Posted by nonanswers on September 14, 2008
I decided to pool some easy to understand resources on LHC; what it may mean for scientific discovery and human survival.
What is LHC? in rap form.
Can we die from LHC creating Black Holes? Well it was turned on recently and nothing happened. Watch Michio Kaku, famed Physicist and author of “Physics of the Impossible” explains why the Large Hadron Collider will not create “killer Black Holes”
So if not Black holes that will destroy earth, what do scientists expect to find using LHC? Sean Carroll the physicist from California Institute of Technology breaks it down for us plebeians. Here are some of my favorites
1.Supersymmetry: 60%. Of all the proposals for physics beyond the Standard Model, supersymmetry is the most popular, and the most likely to show up at the LHC. But that doesn’t make it really likely. We’ve been theorizing about SUSY for so long that a lot of people tend to act like it’s already been discovered — but it hasn’t. On the contrary, the allowed parameter space has been considerably whittled down by a variety of experiments. String theory predicts SUSY, but from that point of view there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be hidden up at the Planck scale, which is 1015 times higher in energy than what the LHC will reach. On the other hand, SUSY can help explain why the Higgs scale is so much lower than the Planck scale — the hierarchy problem — if and only if it is broken at a low enough scale to be detectable at the LHC. But there are no guarantees, so I’m remaining cautious.
2.Dark Matter: 15%. A remarkable feature of dark matter is that you can relate the strength of its interactions to the abundance it has today — and to get the right abundance, the interaction strength should be right there at the electroweak scale, where the LHC will be looking. (At least, if the dark matter is thermally produced, and a dozen other caveats.) But even if it’s there, it might not be easy to find — by construction, the dark matter is electrically neutral and doesn’t interact very much. So we have a chance, but it will be difficult to say for sure that we’ve discovered dark matter at the LHC even if the accelerator produces it.
3.Something that Has Never Been Predicted: 50%. Here is my favorite thing to root for. Particle theorists have been coming up with new models for so long without being surprised by new experimental results, some of them have forgotten what it’s like. Nature has a way of throwing us curve balls — which is not only something to be anticipated, it’s something to be very grateful for. Surprises are how we learn things
4.Stable Black Holes That Eat Up the Earth, Destroying All Living Organisms in the Process: 10-25%. So you’re saying there’s a chance?
5.God: 10-20%. More likely than stable black holes, but still a long shot.
More at link
Additional NY TIMES article