March 18, 2005

We're All Doomed

I don't want to ruin anybody's Friday but the world is ending.

John Derbyshire (not exactly an "up" guy but certainly very bright) has long predicted that the end of the world may well be caused by physicists creating a black hole with a particle accelerator.

The BBC reports:

The Brown researcher thinks the particles are disappearing into the fireball's core and reappearing as thermal radiation, just as matter is thought to fall into a black hole and come out as "Hawking" radiation.

However, even if the ball of plasma is a black hole, it is not thought to pose a threat. At these energies and distances, gravity is not the dominant force in a black hole.

On second thought, bartender, why don'tcha put that on my tab...

Dual hat-tips: PillageIdiot and Galley Slaves

On the web Posted by John Kranz at March 18, 2005 6:45 PM

It's difficult to take anything seriously in modern particle physics given that theories as inconsistent with reality as HUP (i.e. precise position AND momentum of a particle are INTRINSICALLY unknowable, not merely technologically unfeasable at the present time) and Schrodinger's cat (i.e. quantum indeterminacy, which violates the identity theorem applicable to actual matter) have not yet been repudiated. At least inasmuch as they have any manifestation in reality as opposed to theoretical mathematical constructs.

In the event that this phenomenon is actually what Nastase thinks it is, i.e. a process analogous to that in a black hole, there is little to worry about. The event lasts some 1E-23 seconds, or 10 thousand nano-nano-nanoseconds. Hardly even getting started, much less becoming a self-sustaining or runaway energy conversion process.

It also bears mentioning that Mr. Nastase may be another in the proud tradition of our friends Pons and Fleischmann. (Anyone want some palladium? Cheap!)

A note on the BBC science editor: Couldn't he find a better way to express 1E-23 seconds than "10 million, billion, billionths of a second" which actually represents 10 million seconds? (What is a billion, billionths of something equal to, after all?) 10 million-billion-billionths would have been better, as would 0.00000000000000000000001 seconds.

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2005 1:06 PM

The only good thing about physicists killing us with a black hole is that it will be pretty quick.
So we got that going for us. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at March 19, 2005 1:59 PM

No, I am not really scared -- and I am certainly not scared of this one. Yet the race is now on to make a bigger and a longer lasting one.

Ice-nine, here we come...

Posted by: jk at March 19, 2005 6:38 PM | What do you think? [3]