Scientists create Black Hole and destroy the Earth

I encourage everyone to have a look at’s Science section and take a look at their report, “Scientists create Black Hole”, involving a NY laborotory’s upcoming experiment. If some of you have already seen it, what is up with this? I’m not a physicist, but this sounds ridiculously plausable. How do you hurl things at each other so fast to cause such a phenomena?


It sounds similar to David Brin’s book “Earth”.

I wonder if they could be used to produce power?


Save water drink beer!

Well, I won’t say that they are completely wrong, but it defies my knowledge of physics.

A black hole from my understanding is formed in a similar matter as a neutron star except more extreme.

Star goes super nova. Core remains collapse. If there is enough mass they collapse to the point of neutron drip (don’t ask me to explain that easily, but basically it gets real small). If there is enough mass this neutron star would have “gravity field” sufficient to prevent anything from escaping it if it got to close and we call it a black hole (presumably as well it is like real real real small).

They key though is lots of mass. Even assuming they create their primordial quark soup one would think that the lack of mass would prevent the formation of a black hole.

Note, that this assumes there is no other method of black hole formation. It is possible that there is a hypothetical method which could be what these scientists are talking about.

It’s bernard, just under new management

By the way, this isn’t the first time that scientists have said wacky things to get attention. IIRC, the people who were building the Hubble space telescope made some pretty wild claims and observations. Scientists are people too and like to have their 15 minutes of fame. What could possibly attract more attention then “hey we are doing an experiment that could destory the world.” Just a thought. I am not saying this is the case.

It’s bernard, just under new management

You know Glitch, I’m not really up on this branch of physics, but even if they compressed mass where the radius of such would allow the inverse squared force that gravity is to overwhelm the other nuclear forces (is it the weak force?), it seems the Heisenburg Uncertainty principle would prevent such a localization. That is, the uncertainty in energy times the uncertainty in position would have to be greater than planck’s constant divided by 2 pi (aka h-bar). Of course what goes on in a black hole is a giant mystery anyhow.

Undead Dude, you seem to posess knowledge in this topic, could you explain it to us?

As Glitch pointed out – when the first H-bomb was about to be detonated, several very well-qualified scientists in the project voiced worries that the reaction would be self-sustaining and end the world by ‘burning up’ the oceans. We’re still here, and I hope the LI experiment will prove to be the same sort of needless worrying. A black hole has, according to theory, what’s called a ‘singularity’ at its center (IIRC). This is a literal point in space with infinite density (note, notinfinite mass). I believe what the scientists on LI are trying to do may (allegedly) smash two opposing particle beams together so powerfully that, in theory, for a micro-instant such a singularity may be created (or the closest thing to it that we’ll ever get). See ya after the Big Shot!

Looks like this is the same experiment as described here:

“Melville says he believes it would be microscopic at first but would grow exponentially, eventually obliterating Earth.”

This statement totally discredits Melville. This guy is a physicist? Ironically, he could take a cue from a SF author. Scoobysnax mentioned Earth by David Brin. I haven’t read it, but Opal described a lot of it to me. Brin seems to really know his stuff. :slight_smile:

I am amazed with his suggestion that the folks in the lab are going to create something that will suck up the Earth. I wouldn’t have thought that the fallacy that black holes were big vacuum cleaners would catch a “physicist”.

If somehow they could create a black hole, it would need to be created out of mass contained in the lab. It couldn’t have a gravitational pull any greater than the mass that created it. It wouldn’t grow. As a matter of fact, it’d probably quickly burn back out due to massive Hawking radiation.

Before this guy started making conclusions based on Hawking’s theories, I think perhaps he should have asked himself “Why isn’t Hawking worried?”

The article, IMO, was extremely alarmist. You can find a “eccentric physicist” who is scared of anything. He also essentially blames the inventors of the internal combustion engine with our current environmental crisis. Don’t go blaming the scientists.

(BTW, science journalists are generally scientists who couldn’t cut it in basic research :wink: )

Anyway, Brookhaven’s official response to the web article is here. You should probably read it in the interest of equal time.

Nice to see my knowledge of physics isn’t becoming to dated.

Thanks a lot, everyone, for replying. I’ll be looking into these sites for reference and feel pretty silly for falling for the ol’ Mad Scientist hype from our dearly beloved media. Got my blood pressure going though.

I think this is an example of an issue where GR and QM butt heads. I think you could apply this same argument to real astronomically sized black hole singularities. Intuitively it seems to me that you are right.

I guess I should mention that in Earth, IIRC, a tiny black hole drops into the Earth, but doesn’t eat the Earth as Melville says. Rather it falls through the Earth and establishes an orbit near the Earth’s center.

I doubt that the black hole idea with this experiment is based simply on compression. I don’t know where Melville got the black hole idea, but I think it is pretty clear that we would lack the energy to simply compress mass into a black hole. I would guess that he is picturing some sort of chain reaction that leads to the black hole being created. Even if it is based on Hawking’s theories, I’m sure it is a very odd twist of it, and I would wonder if this guy is making inappropriate inferences. After all, if he expects a black hole of oh say less than a ton to eat the Earth, he is capable of making some poor judgements.

Oh, and just a note:
The uncertainty equations are actually momentum vs. position or energy vs. time, not energy vs. position.

If we didn’t know about quantum effects, it would make sense to believe that even a tiny black hole could eventually “swallow” the planet. After falling through the crust, it would orbit around the planet’s center of mass, “eating” a skinny tunnel through the mantle and core. This would be very slow, but over enough time it could remove a significant portion of the planet’s mass.

But in reality this cannot happen, because reality doesn’t ignore quantum effects.

Undead Dude’s mention of Hawking radiation is apt. A lab-created black hole would only have the mass of a small atom; through Hawking radiation, it would exist for only a fraction of a second before “evaporating” as gamma rays.

Of course I don’t fit in; I’m part of a better puzzle.