Black Holes and Bits of Metal

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been down for the last two years, receiving upgrades to push it forward and send atoms smashing against each other at ever increasing speeds. This is the instrument that found the elusive Higgs-Boson particle in 2012.

It was expected to be put back online this week, but it seems there is a snag.

One of the electromagnets is not currently operational and the team has pinpointed the problem to a small piece of metal that is disrupting the machine. Sensitive work indeed. It could take from a few days to over five weeks to get the LHC back to full speed and technicians at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are working around the clock to address the issue.

Once working, the LHC will be used to test the extremities of physics, from black holes to dark matter and string theory.

A recent paper published in Physics Letters B is bringing new theories that will be tested directly with the LHC. While we haven’t been able to create a fledgling black hole yet, it is hoped that will a new understanding of string theory it will no longer be impossible.

Written by a trio of physicists, Mir Faizal, Mohammed M. Khalil and Ahmed Farag Ali, the paper posits a new way to search for “mini-black holes”. These are significantly smaller than the one at the center of the Milky Way, and typically exist for much less than a second. And as a note, should a mini-black hole be created, it will be far too small to create any real threat.

Their theory works on something called rainbow gravity. Different colors of light (different wavelengths) all have different levels of energy. Because of this, they travel at different speeds and are affected by gravity in different ways.

Enter parallel universes and string theory: If correct, the group expects to see gravity from other universes affects the different wavelengths of lights at different rate. If they can detect the difference, it may be a huge step in proving parallel universes, and thus string theory.

The Large Hadron Collider is the largest particle accelerator in the world and has resulted in a plethora of particles previously only surmised by physics. After the technical issued are settled, we can only expect great results from what is arguably the most impressive single machine humanity has yet created.