Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole - NYTimes

Physicists 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 By GEORGE JOHNSON Published: September 11, 2001 To see black holes, those gravitational whirlpools that suck in matter and even light, you need not just a powerful telescope but a bit of imagination. You can't observe the holes themselves, just the bad effects they have on their neighborhoods: gobs of stellar matter screaming out radiation as they are pulled toward what appears to be an omnivorous, bottomless pit. It is comforting to think that something so voracious is so far away. But there are times when physicists wish that they could take a closer look. Some of the newest ideas in high-energy physics suggest that this may soon be possible. The next generation of particle accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider, which is under construction at CERN, the European physics center near Geneva, may be able to produce miniature black holes on demand. Some particle physicists say they may be in a better position than the cosmologists to establish, once and for all, that black holes are real. ''Future colliders could become black hole factories,'' said Dr. Steven B. Giddings, a physicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara. If some recent theories turn out to be right, the effect would be far from subtle, with one tiny black hole popping into existence every second and harmlessly disappearing with an unmistakable burst of energy. ''Black hole production should light up the detectors like Christmas trees,'' Dr. Giddings said. Dr. Greg Landsberg, a Brown University physicist who also works at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., is hoping to give the astronomers a run for their money. ''Despite what cosmologists like to tell the general public,'' he said, ''there is no compelling evidence that they have seen a single black hole. There will essentially be a competition to see who finds a black hole first.''
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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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Physicists Strive to Build A Black Hole - NYTimes -...

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