Mini-Black Holes? Extra Dimensions? CERN Has An Exciting Week Ahead

Ever (ever) wonder (wonder) about (about) parallel (parallel) universes (universes)?  We might learn a whole lot more about them after a new round of experiments at CERN this week...

Smashing atoms, looking smashing.
(Image courtesy en.wikipedia.org.)




According to express.co.uk, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) based at the CERN center in Switzerland is going to be smashing more than just atoms this week...it might smash straight into another dimension.  The massive atom smasher will be running at its highest capacity ever, for the purpose of detecting (or possibly even creating) miniature black holes.

The experiment, which scientists say will NOT create a black hole that swallows our own universe whole, intends to attempt to create miniature black holes to observe whether gravity "leaks" into other dimensions.

Yes, this could get weird...but in a good, scientific way.
(Image courtesy pixgood.com.)

What?  How?  Huh?  Don't worry if this sounds like a bit of a mind-bender...even the scientists involved aren't exactly sure of what's going to happen, or how.  Mir Faizal, one of the three physicists running the project, explains it as such:

“Just as many parallel sheets of paper, which are two dimensional objects [breadth and length] can exist in a third dimension [height], parallel universes can also exist in higher dimensions...Normally, when people think of the multiverse, they think of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, where every possibility is actualised.  This cannot be tested and so it is philosophy and not science.  This is not what we mean by parallel universes. What we mean is real universes in extra dimensions.

{If} gravity can flow out of our universe into the extra dimensions, such a model can be tested by the detection of mini black holes at the LHC.  We have calculated the energy at which we expect to detect these mini black holes in ‘gravity's rainbow’ [a new scientific theory].  If we do detect mini black holes at this energy, then we will know that both gravity's rainbow and extra dimensions are correct."

Mini-black holes could lead to big discoveries.
(Image courtesy atramateria.com.)

This sort of experiment isn't as simple as chasing a rainbow of gravity, or poking a hole in space-time. The LHC operates on the order of trillions of volts - known as Tera electron volts or TeVs. Previous experiments have utilized up to 5.3 TeVs, but this attack on our known reality (according to a model of the experiment) will require close to or over double that, namely 9.5 TeV for black holes to appear in six dimensions or 11.9 TeV for ten.

Ten extra dimensions, you read that correctly. Located using black holes made from over ten trillion volts of energy. Well, the denizens of those dimensions sure can't say we didn't try to say hi. And if the experiment is unsuccessful this time, we've even accounted for what might need to be looked for in the future.

Provided that we still have a future.  (Don't worry, science says we're safe.)
Image courtesy jjbiel-goebel.com.)

According to the International Business Times, Mohammed M. Khalil, another researcher involved in the project, said, "If black holes are not detected at the predicted energy levels, this would mean one of three possibilities. One, extra dimensions do not exist. Two, they exist, but they are smaller than expected. Or three, the parameters of gravity's rainbow need to be modified."

Extra dimensions or not, some interesting new ideas will come to light from this attempt at chasing darkness.

Humanity didn't build this giant device to smash tiny particles for nothing.  Bring it, fresh physics!
(Image courtesy physicsdatabase.com.)

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