Der Spiegel (Physicists Allay Fears About the End of the World) points to the YouTube video above which depicts the wildly popular catastrophe theory that the world's largest ever "atom smasher"--the Large Hadron Collider about to be switched on at CERN (European Nuclear Research Center) any time now--could create a black hole big enough to swallow up the Earth. Of course, being a German magazine, (and therefore no fun at all), the report concentrates on the debunking of the theory by a group of German Quantum Physicists:
In another lifetime, I was working on the design and manufacture of powerful superconducting magnets for the General Electric Co. which had been tapped to supply some three thousand of them for what would've been America's own version of the LHC, called the Superconducting Super Collider. But the US Congress killed the project in 1994, which would've been built in Texas. There is an apocryphal story that claims a US Senator asked the Nobel Laureate, Harvard Physicist Steven Weinberg, whether the SSC would help us read the Mind of God, but got the wrong answer (or a disdainful look!) and that's why the SSC was never built and had to wait for Europe to do it with the LHC. The cancellation was a really huge disappointment for the entire scientific community, and some say it marked the end of American dominance in particle physics.
KET argues that those concerned about a tiny black hole growing into a large black hole fundamentally misunderstand well-established rules of quantum physics. For one, mini-black holes, the KET Web site assures its readers, would be just one billionth of a billionth of a gram in weight and would be extremely unstable. Indeed, according to a theory developed by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking, they would vanish almost instantaneously -- a phenomenon known as Hawking radiation. Anyone who says otherwise, KET says, doesn't completely get Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
Well I dare say we'll probably understand how to make and use black holes much sooner than we will figure out the US Congress. It's just our luck though...the CERN Black Hole would swallow up Mindanao and the MILF last of all.)