• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Frank Simon | MPI for Physics | Germany

View Blog | Read Bio

Teachers and Black Holes

Sitting underneath an alpine panorama in the Lufthansa Lounge in Munich: A last touch of Bavaria before heading out to Asia.

Sitting underneath an alpine panorama in the Lufthansa Lounge in Munich: A last touch of Bavaria before heading out to Asia.

My travel spree continues, and while I’m waiting in the newly renovated Lufthansa Lounge at Munich for my flight to Beijing via Frankfurt, I have a few minutes to think back to my lecture at a teacher’s training event last Saturday. At a school in Zwiesel, a small town in some remote area of Bavaria, I was giving a lecture on black holes at hadron colliders, a topic I’ve been talking about frequently ever since I gave an extremely well attended lecture on this at the TU Munich in Summer 2008. Also this time, it was certainly something that kept the 100+ teachers awake and interested on a late Saturday afternoon.

I’m sure you’ve all followed the controversy on this topic, so I will not go into the details here. On the CERN website, answers to every conceivable scenario in connection to black hole creation can be found, proving beyond doubt that whatever we will create at LHC, it will be hopefully very exciting scientifically, but not dangerous for us and our planet. Actually just a few days before I gave my lecture, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany’s highest court which judges on constitutional matters, came out with a press release about a decision on a complaint by a German citizen living in Switzerland, who saw her constitutional right to be save from bodily harm violated by the approaching start-up of the high energy run of LHC. For those of you that speak German, here is the link. It is a fantastic read. The court ruled that the complaint is not accepted, stating that the refusal to believe in well-established scientific laws is not sufficient to demand a stop to large scale science experiments. They clearly state that it is not enough to invent a disaster scenario tailored to a specific project, without providing a convincing chain of arguments that such a scenario could indeed take place. Otherwise, every large-scale project could be stopped by just inventing something crazy enough that would force the courts to end the projects. So, indeed, a very good ruling for science as a whole!

At the lecture, none of the teachers seemed worried by the experiments at the LHC, but they were certainly happy to be given arguments for discussions with their students. I hope I could also convey my excitement about the science ahead. While I personally think the creation of mini-black holes is extremely unlikely, it is certainly one of the most spectacular things that could come out of the LHC experiments: Finally, this would bring gravity into reach for particle physics experiments, and open a completely new world for us.

With that, I’m off to the Linear Collider Workshop in Beijing…

Share