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:
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.
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.
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
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.