How the First Black Holes Were Born

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that a steady diet of cold, fast food is what caused the rapid growth of early supermassive black holes at the dawn of the universe.

What's the Latest Development?

A powerful computer simulation has shown researchers that supermassive black holes, with masses billions of times greater than our sun, did exist at the dawn of the universe, while most others took over 13 billion years to develop. The explanation has to do with the feeding system of black holes: The thin stream of gas that contributes to a black hole's mass is typically heated up by surrounding gases, but this wasn't the case in the early universe. The formation of the earliest supermassive black holes relied on this diet of cold gas. 

What's the Big Idea?

Cosmologists believe that supermassive black holes typically develop when two galaxies collide, merging the black holes at both their centers. But hundreds of millions of years after the big bang, matter was still so spread out that existing stars and galaxies were relatively small, which would imply that black holes were equally small. Now that scientists know how supermassive black holes formed, they may have an insight into how the first large galaxies were brought together, drawn in by the gravity of these first supermassives.

Photo credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.