While Waiting for the LHC: A Shopping List
NewsHammer Exclusive Recently a CERN outsider though with five star Associate status, black hole and gravity theorist Professor Steve Giddings of UC Santa Barbara, wrote a feel good opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, reminding us again of "What will the Large Hadron Collider reveal?"
Well, just about anything HEP (High Energy Physics, preferred over dangerous sounding nuclear physics) physicists have been dreaming of since Einstein. No closer either to something definite after years of focusing theories into experiments and design of the LHC before construction started in 2000. From anyone else pushing a $10 Billion science lab, you would expect clearly defined objectives. Not from CERN or Giddings.
Fusion and New Non-Elemental States of Matter
Physicists know that much but they don't want us to worry. Call it a safety argument for funding experimental research only PhDs really understand. Though they don't know either where their research into manipulation of matter and energy is going. Physicists have so many competing theories of New Physics entangled in mind-boggling complexity all we can be sure of is they have trouble sleeping at night. What they're sure of in Classical and Quantum physics they've been trying to reconcile since the 1920s into a Theory of Everything, also gives them no rest. New Physics at the LHC might supply some New Matter glue for ToE at last. That's why physicists are beaming now in the press and at the LHC.
To be fair the reason for not spelling things out, besides the complexities and no one really knows what to expect, is the extremely high energy LHC. Unlike the early days of particle physics and low energy colliders that have been atom-smashing, the LHC is designed for a new high energy frontier, the smashing and fusion of ions or hadrons.
The mother of all colliders will create new heavy matter states (not elements as in other fusion experiments) and perhaps several different types that don't exist now, but might have existed in the very early Universe. Or other objects that may never have existed, like Strangelets that might transform matter into Strange matter. Or nothing. All theoretical objects expected like the Higgs boson, might be mathematical fiction. Though Standard Model diehards will blame the LHC, knowing all along the LHC was doomed to produce nothing without way higher Planck scale energies. So, give us a biggger collider.
LHC Energies Much Higher Than Expected?
Extra g-force. It's not an idle joke. Is Newton on the collider check list? CERN might never need a biggger collider. Collision energies may be much higher in gravity than CERN thinks. At 2 TeV collisions it hasn't been noticed, but what happens at 14 TeV? Collision force could double due to added Trajectory Energy for a fantastic 28 TeV, says Richard Shurtleff in his 2009 paper, "Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays from Galactic Supernovae".
Physicist LW Jones in his paper of 2004 ,"LHC studies relevant to PeV - EeV cosmic ray physics" correlates 14 TeV collisions at the LHC with much higher energies in space:
"At the CERN LHC collider, where p-p collision energies will be equivalent to 100 PeV cosmic ray interactions, the ambiguity of interaction models needed for the interpretation of V.H.E. cosmic ray data is recognized . . . ".
It also works both ways. Reinterpreting LHC energies may be required. As both scales are describing the same energy, the difference between them is LHC beam energies are working harder against Earth's gravity. Shurtleff also supports the idea of much higher cosmic ray equivalent energy interactions at the LHC. A factor of 10^5 times more than 14 TeV or 140 PeV.
The PeV scale is astronomical. That's the quadrillion scale, add 3 more zeros to trillion, the Tera or TeV scale at the LHC. So will the LHC achieve a potentially ambiguous 14 TeV in Earth's gravity? The point in both papers is gravity is a major factor in LHC beams. Could gravity add a Trajectory Energy as Shurtleff suggests, perhaps doubling LHC collision energies from 14 TeV to 28 TeV that could destroy the collider? We'll find out. It's an experiment.
Even so, will CERN need extremely high Planck scale energies to make collider objects, without extra dimensions? Not now!
1/3 Planck Energy Required For Relativistic Micro Black Holes
There's an important new article in AAAS Science, "Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes". A new computer simulation of just two particles colliding, confirms conclusively for the first time that a micro black hole will form and at a total energy well below what has been expected, at only one-third of Planck energy.
Researchers Matthew Choptuik of UBC and Frans Pretorius of Princeton used hundreds of computers for the simulation which also confirms Einstein's prediction on how black holes can form from his theory of General Relativity.
Their paper will appear in Physical Review Letters. It's a fantastic discovery that is being singled out for attention by no less an authority than Joseph Lykken of Fermilab:
"I would have been surprised if it had come out the other way. But it is important to have the people who know how black holes form look at this in detail."
Can the LHC achieve collisions at 1/3 Planck Energy? No.
Planck scale energies are unreachable at any collider. Energies of 1.22 × 10^28 eV (electron Volts) are the boundary between Classical and Quantum physics. One-third of 1.22 × 10^28 eV? No, not even remotely close to 14 TeV. Even lead ion collisions at a phenomenal 1150 TeV are still far too weak. With LW Jones' cosmic ray uplift applied to 1150 TeV we would have collisions at 8221 PeV. Again very far short of 1/3 Planck energy.
Particles like protons from space causing Planck scale energy collisions in our atmosphere haven't been observed either, not even at 1/3 Planck energies, though Very High Energy events in the Quintillian Exa scale have been detected or 3 zeros more than Peta, or EeV events of up to 41.1 EeV at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Far far higher than LHC maximum energies.
Can the LHC still produce mBH? Maybe.
If theoretical extra dimensions exist as in Superstring theory, the LHC will be ready to make a grab bag of collider objects starting at 8 TeV collision energies. Physicists are eager to find out. If staggering cosmic energies are out of reach, the amount of energy available at the LHC is already fantastic without any reconsideration of gravity effects. Even physicists at CERN will tell you.
A Closer Look at a 7 TeV Proton Beam at the LHC
In case you're still wondering how to relate to all the energy in one 7 TeV beam, Rutger Schmidt of CERN, during a Powerpoint presentation at a collider conference in 2004 on "Accidental beam losses and protection at the LHC" put it this way:
"Instantaneous beam power for one beam 3.9 TWatt [Trillion Watts]
. . .during 89 microseconds [89 millionths of a second]
. . .corresponds to the power of 1700 nuclear power plants"
This is not a typo. This is about all the nuclear power plants there are worldwide combined to equal the power of 1 beam at 7 TeV. There are 2 simultaneous beams circulating in opposite directions at the LHC. This is not sustained LHC energy, meaning that 1 beam if hitting a target would only blast it for 89 microseconds. That beam would then be consumed if the target was big enough like a mountain, but the LHC could make another one soon enough.
While the beam is traveling a few meters short of the speed of light, it doesn't need a lot of time to deliver the burst even though the beam itself is 27 km (17 miles) long with gaps among the 2808 proton bunches. If you were the target besides being dead, you would have been hit by 2808 × 1.1 × 10^11 protons. Each proton would if you could see it coming at you at near light speed, would not be the usual extremely small invisible ball it is when at rest, but compressed by a factor of ?? (100 times at a low 100 GeV in the 200 GeV collision below from RHIC) into a flattened disk of fire much brighter and hotter than our sun. The difference at LHC energies is hardly comparable. Collisions at 14 TeV are 70 times the energy of RHIC.
LHC protons with tremendous energy added to them and transformed into extra mass will also be far heavier. CERN's calculations for a 7 TeV proton gives it a new mass of 7460.52 times the ordinary rest mass.
You would be hit by 308,880,000,000,000 heavy proton disks in one beam or about 309 Trillion protons. For 2 beams colliding with each other at the LHC double that to 618 Trillion protons colliding at 14 TeV. Or Schmidt's energy of 1700 × 2 for 3400 nuclear power plants focused together for an instant in a TicTac space blowing up? Expanding? Feeding on all the protons? Stabilizing into something unknown? Decaying in a shower of particles?
So far in low power colliders the result is a shower of particles, as in the collisions above, pp from a test at 2.36 TeV at CMS at the LHC last December (higher up the page) to AuAu or gold ions colliding at about 1/14 of the CMS test energy or 200 GeV in the RHIC's PHENIX Detector above. Note the RHIC's clearer image of the fusion event and burst of particles.
No one knows what will happen at much higher collision energies at the LHC. CERN claims that even these extremely well-aligned and focused collisions between needle-like beams will only yield a modest 600 million head-on full-impact collisions per second. No way of knowing in fact how many of the super-heavy super-charged super-fast protons will actually collide or be captured in the much larger fireball of fusion energy. All 618 Trillion protons will arrive in the same TicTac fusion space within 89 microseconds, contained within an incredibly powerful magnetic field in any of the LHC's 4 giant detectors.
LHC Magnetic Fields Boosting Beam Energy
The effect of super high Tesla fields on beams surprised CERN during the recent December tests at the LHC. "?? CMS solenoid changes the beam energy??" from a screenshot slide in a CERN presentation, "Operating the LHC with Beam (on behalf of the LHC team) December 18, 2009". More on that later.
Add Trajectory Energy?
Or if Shurtleff is right on gravity, double that maximum collision energy CERN already expects to include Trajectory Energy, for 6800 nuclear power plants. CERN wouldn't complain. The LHC is supposed to recreate conditions a billionth of a second after the Big Bang, but on a very very very small scale.
From the Known to the Unknown
Of course low power colliders like Fermilab's Tevatron with its proton-antiproton collisions and CERN's earlier LEP that collided electrons-positrons, produced useful results like new matter point-like particles from fusion energy released. Brookhaven's RHIC has been colliding a range of heavy ions especially Gold ions. Some theoretical particles of the Standard Model were confirmed by these colliders.
But these old colliders have done about all they can do in producing new particles. New States of Matter attempted are also beyond their reach. The gigantic 27 km LHC is the next logical step over small low power puny colliders.
In this brave new world of extremely high energies, the LHC should produce extended heavy objects for the first time. I wish Giddings had said that. Then we could have had our panic attack back in January.
This is Part 2 of a report on machine safety and potential risks of expected Collider Objects like mBH at the LHC when the collider jumps to very high unknown energies this March. "Doomsday Report: New Physics At The LHC" will appear in The Science of Conundrums.
NewsHammer Part 1: Large Hadron Collider Waiting For Doomsday