The Cult of the Black Hole
Just like so many subjects black holes are bounced around and pronounced
to be one thing or another by the "experts".
Sad fact of the matter is there is so little data that it is almost
imprudent to do anything else other than quietly continue to gather
observations and data, improve our instruments and look some more.
However, this is not fashionable, and does not get the big bucks.
Consequently, us poor plebes that make up our general unwashed society are
bounced around, made to believe one thing one day then - presto! - guess
what? The theory was wrong, and all those glossy magazines you've been
reading about black holes? That was just so much lint. Stand by and
receive; now there will be another inundation of half-backed speculations
cloaked in formulae that'll be just so much vaporware, available at your
local paperback magazine store.
The reason it's not even worth considering the next black hole "paradigm
shift" is simple:
When a powerful gravitational attractor gets so strong that it pulls in a
disk of material, that material becomes super-hot. The super-hot material
is a rotating plasma.
A rotating plasma creates a dynamo effect - it produces a magnetic
configuration that has a potential of being 1 X 10 to the 39th times
stronger than the central gravitational consideration.
The gravitational consideration of the central object becomes of secondary
importance in a major way.
What happens next to the plasma configuration? Don't look at me. Who
knows? It's anybody's guess.
Pure plasma research was curtailed at Los Alamos years ago. All that's
left is the science pundits speculating, making ridiculous stabs in the
dark, so-called scientists wasting vast amounts of taxpayers money on
erroneous speculations laughingly referred to as Fusion Research.
Here comes Hawking (again), the guru of the alchemists to make another
grand pronouncement based on faulty data. Kick back Lads - anything you
hear should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Physicist may shoot holes in own black hole theory
Hawking set to speak at Ireland conference
By Carolyn Johnson, Globe Correspondent
July 17, 2004
The world of physics is abuzz with news that celebrity physicist Stephen
Hawking -- widely regarded as this generation's Einstein -- will appear at
a conference next week to offer a solution to a longstanding paradox about
black holes, possibly refuting his own three-decades-old theory.
His presentation next week at a conference in Ireland could have
repercussions for scientists' understanding of the most basic physical
laws that govern the universe. It may also settle a bet, sending a set of
encyclopedias to a rival physicist.
''We are all sitting on tenterhooks," said mathematician Petros Florides,
the chairman of the 17th International Conference on General Relativity
and Gravitation, where Hawking is scheduled to speak on Wednesday.
Florides says he has been inundated with phone calls regarding Hawking's
The burst of attention is unusual in the abstruse world of theoretical
physics, but Hawking is the rare physicist who has captured both the
public and scientific imagination. The English scientist, who has Lou
Gehrig's disease, became a household name in 1988 with his best-selling
book, ''A Brief History of Time." Hawking uses a special computer program
to speak and has been confined to a wheelchair for nearly all of his adult
life. He is responsible for some of the most original thinking in physics
over the last 40 years.
He was a late, surprise addition to next week's conference, submitting a
one-line message that he wanted to give a talk.
Hawking is expected to address a controversy he started 30 years ago. In
what physicists consider a tremendous discovery, Hawking found that as
black holes swallow light and matter, they also boil off a steam of pure
energy until nothing is left. He contended that even information coded in
each captured particle or ray of light was unable to escape destruction in
the black hole -- a conclusion that would require the laws of quantum
physics to be rewritten.
In 1997, Hawking and colleague Kip Thorne were challenged to a bet by
physicist John Preskill, who argued that such information could never be
destroyed. They playfully wagered an encyclopedia -- ''from which
information can be recovered at will."
Hawking will present his new findings on Wednesday. Although there is
speculation that Hawking may concede the bet, most physicists are simply
curious about what he will say.
The physics community has been slowly moving away from Hawking's original
view. Many physicists now believe that black holes are like ''fuzzballs,"
rather than sharply defined boundaries beyond which matter and light are
As for the bet, it isn't Hawking's first. He gambled on the existence of
''naked singularities" in the universe, in which ''the loser will reward
the winner with clothing to cover the winner's nakedness"; he lost on a
technicality. He also lost a bet about whether a black hole existed, and
awarded the physicist who won the bet with a subscription to Penthouse.
Physicists have mixed feelings about the possiblity that an encyclopedia
will be exchanged. ''I'll be sorry if he retracts it," said Andrew
Strominger of Harvard University, ''because I've enjoyed arguing with him
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