Do black holes have quantum properties?

(ORDO NEWS) — Black holes are one of the most mysterious objects in the universe. And although physicists have long guessed about their existence, black holes received the status of real space inhabitants a few years ago.

The discovery of gravitational waves in 2017 and the first image of a black hole (2019) marked a new era of space research – in the very near future we will learn a lot about the Universe and the objects that exist in its vastness.

The new research has to do with the theory of quantum gravity, one of the unsolved mysteries of modern science.

The work is based on computer modeling – with its help, physicists discovered that black holes have properties that characteristic of quantum particles.

Surprisingly, researchers believe that these space monsters can be both small and large, heavy and light, dead and alive.

In Einstein’s general theory of relativity, there are no particles, only space-time.

And in the Standard Model of particle physics there is no gravity, there are only particles.

And this is the main problem of modern science, since both theories contradict each other, although they work perfectly separately.

In Search of Quantum Gravity

According to quantum theory, our world consists of invisible particles that constantly interact with each other and have different properties.

But what is especially interesting is that all the fundamental forces of the Universe obey the laws of quantum mechanics, with the exception of the most important of them – gravity.

Alas, many years of attempts to “fit” gravity into quantum theory have not been successful, however, as well as the creation of a “theory of everything”.

It is believed that the “theory of everything” is designed to explain the structure of the universe and the laws by which everything is arranged in it.

Physicists, however, still do not know what exactly is the main force in the universe.

Some researchers believe that gravity has quantum properties and consists of subatomic particles – the so-called gravitons, which have not yet been detected.

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Graviton is a hypothetical massless elementary particle of gravity

There are also questions about quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which two subatomic particles remain inextricably linked no matter how far apart they are.

Albert Einstein called this connection “supernatural” and doubted it to the last.

Since everything around consists of quanta capable of behaving both as a particle and as a wave, the existence of gravitons can prove the quantum nature of the main force in the Universe.

The problem is that gravity is extremely weak.

Moreover, to directly observe the graviton’s barely perceptible effect on matter, a massive special detector capable of forming a black hole itself is required (obviously, it is pointless to talk about its creation).

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Simulations showed that the black hole showed signs of quantum superposition, that is, the ability to exist in several states at once

Fortunately, the search for the graviton can continue without a super detector – in a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, physicists talked about a new computer model that can determine the quantum properties of black holes and learn more about the structure of the Universe.

Quantum superposition and black holes

Physicists at the University of Queensland have developed a mathematical model by placing a simulated quantum particle next to a giant black hole.

The results obtained showed that the black hole shows signs of quantum superposition – the ability of particles to exist in several states at the same time.

So, a computer black hole turned out to be both massive and not at the same time (just like the famous Schrodinger’s cat).

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Black holes may have quantum properties, being a kind of “Schrödinger’s cat”

1933 Nobel laureate in physics, Edwin Schrödinger, wanted to demonstrate the absurdity of quantum theory with his experiments, since it suggests that a cat locked in a box can be dead at the same time.

This conclusion is based on the behavior of atoms.

The results also confirm theoretical physicist Jacob Bekenstein’s assumption that the mass of black holes can only be a certain value at a certain point in time.

Recall that subatomic particles are able to exist in several states at the same time – but only until the moment of interaction with the outside world.

And it, by the way, is the result of measurement or observation, which translates the particle into one of the possible states.

Until now, no one has delved into the quantum nature of black holes.

But if we try to find out what is the structure of the singularity at the center of a black hole, our findings are very important, the authors of the study write.

The new discovery also means that the fabric of space-time around the singularity warps ad infinitum. For this reason, the laws of physics as we know them simply do not work.

It turns out, like Schrödinger’s cat, the mass of a black hole can be both huge and zero at the same time.

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The existence of black holes was proved a few years ago

It should be noted that a fresh look at the nature of these mysterious objects in the future will help to understand what exactly happens inside a black hole.

And no matter how fantastic such experiments look, they can lead to the most unexpected discoveries. A good example is Stephen Hawking’s seminal work on black hole radiation, read more here.

Beyond the event horizon

As attention to the fundamental role of quantum particles in the origin of spacetime grows, our understanding of the nature of the universe is changing.

More recently, it was believed that black holes do not rotate, and the singularity is an infinitely dense point of collapsing matter (this word is used to describe a point that is infinitely small and infinitely dense).

But since black holes rotate, current models suggest that their singularities are infinitely thin rings.

And if we have a good idea of the event horizon, almost nothing is known about the singularity (and we have no idea what it looks like).

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In 2017, physicists proved the existence of gravitational waves propagated as a result of the collision of two supermassive black holes

Since black holes are the absolute boundary between what we know and what we don’t know, their true nature remains a mystery to us.

For this reason, the world needs new unusual research that can challenge the established ideas about the universe.

Ultimately, the study of black holes can reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics, becoming the basis of a unified “theory of everything.”

At the singularity, the fabric of space-time is thought to bend ad infinitum, and the laws of physics, as we understand them, are violated.

Among the most interesting assumptions about the contents of black holes are wormholes – tunnels in space-time, which can be portals to other worlds and dimensions.

 

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