Matter can travel to the future through black holes, predicts new theory
Two new papers say everything we knew about black holes was wrong.
- Scientists calculate that black holes don't have singularities at their centers.
- Instead, the theory of loop quantum gravity predicts that black holes shoot out matter across the galaxy.
- The matter dispersal comes much later in the future.
Black holes are undoubtedly weird enough to imagine but two recent papers say we don't understand how they work at all. They go against the previous theories that predicted the center of a black hole to feature a point of infinite density called a singularity. Instead, say the new papers, matter might be sucked into black holes and spat out later in the future somewhere else across the Universe.
The papers were authored by the team of Abhay Ashtekar and Javier Olmedo at Pennsylvania State University and Parampreet Singh at Louisiana State University, who applied the theory of loop quantum gravity to black holes to find that they do not have singularities in the middle.
Loop quantum gravity describes the fabric of spacetime as "a lattice of spin networks, which evolve over time," explains University of Notre Dame physics professor Don Lincoln, who is also the senior scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. More specifically, loop quantum gravity maintains that "spacetime is quantized, with a smallest possible unit or piece of space and time, beyond which spacetime cannot be subdivided further," says Lincoln.
The scientists calculated that the strong curving of spacetime near a black hole's center results in the spacetime actually extending into an area in the future structured like a white hole, which is like a black hole in reverse, spurting matter out rather than pulling it in.
Another way to think about this is that because time near the center of a black hole is very slowed down (due to confronting the strongest gravitational field in the Universe), matter that falls into a black hole doesn't actually disappear – but gets shot back out around the universe some time later. So if you fast-forwarded way into the future, you'd find this black hole pushing the matter out.
Artist rendering of the black-to-white-hole transition. Credit: Ashtekar, Olmedo, and Singh.
While these ideas are not easily testable, "it is not implausible that empirical observations could support this scenario," says Carlo Rovelli from the Center of Theoretical Physics at the Aix-Marseille University and Toulon University in Marseille, France, upon reviewing the new research.
Don Lincoln also points out that one possibility is that the observed phenomenon of "fast radio bursts" could could be explained as a signature of a black hole transforming into a white hole. Similarly telling could be the detection of very high energy cosmic rays in the Earth's atmosphere.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Here's why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.
- Universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality, says Rushkoff.
- Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
- Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds.
Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade, thanks to higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black. We're not ruling it out. These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.
- At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
- See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
- There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.