No matter what Martin Rees or anyone else says, physics dictates that the world is safe.
The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.
Inside, protons collide head-on at top speeds of 299,792,455 m/s: 99.99999896% the speed of light.
With a maximum of 13 TeV of energy available for new particle creation, it can make everything we predict exists.
If physics works the way we think it does, this energy is insufficient to make a black hole.
All black holes decay, via Hawking radiation, on timescales dependent on their mass/energy.
An energy of 13 TeV equates to decay times of 10^-83 seconds: 40 orders of magnitude below nature’s observability threshold.
If extra dimensions exist, however, that decay time could be increased up to 10^-23 seconds.
Under that scenario, the LHC could conceivably create a black hole whose products could be detected.
To prevent decay, new, unknown physics — for which no evidence exists — must be invoked.
Even if the newly created black hole were stable, it could not devour the Earth.
The maximum rate it could consume matter is 1.1 × 10^–25 grams-per-second.
It would take 3 trillion years to grow to a mass of 1 kg.
Under no circumstances is Earth in danger, even if black hole creation at the LHC is possible.
Mostly Mute Monday tells the scientific story of an object, image, or phenomenon in the Universe in visuals and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.Ethan Siegel is the author of Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology. You can pre-order his third book, currently in development: the Encyclopaedia Cosmologica.