On the vast CERN landscape outside Geneva, there’s only one figure in science tilting at the LHC windmill, Dr Otto E Rössler(Roessler). An aged veteran with some 300 research papers under his belt, sometimes called the father of Chaos theory, he looks the part of a sprightly campaigner for human rights, for knowledge and the imagination, poised now to do battle with the fiercest demons of all, the dreaded micro black holes from the Large Hadron Collider, should they appear. He worries they will consume the earth for breakfast.

CERN, the arch enchanter of nuclear physics, isn’t much concerned, with an underground lab to rival any fortress ever built, bolstered by an army of 2,500 physicists and another 6,000 worldwide just in case.

The ALICE Experiment, Time Projection Chamber, LHC, courtesy CERN 2007

If you do the math, there’s not much chance Rössler can delay the firing of the first round of protons, delayed over and over again by CERN itself, due to construction and technical problems for three years now, though again expected perhaps this September. This June CERN released its own review of LHC Safety concerns, the LSAG Report, that includes a discussion of micro black holes and other dangerous objects that might be produced. It denies the probability of any such theoretical problems, including mBH.

So far the scientific community and the public at large haven’t heard much about Rössler’s new theories. Those who have say he hasn’t the credentials in physics, though his accomplishments are many, and in several fields, including physics papers he’s published, and teaching Theoretical Physics. Starting out in 1966 with a degree in medicine, then a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute in Behavioral Physiology, he began his teaching career in Theoretical Biology at SUNY, Buffalo, in 1969, and then became professor of Theoretical Biochemistry at the University of Tübingen in 1970, where he still teaches today.

Professor Otto E Rössler lecturing, courtesy Bild/Jonathan Gröger 2008
In recognition of his accomplishments in chemistry, he was made a Professor of Chemistry by Decree.

As a visiting professor he’s taught at several universities in Canada, the U.S. and Denmark. What’s remarkable is each appointment was for a different discipline: Visiting Professor of Mathematics, of Nonlinear Studies, of Chemical Engineering, of Theoretical Physics, and of Complexity Research. Currently teaching Chaos Theory and Brain Theory at the University of Tübingen, he also collaborates with ATOMOSYD, a French research group studying Topological Analysis and Modeling of Dynamical Systems. So far he has published 5 books, among them, Encounter with Chaos, 1992, about his work on Chaos theory since the 1970s. Endophysics: The World as an Interface, 1998, is his introduction to a new field of physics he founded.

In physics you’ve got to be a physicist, especially a pre-eminent one, if you want to challenge CERN, which of course is loaded with them, including Nobel Laureates. It’s not just snobbery, but it’s more or less the club rules today. If they had been applied to Albert Einstein when he was drudging as a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office, he would have dwelt in obscurity. Actually as it happens, Einstein’s logic informs much of Rössler’s thinking on black holes.

Rather than let the matter drop, as other scientists do when they’re outgunned, Rössler continues to drum up support for a delay in LHC start-up, seriously alarmed at the prospect of runaway black holes being created that could destroy this planet. To that end he’s called for a Conference on LHC Safety, and has submitted his theories directly to CERN for evaluation. His latest foray is more political. In mid-August he is to meet the Swiss President, Pascal Couchepin.

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr Rössler. The interview follows.

Gillis: How did you arrive at the idea that mBH, if produced at the Large Hadron Collider, could accrete matter?

Early on, the idea that the LHC could be dangerous did not arrive in my brain. A Relativist friend of mine who was correcting this paper on my new interpretation of the Schwarzschild metric, asked me just as a joke if this wouldn't have repercussions on the LHC. I didn't know what the LHC was. It forced me to think whether this was a good question or a joke. Then it might mean that black holes or mini black holes cannot evaporate. The mathematics are the same. I tried to falsify (disprove) it, but I couldn't.

Another thing that occurred to me is that we can now predict the existence of non-point shaped black holes using El Naschie’s Fractal theory. Once we know they are string-shaped then we can ask what is their size. It occurred to me only a few days ago that we might use El Naschie’s theory to calculate their size.

Gillis: So you think that String theory is basically correct?

Yes. I never believed in String theory until quite recently, when I found this result.  That electrons cannot be essentially point-shaped.  For if they were, they would necessarily be little black holes at the same time, which indeed no one else finds objectionable.  But black holes are uncharged according to my new reading of the Schwarzschild metric.  Strings then must already exist in front of our eyes -- in the form of electrons.  This makes string-shaped mini black holes much more likely.

Gillis: Are you suggesting that you think electrons are actually elementary black holes?

No, it is everybody else who implicitly thinks so.  They could of course also be clouds of smaller charged particles, in principle, although I doubt it. This would only reiterate the problem.

Gillis: Then you agree that like all particles in String theory, electrons are string-shaped and not point-shaped in real space?

That is too hard a question for me to answer definitively.  In real space, there would only be a size increase, I guess.  But so perhaps, more or less the same one for all mini particles, from neutrinos to mini black holes? 

Gillis: There are still no experimental confirmations of String theory, not from collider data or any other experiments. CERN is hoping to find evidence of Strings at the much higher energies of the LHC.

Yes, it is one of the two big goals, besides the Higgs.

Gillis: There are a lot of String theorists at CERN. Given that String theory supports the formation of mBH at much lower energies than what you would need to produce a Planck mass size Black Hole, perhaps within reach of LHC collision energies, then why isn’t CERN taking this seriously? They did earlier, with their "Micro Black Hole Factory". Now the recent safety assessment by CERN, the LSAG report, discounts them, quoting Einstein’s Relativity, that they are an impossibility.

They’re less enthusiastic than they were before. The String theorists don’t believe in String theory anymore. That was my impression when I met Dr Landua at CERN, but maybe I misunderstood him. They don’t talk about black holes anymore since I started saying they are dangerous. They even abandoned String theory just to say they don’t believe in them anymore.

Gillis: What do you think the probabilities are of mBH being produced at the LHC with proton to proton collisions at 10 TeV, before winter this year?

I would almost say something like 10%. Maybe 16% or 16.6%. Russian Roulette has 6 probabilities.

Gillis: If they load the collider 6 times with protons? But seriously, at 14 TeV ordinary operating energies next year, and then much higher energy collisions planned for lead ions at 1,150 TeV, then the probability would be higher?

No, not in the second stage. Because quark-quark collision energies will still be low in that case.

Gillis: You wrote to Stephen Hawking recently on this subject, asking him to contact CERN, if he agreed there was room for doubt about black hole evaporation through Hawking radiation, and so some risk with mBH produced at the LHC. Did you get a response?

Not that I know of. I sent him the tape, actually on CD, of my long talk on this problem on January 31st in Berlin at the Transmediale, a big conference, an art conference. It was from the keynote address I gave. He asked his secretary to send a reply card which she did. I also asked several people to make contact with him. It’s a pity, really. I’m a big fan of his.

Gillis: You mentioned Dr Rolf Landua earlier. You had an interview with him at CERN this July 4th about your black hole theories. What happened?

It was an amiable meeting. When I arrived at the airport there were two ladies from Zurich expecting me. In order for me not to be alone. They were LHC activists. They accompanied me to CERN. When Landua came, he offered all three of us a ride to the ATLAS Detector. So there were four of us at the meeting later in the CERN cafeteria, with the view of Mount Blanc. He promised, since he couldn’t disprove my Relativity argument, that he knew several famous people in Relativity working at CERN that would talk to me. I was happy that there would be another discussion. Before we left, I reminded Landua of our next meeting with the Relativists. He didn't recall suggesting one, that it wasn't necessary. He said he would send my paper along to an expert. The matter is still pending. If I am wrong, I want at least to know where I am wrong.

Gillis: Did you have time to counter CERN's main safety arguments?

A little bit. We came to discussing neutron stars, the hardest conundrum. According to CERN, neutron stars should not exist if there were natural analogs to the LHC mini black holes. Neutron stars, consumed at first by mini black holes, would be black holes themselves. The CERN argument looks like a good one, but it is demonstrably wrong. I had brought this to CERN's attention in May. Mini black holes can exist. In the most susceptible stars to mini black holes, the neutron stars, they are so dense there is no hope at first sight that any fast particle can pass through without getting stuck. This is CERN's safety net argument. Or was.

Gillis: Then how do these super dense neutron stars survive attack by natural mBH? What is your theory?

Neutron stars are in a macroscopic quantum state called superfluidity. And this state protects them because it makes them transparent to fast particles.

Gillis: Because these stars are in a strange quantum state, like a Bose-Einstein Condensate?


Gillis: Did Landua accept your argument?

I think so, after I had told him that my counter-argument had been accepted by a famous Nobel Laureate in the field: That neutron stars, which alone are susceptible to this CERN argument in the last instance, are protected due to their superfluidity, by being transparent to the stipulated fast mini black holes. And then, Dr. Landua realized that this stipulated new quantum effect was just the opposite to the famous Mossbauer rigidity -- which insight greatly impressed me. Then he and I suddenly saw that the predicted new transparency could actually be tested at CERN, in a separate experiment. For they have the largest amounts of a superfluid anywhere on the planet, in the form of their coolant, Helium II. Thus, fast mini particles -- I thought of neutrinos -- could for comparison, be shot through a long pipe of this superfluid and through an analogous pipe containing ordinary fluid helium. To see whether there is a difference in the cross section. But then, we both realized that this would probably take years to accomplish.

Gillis: Dr. Landua agrees with you, that this experiment is important? That it could show that superfluidity protects neutron stars from mBH?

On this point it seems. But unfortunately, superfluidity will not protect this planet from artificial sufficiently slow mini black holes, likely or possibly produced at the LHC.

Gillis: Did the subject of a possible bosenova implosion and explosion come up in your discussions? Superfluid Helium II is a quantum superfluid with strange properties, and generally considered to be a Bose-Einstein Condensate.

Yes, but the question of this superfluid being dangerous as such, because of the risk of bosenova formation at the LHC, I did learn only from you today: It did not occur to us. This is an important point, and should also be tested experimentally by CERN, I feel. They will of course be accidentally testing it when they switch on the LHC. This local catastrophe if occurring would inadvertently protect the planet at large.

Gillis: That a bosenova could destroy the LHC? You're not joking?

Not at all. My friend Artur Schmidt told me about the historical rule that whenever there is a technology jump by a factor of ten -- the LHC's energy will be by 8 times higher than ever before achieved, so it qualifies -- always major accidents happen owing to humanity's built-in lack of clairvoyance.

Gillis: Then you support my idea that a possible bosenova explosion could threaten the LHC and Geneva? And a safety test should be performed by CERN on both superfluid heliums? Recently I learned that Helium I is also used at the LHC, to cool both beam cryostats, in the main ring. I published an article recently on my findings, in ScientificBlogging, Superfluids, BECs and Bosenovas: The Ultimate Experiment.

Would I not have to say yes here? The problem is the BEC bosenova mechanism is still unknown. CERN should be reminded of this.

Gillis: Considering you are one of the leading critics in science of the safety of mBH, and CERN wasn’t prepared for the meeting you had to discuss your theories, will CERN invite you back?

This has not yet happened. Perhaps the answer is implicit in what a Nobel Laureate in physics, told me a few weeks ago. He told me I should go on with my fight against CERN. Because CERN needs the publicity.

Gillis: But why isn’t CERN taking you seriously? Are physicists there or elsewhere afraid of rocking the boat? With their reputations and jobs on the line?

No, I think there are other reasons as well. People nowadays no longer believe in originality of single people and small groups. Everybody believes in the big group and in the joint power. We have a Maoism in science. Let flowers grow. It’s no longer likely to happen. Everybody believes the ideology that it’s no longer possible to be a Poincaré or an Einstein. But we also live in the Age of everybody believing in the Big Bang, which is the greatest nonsense of all, if my co-workers are right. And yet it’s impossible to get rid of it. We live in a dogmatic age. People want to derive certainty from common opinions. They don’t believe it’s possible to find something really original. It’s a pity for our young people. They’re not allowed to believe in themselves anymore.

Gillis: I think you hit it on the nose. In a way, this is all about proving the Big Bang theory?

The younger physicists know it doesn’t exist. Many people knew it’s nonsense including Hubble himself. He was denied the Nobel Prize because of not believing in what everybody believed. Very strange.

Gillis: Hubble discovered the redshift as proportional to distance, which physicists think indicates the Universe is expanding, confirming the Big Bang theory.

He stopped believing in this. He said there is a non ad-hoc reason why light gets tired on its way through long distances. But no one found the reason for a long time. Until some 6 years ago when my group found the reason. I published it, but no one has any interest in it. The paper was published last year in Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. In August. It has a nice title actually. Hubble Expansion without Space Expansion. But you shouldn’t tell anyone I don’t believe in the Big Bang. Then they won’t believe anything I say, Professor Rössler laughs.

Gillis: But there is no other real alternative theory to the Big Bang?

There are many who know it must be nonsense, but no one has found the key. I had the good fortune to talk to a young American-Iranian physicist who worked in Switzerland. And he gave me the key paper by Chandrasekhar of 1943, which gives the mechanism, but no one saw it including the author himself. But he got a Nobel Prize later for Black Holes. It’s a very old theory, and I just found a more general simpler explanation of Chandrasekhar’s result. It applies not just to big stars, as he thought, moving faster than the rest. But any potentially gravitationally attracted fast body gets slowed down in a whirling cloud of heavier attracting bodies like galaxies, and light gets red-shifted in proportion. That’s a very simple law of physics, of classical physics essentially. But it was overlooked since 1865. This older paper was by the discoverer of Statistical Mechanics, Rudolf Clausius, who didn’t have a high school diploma. It was the ETH, the Swiss Polytechnic which saved him. You could pass an exam and be allowed to study there. The only (such) university in Europe and the world probably. It saved him and it saved Einstein 30 years later.

Gillis: On that score CERN would show Einstein the door today. Is that why you’re appealing to the public and politicians? In mid-August you’ll be seeing the President of Switzerland, Pascal Couchepin. What do you hope to achieve?

I’m trying to get a friendly contact with him, so he understands how I think. And that I’m not an enemy of CERN, which probably everybody believes. I’m the only friend of CERN I see around. Everybody else is trying to destroy it. Including themselves. They have this nice argument. We all have children. Would we do this experiment if we didn’t believe we were safe? But if they are ready to sacrifice their families, they are still not allowed to do it with the planet. CERN still hasn’t answered my questions, or refuted my papers, though they are publicly available on the Internet.

Here are Dr Rössler’s unanswered questions from his Seven Reasons for Demanding an LHC Safety Conference with minor revisions by Dr Rössler, original paper at http://wissensnavigator.ch/documents/spiritualottoeroessler.pdf which will be updated soon, as below.

This paper was recently presented by Dr Rössler to more than two hundred participants of the 20th International Conference on Systems Research, Informatics and Cybernetics, July 24-30, 2008, in Baden-Baden, hosted by the IIAS, the International Institute for Advanced Studies. The conference participants and the IIAS publicly endorsed Dr Rössler's call for an LHC Safety Conference as soon as possible.

Seven Reasons for Demanding an LHC Safety Conference 

1) Black holes cannot evaporate because their horizon is effectively infinitely far away in spacetime according to my new interpretation of the Schwarzschild metric [1].

2) Black holes are effectively uncharged [1]. Therefore, charged elementary particles cannot at the same time be black holes (or point-shaped). Hence non-point-shaped mini objects exist already. This makes mini black holes much more likely.

3) Mini black holes grow exponentially rather than linearly inside the earth: “mini-quasar principle” [2]. Hence the time needed by a resident mini black hole to eat the earth is maximally shortened – perhaps down to “50 months”. This contrasts with the “50 million Years” obtained assuming linear growth by BBC Horizon [3] and CERN’s analogous “5 billion years” [4].

4) CERN [4, 5] counters that if the hoped-for mini black holes are stable as claimed [1], equal stable particles must arise naturally by ultra-fast cosmic-ray protons colliding with planet bound protons. This is correct. However, there remains a fundamental difference: Only the man-made ones are “symmetrically generated” and hence dangerous. For they alone are slow enough with respect to the earth that one of them (at less than 11 km/sec) can take residence – in contrast to the almost luminal speeds of their natural cousins.

5) CERN‘s counter argument could still hold true for more compact celestial bodies than the earth – such that their lifetimes would be drastically reduced in defiance of observation if mini black holes exist. A quantitative bound can be derived from this argument: Take white dwarfs first. They are 10^5 times denser than earth while being the same size. Hence their cross-section for a mini black hole passing-through is by a factor of 10^5 greater than earth’s. They remain safe if no more than 10^4 eating-type collisions with a quark await a fast natural mini black hole entering them (so it can pass through).

Why? Because the planned energy of 14 TeV pumped into two colliding protons at CERN is 14,000 times the rest mass of a proton (1 MeV). Therefore a mini black hole born of two quarks (one from each proton) likewise has about 14,000 times the rest mass of a quark. Hence by momentum conservation, only about 14,000 collisions with a resident quark can be survived by a fast natural mini black hole of LHC energy, without losing its almost luminal speed. If this bound is to be heeded by nature in white dwarfs, then no more than about 0.1 collisions must await a CERN mini black hole on its first passage through the earth. This estimate appears plausible -- so that the continued existence of white dwarfs cannot be construed as a counter-argument against the dangerousness of man-made slow mini black holes.

6) This number presupposes that the nonlinear growth process in point (3) above, is inapplicable if very dense matter is passed through at almost luminal speeds. The shorter collision intervals, by many orders of magnitude, allow this prediction.

7) Finally, neutron stars have by another factor of 10^9, greater density than white dwarfs. Since they are a thousand times smaller, they are a million times more susceptible. But they are protected by quantum coherence effects of the superfluidity type: so mini black holes can pass without being braked. The superfluidity extends to the “inner crust” [6]. This prediction, if confirmed, renders natural mini black holes if they exist, non-dangerous. Hence, their man-made ultra-slow cousins on earth or spreading to the sun, can indeed have dreaded dangerous consequences that everybody prefers not to believe in.

In order to exclude the possibility that human-made mini black holes will endanger the earth, it will be necessary to disprove the first of these 7 points, or if this is not possible, the second, and so forth. Until this has been accomplished, no one can give the “green light” to the LHC crossing the 2 TeV barrier, as is currently planned within a few weeks.

It appears that only an immediate safety conference can save the LHC experiment from disaster.


[1] O.E. Rössler, “Abraham-like return to constant c in general relativity: Â-theorem derived in Schwarzschild metric”. Chaos, Solitons and Fractals (publication pending) Preprint available at www.wissensnavigator.com/documents/ottoroesslerminiblackhole.pdf (a revision of section 5 is forthcoming)

[2] O.E. Rössler, “Abraham-solution to Schwarzschild metric implies that CERN mini black holes pose a planetary risk” (submitted on September 27, 2007). Also found on the above URL.

[3] BBC Horizon documentary, “The Six Billion Dollar Experiment” www.BBC.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/broadband/tx/universe/

[4] M. Mangano, in an interview with Michael Liebe, at golem.de (in German) www.golem.de/0802157477.html

[5] R. Landua, in an interview with Andreas Séché, pm-magazin.de (in German) www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TjYobXKebM

[6] G. Colò, “A microscopic quantal calculation of the superfluidity of the inner crust of neutron stars” (Abstract) www.mi.infn.it/~colo/TRENTO/Abstracts/gori.txt