Desire to Know the Unknowable
It has also been suggested that cack-handed scientists at the LHC might inadvertently call into being a miniature black hole and carelessly drop this into the centre of the Earth, rather irritatingly causing the planet to implode. It's certainly to be hoped that the button marked "Call Black Hole Into Being" on the control board has some kind of flip-down cover over it.
Obviously all that's utter rubbish. But some scientists have speculated that black holes might alternatively act as spacewarp wormhole portals into alternate universes, or something. This would seem to chime with Bertolucci's remarks this week on hyperdimensional "doors" out of which might come unspecified "somethings".
Anyone who has watched a TV, read any sci-fi or seen any movies will be well aware that hyperdimensional spacewarp wormhole portals don't normally lead to anything boring like empty space, parallel civilisations where humanity lives in peace and harmony or anything like that.
Rather, it seems a racing cert that we're looking here at an imminent visit from a race of carnivorous dinosaur-men, the superhuman clone hive-legions of some evil genetic queen-empress, infinite polypantheons of dark nega-deities imprisoned for aeons and hungering to feast upon human souls, a parallel-history victorious Nazi globo-Reich or something of that type.
We took the matter up with Dr Mike Lamont, a control-room scientist at the LHC.
"We're hoping to see supersymmetry and extra dimensions," he confirmed.
Pressed on the matter of doors through which something might come, as hinted at by Bertolucci, Lamont rather elliptically said "well, he's a theorist", before recommending the book Warped Passages by physicist Lisa Randall. This explores ways in which extra-dimensional space and entities might interact with our own. It uses among others the example of how a sphere moving in 3D space would appear to someone living on a single 2D plane-space - that is as a mysterious circle suddenly blossoming into existence, growing, perhaps moving about and then shrinking down and vanishing again.
"There's no maths in it," added Lamont encouragingly, having assessed the intellectual level of the Reg news team with disconcerting percipience.
Summarising, then, it appears that we might be in for some kind of invasion by spontaneously swelling and shrinking spherical or wheel-shaped creatures - something on the order of the huge rumbling stone ball from Indiana Jones - able to move in and out of our plane at will. Soon the cities of humanity will lie in smoking ruins, shattered by the Attack of the Teleporting Juggernaut-tyrants from the Nth Dimension.
Dr Bertolucci later got in touch to confirm that yes indeed, there would be an "open door", but that even with the power of the LHC at his disposal he would only be able to hold it open "a very tiny lapse of time, 10-26 seconds, [but] during that infinitesimal amount of time we would be able to peer into this open door, either by getting something out of it or sending something into it.
"Of course," adds Bertolucci, "after this tiny moment the door would again shut, bringing us back to our 'normal' four dimensional world ... It would be a major leap in our vision of Nature, although of no practical use (for the time being, at least). And of course [there would be] no risk to the stability of our world."
What is the LHC power consumption in past years?
It is around 120 MW (230 MW for all CERN), which corresponds more or less to the power consumption for households in the Canton (State) of Geneva. Assuming an average of 270 working days for the accelerator (the machine will not work in the winter period), the estimated yearly energy consumption of the LHC in 2009 is about 800 000 MWh. This includes site base load and the experiments. The total yearly cost for running the LHC is therefore, about 19 million Euros. CERN is supplied mainly by the French company EDF (Swiss companies EOS and SIG are used only in case of shortage
A large fraction of the LHC electrical consumption will be to keep the superconducting magnet system at the operating temperatures (1.8 and 4.2 K) depending on the magnets. Thanks to the superconducting technology employed for its magnets, the nominal consumption of the LHC is not much higher than that of the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), even though the LHC is much larger and higher in energy.
According to you also learn that:
CERN uses 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity annually. [...] CERN's power consumption falls to about 80 megawatts during the winter months.
Tags: strange unknown big bang big black space hole large Large Hadron Collider hadron collider LHC titanic machine extra-dimension aeons tunnel France-Swiss implode dimenional hyperdimensional strangelet soup