On the potential catastrophic risk from metastable quantum-black holes produced at particle colliders
The question of whether collider produced of subnuclear black holes might constitute a catastrophic risk is explored in a model of Casadio & Harms (2002) that treats them as quantum-mechanical objects. A plausible scenario in which these black holes accrete ambient matter at the Eddington limit shortly after their production, thereby emitting Hawking radiation that would be harmful to Earth and/or CERN and its surroundings, is described. Such black holes are shown to remain undetectable in existing astrophysical observations and thus evade a recent exclusion of risks from subnuclear black holes by Giddings & Mangano (2008) and and a similar one by Koch et al. (2009). I further question that these risk analyses are complete for the reason that they exclude plausible black-hole parameter ranges from safety consideration without giving any reason. Some feasible operational measures at colliders are proposed that would allow the lowering of any remaining risk probability. Giddings & Mangano drew different general conclusions only because they made different initial assumptions about the properties of microscopic black holes, not because any of their technical conclusions are incorrect. A critical comment by Giddings & Mangano (2008) on the present paper and a preprint by Casadio et al.(2009) - that presents a treatment of the present issue with methods and assumptions similar to mine - are addressed in appendices.
- Pub Date:
- August 2008
- Physics - General Physics
- Revised and updated. Now contains a new appendix on the closely related paper (arXiv:0901.2948) and an improved reply to the critical comment (arXiv:0808.4087)