(ORDO NEWS) — For most of the century, quantum physics and general relativity were inextricably linked. Everyone is perfect in their own way, they just can’t stand each other being in the same room.
Now mathematical proof of the quantum nature of black holes may show us how they can reconcile, at least enough to create a grand new theory about how the universe works on the cosmic and microcosmic scales.
A group of physicists have mathematically demonstrated a strange quirk as to how these mind-bogglingly dense objects can exist in a state of quantum superposition while occupying a spectrum of possible characteristics.
Their calculations showed that superpositions of masses in a theoretical type of black hole called a BTZ black hole simultaneously occupy surprisingly different mass ranges.
Usually, any ordinary particle can exist in a superposition of states, with such characteristics as rotation or momentum being determined only after they have become part of the observation.
Where some qualities, such as charge, only come in discrete units, mass is not usually not quantized, meaning that the mass of an unobservable particle can be anywhere within the range of possibilities.
However, as this study shows, the superposition of masses held by a black hole tends to favor some dimensions over others. in the sample, which can be useful for modeling mass in a quantized way.
This could give us a new framework for investigating the quantum gravitational effects of superposition black holes to ease the tension between general relativity and quantum theory.
“Until now, we have not explored in depth, black holes exhibit the strange and wonderful behavior of quantum physics,” explains theoretical physicist Joshua Fu from the University of Queensland in Australia.
“One such phenomenon is superposition, in which quantum-scale particles can exist. in multiple states at the same time. This is most often illustrated by Schrödinger’s cat, which can be both dead and alive at the same time.
“But for black holes, we wanted to see if they could have wildly different masses at the same time, and it turns out they are.
Imagine being both wide and tall, and short and thin at the same time that’s a situation that intuitively confusing since we are bound to the world of conventional physics, but this is the reality for q quantum black holes.”
The extreme gravity surrounding black holes makes an excellent laboratory for the study of quantum gravity – a spinning space-time continuum according to general relativity, related to quantum mechanical theory, which describes the physical universe in terms of discrete quantities such as particles.
Models based on certain types of black holes could lead to a unified theory that explains particles and gravity.
For example, some of the effects observed around a black hole cannot be described by general relativity. To do this, we need quantum gravity – a unified theory that includes both sets of rules and somehow makes them work well.
So Fu and his colleagues have developed a mathematical framework that effectively allows physicists to observe the particle. placed outside the black hole, which is in a state of quantum superposition.
Mass was the main property they investigated, since mass is one of the few properties of black holes that we can measure.
“Our work shows that the earliest theories of Jacob Bekenstein, an American and Israeli theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the foundations of black hole thermodynamics, were justified,” says quantum physicist Magdalena Zich of the University of Queensland.
Bekenstein postulated that black holes can only have masses of certain values, that is, they must fall within certain ranges or ratios – this is how the energy levels of an atom work, for example.
Our simulations showed that these superimposed masses were in fact in certain bands or ratios, just as Bekenstein predicted.
“We did not expect such a pattern to occur, so the fact that we found this evidence was quite unexpected.”
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