PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Robert Andrew
 
Comments: 12
Article views: 4936
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all Robert Andrew's badges.
 

What a Disappointment: There Are No Black Holes!

27 January 2014, 05:30

For me, today was a great disappointment. It was a more disappointing day than the day last year when we lost the 2013 Rugby Championship. The source of the disappointment: the announcement by Stephen Hawking that black holes don’t exist[1]

According to Hawking, while in classical theory there can be no escape of anything from a black hole, our old friend quantum theory does allow energy and information to escape, so there you are.

The concept of black holes has been around the scientific community for at least 200 or more years. In 1783, a Cambridge don, John Michell, wrote a paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, about what he called ‘dark stars’. He pointed out that: “a star that was sufficiently massive and compact, would have such a strong gravitational field that light could not escape”.

Such objects are what we now call black holes, because that is what they are, black voids in space. Although we would not be able to see them, because the light from them would not reach us, we would still feel their gravitational attraction.

Actually the first use of the term ‘black hole’ in print was by journalist Ann Ewing in her article ‘Black Holes' in Space", dated 18 January 1964, which was a report on a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was reporting on the lecture given by John Wheeler in which it is said he used the term ‘black hole’ in a lecture, leading some to credit him with coining the phrase.

I loved the concept of black holes because they are stranger than anything that can be dreamt up by science fiction writers. I have watched dozens of lectures on YouTube and read numerous books, including Stephen Hawking’s classic ‘A Brief History of Time’, which was published in 1988 and has sold more than 10 million copies[2].

Hawking’s concepts of worm holes, time travel, multi universes, singularities, event horisons, Hawking radiation and black hole ‘haircuts’ all evolved out of his work on black holes and have been a great source of interest for me. Almost any physicist of note will mention black holes at some time or other. Hawking gave black holes a celebrity status of their own.

Dark holes are spoken about by the public although there are very few people who really understand either what they are or their mechanisms.

I remember my Mother used to call my brother’s very untidy bedroom a black hole, for once anything went into it, like dinner plates, cups, library books, hired DVDs, etc. there was very little chance of them coming out.

The concept of a black hole also gave rise to the term ‘singularity’, which is often used to describe the precise moment when the Big Bang occurred. The point at which all matter and energy is sucked into the black holes by increasingly more powerful gravitational forces as far as it can go (and who knows how far this is) is called a singularity.

This point is difficult to describe mathematically and, perhaps as something of a ‘cop out’ it is called a singularity.  All equations trying to describe this point result in infinity, like infinitely small or infinitely dense. Singularity is the entity of matter and energy compressed into one point.

Quantum theory equations would be more appropriate, but unfortunately the mathematical link between classical theory and quantum theory appears to be a bridge too far to cross.

Not all physicists, however, agreed with Hawking, notably John Preskill, who in 1997 bet Hawking (I think the stake was $100) that information was not lost in black holes.

The implications of information being lost in black holes  led to the Susskind-Hawking scientific ‘battle’, where Leonard Susskind  publicly 'declared war' on Hawking's solution, with Susskind publishing a popular book about the debate in 2008 (The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics).

The solution to the problem that concluded the battle is the holographic principle and the string theory interpretation of it by Susskind, which to me at any rate made everything that more difficult to understand, but alas that is Physics, nothing ever gets simpler only more complicated.

With the advent of larger and larger particle accelerators (like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland) researchers have found that creating microscopic black holes using particle accelerators requires less energy than previously thought. If physicists do succeed in creating black holes with such energies on Earth, the achievement could prove the existence of extra dimensions in the universe, and this could be very interesting: we may even find a universe in which the Springboks win the Rugby Championship). 

When the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider, was coming online, scientists wondered if it might become a black hole ‘factory’ generating a black hole as often as every second. Particles zip at high speeds around the 27 kilometre circular atom smasher before colliding into one another to create explosive energies.

At its maximum, each particle beam that the LHC fires packs as much energy as a 400-ton train traveling at about 195 kilometre per hour. So far, researchers have detected no black holes at the Large Hadron Collider.

Still, theoretical interest in this possibility remains alive. Now, using supercomputers, researchers can simulate collisions among particles zipping near the speed of light and have shown that black holes could form at lower energies than previously thought.

So, are we going to miss the massive black holes as postulated by Hawking?  I don’t think so, as with all the new technology we have today, and with all the ongoing debates and intellectual ‘wars’ between physicists and cosmologists, science and physics will continue to fascinate us for many more years to come.



1  http://www.nature.com/news/stephen-hawking-there-are-no-black-holes-1.14583

[2] http://www.hawking.org.uk/into-a-black-hole.html

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

CinderFella

Once upon a time there lived an unhappy young androgyne. Her mother was dead and her father was unemployed with bad debt. His creditors didn't like her one little bit. Read more...

2 comments 183 views
Guide for graduates

There is a general misconception among the youth that once you have finished varsity and have a job, you have to ‘show people’ that you are now working.  Read more...

4 comments 178 views
Submitted by
cvh23
Are the Economic Freedom Fighters...

Let’s find out by comparing official EFF policies with section 2 of the communist manifesto: Read more...

5 comments 447 views
Submitted by
Scooterza
What do we do about the mob menta...

Over the last few years, my sense is that mob mentality or lowest common denominator thinking has taken root in South Africa and is growing ever stronger.  Read more...

4 comments 460 views
Submitted by
Asanda Sibobi
Generations plight, our fight!

So, like most people, I have finally watched the much talked about “Generations Actors Guild Press Conference”. O Read more...

12 comments 561 views
When Oscar Pistorius goes to pris...

Oscar Pistorius is due for his verdict and sentencing on 11 September 2014. This is after a lengthy trial since March 2014. Read more...

14 comments 3762 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.