Updated: Jun 18, 2022
By Rafael Pérez Vicente
March 22, 2022
UPDATED 12:00 PM EST
Since its opening in 2008, the Large Hadron Collider (the largest particle accelerator built by humankind) has provided physicists with fascinating insights and discoveries on the inner workings of the universe. For instance, particles such as the Higgs Boson (God's particle) were discovered in the LHC at the end of 2011, offering scientists valuable information about how the universe works, or rather, how it was created.
Particle accelerators such as the LHC work with electromagnetic forces by accelerating particles up to nearly the speed of light and colliding them with one another to understand different phenomena in quantum physics. For instance, their applications have benefited fields in a range of subjects that may or may not be related to their study.
However, a question has emerged after several theoretical physicists have claimed that the Large Hadron Collider could be the reason for humanity's destruction. Could the LHC create a black hole strong enough to carry us all through its vortex? While the short and simpler answer for everyone eager to know it is no, there’s much more than that to the problem.
Initially, it is interesting to know that modern physicists have discovered that quantum mechanics follow very different rules than the macroscopic level. Hence, forces not taken into account in this type of collision such as gravity may have a huge role in the behavior of particles at a microscopic level. Which could result in a theoretical black hole. Moreover, physicists explain that even though the LHC has not nearly the power to create a collision that generates a blackhole, theoretically, if the calculations are made with quantum physics rather than traditional mechanics, the LHC would have enough power to create a black hole.
But what is really a blackhole?, this phenomenon may be defined as a wrap in the space-time mantle, where a really tiny and incredibly dense particle holds sufficient gravitational pull to absorb everything on its way (even light). However, black holes have interesting qualities such as Hawking Radiation, which in turn, makes the black hole lose energy as time progresses, theoretically degrading them over time. Hence, if a black hole was to be created at the LHC, its mass and magnitude would degenerate in less than an octillionth of a nanosecond.
Nevertheless, as Nobel Prize winner John Mather states, even though that theoretically the amount of energy generated at the LHC would be sufficient to create a blackhole, evidence has shown no further results supporting this claim. Moreover, Mather explains that particles with higher energies collide with our earth and atmosphere daily, and there has been no trace of black holes or Hawking radiation within our boundaries.
Consequently, it may be stated that we may be safe from a laboratory catastrophe, at least for now, until further analysis is made on whether or not black holes may be generated artificially. Being a contemporary and modern field, quantum physics still has uncertainties that may be solved in the future with technological and scientific advances.
[Photo Credit: CERN document server]
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