When I heard about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive supercollider built by CERN to study quantum physics, I was excited about the technology (especially the new super-hi-speed Internet “grid” created to handle the massive amount of data to be produced by the system), but I was also slightly worried. The scientists at CERN actually referred to the day they planned to turn the system on as “Red Button Day,” and many people were quite terrified by the possibility that the LHC could inadvertently produce a stable black hole that could grow and rapidly consume the planet (see illustration above). Some scientists even filed a lawsuit to delay the activation of the system.
But then I watched this adorable geeky rap video about the LHC. It made me feel better much better about the whole thing. They said the LHC would only make tiny black holes that would persist for milliseconds and evaporate harmlessly. Red Button Day came and went as CERN activated the LHC at the end of last summer, but there were problems and they quickly shut it off again. Now, a new study by Roberto Casadio of the University of Bologna, and
Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms of the University of Alabama, says that
the black holes created by the LHC could last for more than a second (contrary to previous CERN claims). You can read the eight-page report as a PDF here: On the Possibility of Catastrophic Black Hole Growth in the Warped Brane-World Scenario at the LHC
Quoting from their conclusion: