2Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole - NYTimes

2Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole - NYTimes -...

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Search All NYTimes.com Advertise on NYTimes.com Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole Published: September 11, 2001 (Page 2 of 3) In theory you do not need stars to make black holes. Even two objects as small as subatomic particles would form a black hole if they were squeezed into an extremely small space. That, however, would require the energy of a particle accelerator the size of a galaxy, something that would never get through Congress. But there may be a cost-cutting alternative, a recipe for making black holes at energies around a trillion electron-volts -- within the range of the Large Hadron Collider. The plan is based on the possibility that scientists have been underestimating the full strength of gravity. Suppose that within spaces of less than a millimeter, where gravity has yet to be reliably measured, it is far more powerful. Then subatomic particles would not have to be compressed so severely before their gravity took over and sucked them into a black hole. Why would gravity behave that way? The answer requires taking a leap of faith: when one reaches into the submillimeter realm, extra dimensions open up. And when gravity has more dimensions in which to operate, it becomes far more intense. Imagine two particles hurtling toward a head-on collision. As the gap between them narrows, their gravitational pull on each other increases according to what is called the inverse square law. That means that each time the distance is halved, the gravitational attraction becomes four times as strong. For it to become strong enough to form a black hole, the gap would have to be narrowed to 10 to the minus 33 centimeters, a distance called the Planck length -- and that would require a galactic-size accelerator.
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This note was uploaded on 01/28/2012 for the course AERO 2.0 taught by Professor Alexandratechet during the Spring '09 term at MIT.

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2Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole - NYTimes -...

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