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Hawking Radiation Claimed Created In a Lab 129

eldavojohn writes "In 1974, a young newcomer to the Royal Society named Stephen Hawking predicted that black holes emit Hawking Radiation. Researchers have been looking for it in space ever since. A new paper up for publication claims to have beaten searchers by observing it in a lab. Doing it wasn't easy. They say they brought light to a standstill by drastically increasing the refractive index of the material it was being fired at, creating a 'white hole.' This horizon, beyond which light cannot penetrate (event horizon), is the same between white and black holes, which caused the team to suspect they observed Hawking Radiation when light of a different uniform wavelength than the input laser was emitted. But, before you rejoice, the Tech Review article notes, 'Of course, the big question is whether the emitted light is generated by some other mechanism such as Cerenkov radiation, scattering or, in particular, fluorescence which is the hardest to rule out.'"
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Hawking Radiation Claimed Created In a Lab

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  • by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:14AM (#33710716)

    Even if the black holes the LHC might create don't evaporate, they'd be rather harmless.

    Why? Well their radius is terribly small so the chances of collisions with anything else are pretty small. Furthermore, their mass is extremely small as well and gravity is the weakest of the forces. They would have a extremely difficult time ever gaining more mass.

    Not to mention, if they don't evaporate then there is a fair chance they are all over the place already, thanks to cosmic ray strikes.

  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:15AM (#33710720)

    So they are actually going to make black holes at LHC without even knowing if it will evaporate?

    For the LHC to create black holes at all would require a whole bunch of very speculative physics to be true, and a whole bunch of very well-established physics to be false.

    In particular, if the LHC can create black holes then millions of black holes are being created every day by cosmic rays, which can have twenty orders of magnitude more energy than the LHC. No evidence of those black holes is seen anywhere, not in geochemical track analysis, not in the radiation signature of cosmic ray showers, no where. Ergo, either such black holes are not being created, or they are being destroyed with incredible rapidity.

    For the beam dump of the LHC to behave any differently would require physics so arcane as to be basically magic, and anyone who is worried about it should also be terrified that a herd of flying elephants will trample them to death, because that's a far more probable event.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:49AM (#33711170)

    Isn't it a bit too coincidental that a guy named Stephen Hawking would discover something called Hawking radiation. I call BS.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire