential future of understanding this realm, and have no emotional investment in saying The hell with it let’s see what happens!, as do all the physicists involved.

    Unfortunately the naive public assume that whiz kid physicists have sufficient maturity and breadth of thinking that they will take the Earth into consideration in their plans, but as yet there is no indication of this. Far more influential is the group confidence induced by the self interest of the system they belong to, which dictates they have even greater thoughtless jolly optimism that even I so witlessly feel.

    For one person to sing Tra la la as we approach the abyss is not immoral, but for a huge army of specialists to do the same is very much so. But then, when have any organizations in modern human society past a certain size ever demonstrated a regard for public safety and benefit which trumps the selfish concerns of each member multiplied by the total number seeking to keep their jobs?

  • Anthony L on September 8, 2011 6:17 pm

    A quotation from Samuel Johnson:

    “Time obliterates the fictions of opinion, and confirms the decisions of nature.

    Johnson, Samuel (2004−03−01). The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 03 The Rambler, Volume II

  • Robert Houston on September 8, 2011 9:38 pm

    In answer to Anthony, Steve, and Samuel, I will repeat the final one-line verdict of astrophysicist Martin Rees on the collider strangelet scenario. This is from from his 2003 book, which he has never renounced, and which was written at the peak of his intellectual powers and of his dedication to the welfare of humanity, not just the scientists:

    “We cannot be absolutely sure that strangelets couldn’t lead to a runaway disaster.” (Our Final Hour, p. 125)

  • Anthony L on September 9, 2011 7:54 pm

    In what way is that prediction an answer to my posts? It is a valuable quote of what it probably Martin Rees’s thinking when he isn’t being a spineless coward unwilling to stand up for his own theoretical understanding, just because it would get him in bad odor with the great unthinking herd of fellow physicists and members of the Royal Society, fawning ignorant journalists, etc

    This is not a good example to set for the young. The good example is to stand up for your ideas however misunderstood they might be and fight for them and for the future of the human face, if that is what is involved in your conclusions, as the very courageous and determined Professor Rossler does.

    The good Professor of Tubingen is a very brave man who sets a fine example for all young scientists, including all those who will win the Nobel in the future, after the old men in charge have finished trying to sit on them and their revolutionary theories, having grown old and even departed from this Earth.

    As Max Ernst said, science proceed funeral by funeral.

  • Anthony L on September 9, 2011 7:56 pm

    Sorry, what IS probably Martin Rees’s…etc human RACE not human face.

    Though saving face is what the old men are primarily concerned with.

  • PassingByAgain on September 10, 2011 3:36 am

    Max Ernst???

  • Anthony L on September 10, 2011 10:59 am

    Max whatsis name the subatomic theorist in the 20s

    Planck sorry

    Maybe Ernst said it too — about art…

  • Otto E. Rössler on October 4, 2011 3:11 am

    Dear Steve:

    You did not respond to my response. Your challenge, if I am right, goes in the direction that you do not think it “probable” that my results will stay.

    I totally share this hope with you. But it gives me- unlike you — little comfort since even if you give me but 30 percent of being right, the 3 percent panbiocide probability that I found still remain 1 percent — and hence way too much to be tolearble. Right?

    Or are you sure with a probability of more than 99 percent that I am wrong? In that case I would be maximally interested in your proof. For this is my dearest hope for 4 years.

    Or did I misunderstand something regarding your position?

    Allow me to say that I admire and share your astro enthusiasm.

    Take care,
    Otto

  • Steve Nerlich on October 4, 2011 4:20 am

    Hi Otto,

    Sorry I wasn’t getting the usual email prompts that this comment trail was continuing — and sorry to Robert, Mike and Anthony similarly.

    I think I went into considerable detail as to why microscopic black holes are implausible in the article that started all this. http://www.universetoday.com/88480/astronomy-without-a-teles…the-earth/

    Nonetheless, I will aim to write some more on this issue in the future. I appreciate your interest in my views.

    Regards,

    Steve