Could a black hole form at the Large Hadron Collider?

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Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) claim that the formation of black holes at this accelerator is unlikely. However, some physical theories suggest that the formation of quantum black holes in a collider is still possible. Various conspiracy theorists took advantage of this in order to inflate fear in people and promote themselves in the wake of the hype. This raises questions whether the collision of particles can really form microblack holes and what would happen if this happened?

Black holes, which most have heard about, are formed when a star 10 times heavier than the Sun dies, at the end of its life they collapse, while a powerful gravitational field is formed around the collapsing matter, from which even light cannot escape and a black hole appears. But this is not the only mechanism for the appearance of black holes.

A black hole forms when a very large amount of matter is trapped in a very small volume of space. This is what can happen when two particles collide at near-light speeds. Such hypothetical black holes are called Planck, microscopic, or quantum black holes. This concept was proposed back in 1971 by cosmologist Stephen Hawking, however, it still has no experimental confirmation.

According to the laws of the theory of relativity, it is impossible to create microscopic black holes at the LHC. However, there are many speculative theories suggesting the formation of such black holes.

The processes occurring at the LHC — the collision of particles, are quite natural, analogous occur in nature all the time. We know, for example, that the Earth is constantly bombarded by galactic rays. When they enter the atmosphere, they collide with air particles in much the same way as during experiments at the LHC. Moreover, these collisions reach much higher energies than scientists can reach at the LHC. And at the same time, we clearly see that the Earth is safe and that these collisions do not pose any threat to us and our planet.

The creation of a quantum black hole at the LHC would be very strange, but if it did happen, then this event would indeed be very interesting. It would allow physicists to learn a lot about the most mysterious force of nature — gravity.

Theories suggest that these microscopic black holes will immediately evaporate and will happen so quickly that we may not even have time to detect their presence. Although even hypothetically stable black holes, which is practically impossible, are not as dangerous as we think.

Stable black holes are expected to be electrically charged as they are formed by charged particles. In this case, gravitationally they will very weakly interact with ordinary matter, regardless of whether they were formed during the interaction of cosmic radiation with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere or at the LHC, because their mass will be comparable to the mass of atoms, which means that their gravitational field will be as follows the same strength as the atom. The electric field of such a black hole will affect the surrounding particles much stronger than gravity.

Some people think that such a black hole can destroy the entire planet in a moment, but in fact, for the mass of a quantum black hole to reach one kilogram, it will have to interact with matter on average about three trillion years, which is much more than the age of the Universe. This is due to the fact that there is a limitation on the growth rate of a black hole; it simply cannot absorb matter at a rate greater than a certain limit proportional to its size.

Thus, we come to the conclusion that the formation of black holes in any accelerator is extremely unlikely, and also that even with the formation of a microblack hole on the ground, it will not pose a threat to the planet.

Author: Alexey Nimchuk. Edited by Fedor Karasenko.

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