GOOD

Large Hadron Collidor Researchers Hope To Touch Another Dimension

Atom smashing scientists could create mini-black holes to test whether gravity flows between dimensions

image via (cc) flickr user dominikf

Ordinarily I’m all for the sort of creative scientific research that moves us a little further from “stark reality” and closer to “Tony Stark reality.” That said, even I can’t help but wonder whether smashing atoms so hard they might punch through to another dimension altogether is such a great idea.


That, according to Express, is the plan for a series of experiments scheduled to take place in the coming weeks at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The experiments are designed to test aspects of the relatively recent “Rainbow Gravity” theory, which claims the universe was not brought into being through a singular “Big Bang” event, but rather has existed forever, without a fixed starting point. The theory postulates that each of light’s different wavelengths have their own, unique interactions with gravity, the effects of which can’t be felt on a large, planetary scale, but which may be detectable on the subatomic level.

In Express, researcher Mir Faizal, part of the team conducting the upcoming atom-smashing experiment, explains: “We predict that gravity can leak into extra dimensions, and if it does, then miniature black holes can be produced at the LHC.”

For anyone who has seen sci-fi/horror classic Event Horizon, pairing the words “black holes” and “extra dimensions” is very bad news. But, cautions Faizal, his experiment has a much more mundane explanation: The dimensions are not, as in some models of quantum physics, a reality in which “every possibility is actualized.” (So, not Sliders) Rather, what Faizal studies “is real universes in extra dimensions.” As he described earlier in the same interview: “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.”

To test whether there are other dimensions into which gravity from ours could theoretically flow, CERN scientists will use the Large Hadron Collidor to detect the miniature black holes necessitated by the Rainbow Gravity theory. That means cranking the atom smasher’s energy levels higher than they’ve ever gone before. European media reports the collidor will be powered up to an astonishing 13 teraelectron volts (TeV)–more than double the machine’s previous record of 5.3 TeV.

Should the LHC find, or even create, the miniature black holes prescribed by the Rainbow Gravity theory, University of Birmingham scientist Professor David Charlton tells The Birmingham Post it would “be a new era for science.”

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