Scott Thomas
Department of Physics, Stanford University
High Energy Colliders as Black Hole Factories: The End of Short Distance Physics

Particle collisions at energies well above the Planck scale are believed to be dominated by the production of black holes. If the fundamental Planck scale is of order a TeV, as suggested in certain theories with large extra dimensions, microscopic black holes may be produced at the Large Hadron Collider at a rate of up to 1 Hz. Black hole production and decay leads to very dramatic events with a cross section which grows with a power of the energy. Standard hard scattering processes such as Drell-Yan or QCD jet production are also exponentially suppressed. Observation of these signatures would provide an experimental confirmation of the infrared--ultraviolet nature of quantum gravity, and herald the end of experimental investigation of short distances by high energy scattering.