Creating "Sparks"

Discussion of the end of the world brought about by ultra high energy colliders.
Kasuha
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by Kasuha » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:05 am

Stephen wrote:I strongly disagree. If there is minor risk of the world ending by a certain scientific experiment, it must be stopped. Just because you think it is worth the risk, doesn't mean that you can decide it for the rest of the world and put the entire planet on the line. However, there is evidence to suggest that the LHC can't possibly pose any threat to the earth, so it doesn't apply in this particular case.
Stephen,
there is 100% chance the Earth will be destroyed. It won't happen anytime soon (probably) but it will happen as the Sun is not stable enough to let us live till the end of the Universe. And we got to find a feasible way how to find another planet to inhabit when that happens. And that is not possible without discovering how the universe is working because we are not going to cross that distance by walking.
If we stop that because somebody thinks there is slight chance we may die in the process ... we WILL die.

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chelle
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:21 am

chriwi wrote:Interesting comments, but I cannot help to say: most of them are not exactly referring to the questions asked, but they sure contain backgroundknowledge which helps to make your own thoughts about the questions.

The most important answer is the one about the conservation of energy, combined with the fact that all known outcomes of destruction of protons or small nuclei (lighter than iron) contain more enrgy than the things started with, so that energy is onlyconsumed but not released.
I agree, so I posted him yesterday a follow up question and got a reply, here it is:

-------------

Question 4:

Thank you for your reply, things are becoming much clearer although this one thing about energy keeps intriguing me a bit. If I may quote two of your comments:

To smash a nucleus apart, you must usually INVEST energy to overcome nuclear attraction-- you cannot extract any. That's why creating high-energy jets puts in energy and does not add to it--just distributes it among more and more particles.

and

If you look at a picture of a high energy jet on film, all you see is straight lines: once a charged particle approaches the velocity of light, the track it leaves on the film gives no clue to its energy (except that it exceeds some minimum).

In the first quote you say there is no energy added to jets, and in the second one you say that we have no (precise) clue of the energy of jets. If you use the comparison of billiard balls, and you take the first shot, in a game of eight-ball, and break the rack apart, the energy of the white cue-ball is divided over all the 15 object-balls and this corresponds to the first quote, but let's say that all the 15 object-balls plus the white ball have momentum, in that case the balls that are sprayed away have more energy than the incoming cue-ball. So one jet might contain more energy than what is "invested" into the event. Until now, with the powers that have been used, not one ball has come out of the break, to have enough energy to break an other rack, because of the inner mechanism of the nucleus is to strong.

But if I may use an other analogy, where the nuclei of atoms are like windmills and matter is like a field of windmills. In this case when you smash 2 against each other, their parts start flying in all directions and their vanes are launched away like Jets, now in a normal situation the blades would be rotating at normal speed and harmless and will not be cast away at a higher speed than the incoming windmill. But if you do generate a lot of heat by generating one collision after the other, that might make the vanes of all windmills in the area spin at an extreme high speed. If they get hit in such a situation, it would take just enough energy of an incoming vane to also lose its composure, and launch vanes into the surrounding mills etc.

Image

To come back to the lhc and cosmic rays and the arguments of high altitude, cold, atmospheric pressure etc. I would like to refer to this safety report of a fire in a bar in Holland where branches on the ceiling caused an enormous short fire on New Years eve. If you read the report it says at page 6: "When comparing tests 1a and 1b it can be noticed that relatively small details have enormous consequences for the overall fire behavior. " (see pdf: http://www.dgmr.nl/uploads/media/dehemel.pdf + fire)

I guess the windmill-thing is the last visualization and question that I can come up with and maybe a bit far fetched, also the comparison of sparks that generate a fire-ball, with sub-atomic sparks is probably not correct, but I would like to hear your comments,

--

The billiard balls are a better analogy. Your 15 cue balls are practically at rest, maybe wobbling a bit because of the background heat energy. All the energy given to them comes from the cue ball, and if the collision is perfectly elastic, it is preserved though subdivided. Momentum is also preserved: so if the cue ball starts in some direction, the resulting spray of balls (and that is a very fast collision!) is also centered around that direction.

Now suppose the billiard table is very dusty. The spray of balls than leaves a bundle of tracks in the dust, and from the tracks alone, we cannot tell which are the fastest and which the slowest. Charged particles leave a track (in film, bubble chamber etc,) due to the electrons they manage to tear off the material's atoms during the passage. That "tearing off", in turn, depends on the time the fast particle spends in the vicinity of the target atom. For slow particles, the time is longer, and the track they leave is thick. Once however they move at close to the velocity c of light, the time they spend is roughly the same, regardless of whether they move at 0.99c or 0.999999c, where the energy is much larger. If all particles in the jet are fast and all have the same charge, they all leave "minimum ionization" tracks which look the same.
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chriwi » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:43 am

For your Windmill example I can onlysay: that is true for windmills and many other systems containing energy in form of motion, heat or cemicly bound, but there is no known effect about nuclei, protons or quarks which shows a behviour like that, by all what is known or firmly postulated by now theese particles just not behave like a windmill-field, if they would there sure was a chance of danger, but it still would depend on the energy each windmill contains, the energy necessaryto destroy a windmill and the likelyhood if a strong enoug debree of one windmill will hit and destroy at least one other windmill (even then only a possibility but many ifs).

@kasuha: thanks, that is exactly what I mean, and I even go sofar: if men never tryed anything wich consequences they could not overlook completely theywould never have started to bring fire to their homes or to mix different powders to make gold or porcellan. The first gunbpowder surely had no precedence in nature and the one who made it surely did not know if that could start anychainreaction in the athmosphere or not.
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by Stephen » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:30 am

Don't try to make it sound like careless behavior should be encouraged. Before scientists tested the first atom bomb, there was a fear that it could potentially burn the entire atmosphere. They ignored the safety concerns and took the risk anyway. It was a completely irresponsible thing to do. Even though the atmosphere didn't burn, the consequences of nuclear weapons were devastating, and continue to be a problem to this day. I think the world would be much better if scientists listened to their worries and decided to forgo the testing of nuclear weapons. Don't you?

Should we experiment with biological weapon and viruses with no regulations? Should we perform collisions in energies of 10^40 eV because we are curious?

I could care less about the sun turning into a red giant in 5 billion years. If there are still people living on this planet by that time, they will have to come up with solutions. It's their problem, not mine.

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chriwi » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:45 am

Your personal risk is only if you will be still alive tomorrow or not for all the other people and the rest of the planet it doesn't matter to you any bit more than the eople in 5 billion years, but the risk for every one of us to die the next day for other reasons than the LHC is a multiple of 1000 higher than to die because of the LHC.

There are many other posibilities to destroy live on this planet within a tim much shorter than the burnout of the sun and the best possibility to avoid extinction of humanity is to find a way to diversify to planets of other stars as soon as possible (might take at least another 1000 years anyways).

In my opinion there are only 2 kinds of civilisations the first one will be extinguished for whatever reason before they become sfe by splitting up to other planets and the second one has a chance to survive. To become thesecond one one have to find the right way between too careless and destroying yourselfe and too worrying and waiting until something from outside will destroy you. The only question is: where is that right middle way?
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by Kasuha » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:37 am

Stephen wrote:Don't try to make it sound like careless behavior should be encouraged. Before scientists tested the first atom bomb, there was a fear that it could potentially burn the entire atmosphere. They ignored the safety concerns and took the risk anyway. It was a completely irresponsible thing to do. Even though the atmosphere didn't burn, the consequences of nuclear weapons were devastating, and continue to be a problem to this day. I think the world would be much better if scientists listened to their worries and decided to forgo the testing of nuclear weapons. Don't you?
You're completely wrong.
Atmosphere didn't burn not because we were lucky but because there is no chance it can burn. And people involved in the program knew it because they were actually able to do all necessary calculations.
Regarding consequences, all atomic tests consequences including Hiroshima and Nagasaki have a long way to go to match what malaria, car accidents or smoking does to mankind every year. I'd recommend you to visit Chernobyl - it's actually beautiful nature reservation now when people left it fearing about radiation, because nature does not care about radiation. And don't worry there are no deadly mutants there, just healthy animals and plants which simply adapted to the environment.
Stephen wrote:Should we experiment with biological weapon and viruses with no regulations? Should we perform collisions in energies of 10^40 eV because we are curious?
Should we experiment with fire with no regulations because we are curious?
Should we experiment with steam with no regulations because we are curious?
Should we experiment with electricity with no regulations because we are curious?
Should we experiment with flying with no regulations because we are curious?
I kinda don't get your point.
Stephen wrote:I could care less about the sun turning into a red giant in 5 billion years. If there are still people living on this planet by that time, they will have to come up with solutions. It's their problem, not mine.
Theoretically, sun can explode any time, including tomorrow. There's very small chance for it but it can happen. in fact, I'm pretty sure the chance that Sun will explode and destroy earth in a few years is higher than that the LHC will produce anything dangerous. You still don't care? Are you really sure it's not your problem? Do you still think we should just sit here and watch it coming?

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chriwi » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:13 am

I don't know, why sun should explode in the next years, but we really don't know , we only know that it didn't explode for about 4,5billion years now and also not so many of the billions of stars explodeevery year that we should expect that.
Much more likely is tha humanity gets a big problem by the earth being hit by a big meteor, because that happened about verey 15million years alredy before, was part of the extinction of another successful race or better of 90% of all species living on earth at that time and cannot be disproofed by observations of other planets, large craters on planetswith less athmosphere or even the observation of Shoemaker-Levy-9 falling into Jupiter proof rarther the oposite. Also for this reason and even for man made reasons like overpopulatin, pllution nad wars or even carteless experiments it is important to deversify to more than one planet to avoid extinction.
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by Stephen » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:51 am

Kasuha wrote: I kinda don't get your point.
I don't get yours. If Iran achieved nuclear weapon and declared it had intentions of using it against other countries, would you say that it is not a big deal because there's a higher chance of us dying from car accidents?
Kasuha wrote:You still don't care?
No, I still don't care about the sun. I am, however, worried about a quantum tunneling metastability event. Go ahead, do collisions in energies higher than cosmic rays. You won't be able to increase your science knowledge as a result, because you'll be eaten by a vacuum bubble in a blink of an eye. But you don't care that other people don't necessarily want to risk their lives in favor of particle physics, do you?

You want to blow things up, collide things, play around with viruses and claim it's safe because there's a higher chance of you dying by car accidents? Do you even listen to yourself?

So I guess the US government is ridiculous for trying to prevent Iran from achieving an atom bomb, because there is a higher chance of the 7 million people of Israel dying from car accidents than nuclear weapons, right?

I guess the people who perform security checks at airports are also insane, because there is a higher chance of the 4 million people who fly in airplanes each day dying from car accidents than plane crashes or terrorist attacks, right?

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by oxodoes » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:35 am

Stephen wrote:No, I still don't care about the sun. I am, however, worried about a quantum tunneling metastability event. Go ahead, do collisions in energies higher than cosmic rays. You won't be able to increase your science knowledge as a result, because you'll be eaten by a vacuum bubble in a blink of an eye.
The higest energies recorded in cosmic rays is about 3*10^20 eV, which is 8 orders of magnitude higher then the LHC energy and can not possibly be reached by a manmade machine. From all we know nature does not allow global doomsday scenarios, because if it would the universe would have ended long before our existance.
Stephen wrote:I guess the people who perform security checks at airports are also insane, because there is a higher chance of the 4 million people who fly in airplanes each day dying from car accidents than plane crashes or terrorist attacks, right?
In a way they are!! Terrorist will never be able to destroy a meaningful part of our infrastructure, yet what they can do is spread fear. A fear that has lead global players such as the USA to restrict the basic freedoms of there citizens and has caused many inconviniences in our daily live (such as paranoid security checks). The correct way of dealing with terrorist would be to ignore the fanatics and help the underdeveloped countries instead of invading them.

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:41 am

Kasuha wrote:Atmosphere didn't burn not because we were lucky but because there is no chance it can burn. And people involved in the program knew it because they were actually able to do all necessary calculations.
Calculations aren't always right, therefor testing, check out this story of 'The Lucky Dragon":

When the test was held (hydrogen bomb), the Daigo Fukuryū Maru was catching fish outside the danger zone which the U.S. government had declared in advance. However, the test was over twice as powerful as it was predicted to be, and changes in weather patterns blew nuclear fallout, in the form of a fine ash, outside of the danger zone.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daigo_Fukuryū_Maru

7 months later the captain died. :obscene-hanged:
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by LarryS » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:45 am

He who gives up freedom for security, deserves neither ... Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by Stephen » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:56 am

oxodoes wrote: Terrorist will never be able to destroy a meaningful part of our infrastructure
I can't believe you are seriousely that insensitive. It doesn't matter to you that people are being killed, because they are not meaningful in percentage speaking?
oxodoes wrote: A fear that has lead global players such as the USA to restrict the basic freedoms of there citizens and has caused many inconveniences in our daily live (such as paranoid security checks).
I'm not sure what you're talking about. I always feel like the security checks on the airport are not strict enough. Even if there are small inconveniences (again, I'm not sure what they are), it's a small price to pay for not being murdered.

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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chriwi » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:18 pm

You are right when you say theeses controls are not srict enough to be safe, but I think they just cannot be strict enough without being rediculouse (they would have to check the stomach and as of every person (not to talk about women), even the controversive fullbodyscanners cannot find nonmetal things there). It is just not posssible as well as it is not possible to make cars so safe that nobody will die in traffic anymore. And even if you could take in account all possibilites a staff of experts can think of you never could be sure that not some terrorists come up with an idea the experts did not consider.

And exactly this is what we are talking about her: The LHC is safe asfar as many experts can imagine, only some semiexperts question if there could not be something nobodyever thought of and can also not clearly state what really could happen.
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:26 pm

LarryS wrote:He who gives up freedom for security, deserves neither ... Benjamin Franklin
Well, if we start trowing quotes around, how about this one:
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein

Now I'm not saying that I'm a genius but Stephen might be :D
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Re: Creating "Sparks"

Post by chelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:41 pm

oxodoes wrote:The higest energies recorded in cosmic rays is about 3*10^20 eV, which is 8 orders of magnitude higher then the LHC energy and can not possibly be reached by a manmade machine. From all we know nature does not allow global doomsday scenarios, because if it would the universe would have ended long before our existance.
I would like to bring up a few numbers already posted earlier:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray
Cosmic rays can have energies of over 10^20 eV, far higher than the 10^12 to 10^13 eV that man-made particle accelerators can produce.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high ... cosmic_ray
the OMG particle energy estimated to be approximately 3 × 10^20 eV. It was most probably a proton with a speed very close to the speed of light. The energy of most cosmic rays is between 10^7 eV and 10^10 eV.
The scheme of things:
Cosmic rays: 10^7 eV to 10^10 eV
Man-made: 10^12 to 10^13 eV
OMG Cosmic rays: 3 x 10^20 eV

And from professor Stern's site:
The gamma rays observed by HESS have energies of the order of 10^12 electron volts, presumably produced by cosmic ray particles of even higher energies,while almost all cosmic ray particles have much less. However, the distribution of cosmic ray energies extends even further (in very small numbers, true), and some have energies more than a million times larger. Such particles are very, very rare, but they have been detected,...
--

So the collisions of the lhc are far above "normal" cosmic ray collisions and at a real high frequency (10^9 collisions/second), the upper region of collisions are even very rare, perhaps 1 per year/km^2, and these high energy collisions happen at about 25 km Up in the air, on top of the atmosphere, where it is pretty cold, not a lot of atmospheric pressure, the density of the air (matter) is very low, there is almost no gravity and its on the borderline of open space. These aren't the same circumstances as in the lhc at all.
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