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Black Holes and Elementary Particles

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  • Black Holes and Elementary Particles

    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Chapter 13 - Black Holes: A String/M-Theory Perspective
    Black Holes and Elementary Particles
    or
    At first sight it's hard to imagine any two things more radically different than black holes and elementary particles. We usually picture black holes as the most gargantuan of heavenly bodies, whereas elementary particles are the most minute specks of matter. But the research of a number of physicists during the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Demetrios Christodoulou, Werner Israel, Richard Price, Brandon Carter, Roy Kerr, David Robinson, Hawking, and Penrose, showed that black holes and elementary particles are perhaps not as different as one might think. These physicists found increasingly persuasive evidence for what John Wheeler has summarized by the statement "black holes have no hair." By this, Wheeler meant that except for a small number of distinguishing features, all black holes appear to be alike. The distinguishing features? One, of course, is the black hole's mass. What are the others? Research has revealed that they are the electric and certain other force charges a black hole can carry, as well as the rate at which it spins. And that's it. Any two black holes with the same mass, force charges, and spin are completely identical. Black holes do not have fancy "hairdos"—that is, other intrinsic traits—that distinguish one from another. This should ring a loud bell. Recall that it is precisely such properties—mass, force charges, and spin—that distinguish one elementary particle from another. The similarity of the defining traits has led a number of physicists over the years to the strange speculation that black holes might actually be gigantic elementary particles. (Epsilon=One: Welcome to the state of mind of theoretical physicists. Though, such speculation has more merit than the consensus definition of black holes that HAVE NEVER BEEN OBSERVED.)

    In fact, according to Einstein's theory, there is no minimum mass for a black hole. If we crush a chunk of matter of any mass to a small enough size, a straightforward application of general relativity shows that it will become a black hole. (The lighter the mass, the smaller we must crush it.) And so, we can imagine a thought experiment in which we start with ever-lighter blobs of matter, crush them into ever-smaller black holes, and compare the properties of the resulting black holes with the properties of elementary particles. Wheeler's no-hair statement leads us to conclude that for small enough masses the black holes we form in this manner will look very much like elementary particles. Both will look like tiny bundles characterized completely by their mass, force charges, and spin. (Epsilon=One: Interesting comparison when it is considered that no one can define, other than symbolically, "mass, force charges, and spin." With that said; mass is the resonance of varied harmonic oscillations; force charges are the areas of influence of said oscillations; and, spin is the rotation about an axis of said resonance within the dual, elliptical "envelopes" as symbolically described by an Emergent Ellipse (EEd))

    But there is a catch. Astrophysical black holes, with masses many times that of the sun, are so large and heavy that quantum mechanics is largely irrelevant and only the equations of general relativity need be used to understand their properties. (Epsilon=One: The "equations of general relativity" are flawed; especially, when misinterpreted or overly extended. When general relativity's equations were developed by Einstein. he was not aware that the Cosmos, that the equations purported to explain, was expanding. It was for almost another 80 years before astrophysicists would admit that the expansion was accelerating, which to most astrophysicists was almost unbelievable.

    The only other force known to be accelerating (in the opposite direction as to the cosmic acceleration) is gravity. Richard Feynman, concerning general relativity and gravity, shortly before his death, quoted the relevance of Ptolemey in 1988, "Ptolemy's epicycles demonstrated the danger of constructing approximate mathematical models which have no physical validity, which then become fashion.")
    (We are here discussing the overall structure of the black hole, not the singular central point of collapse within a black hole, whose tiny size most certainly requires a quantum-mechanical description.) As we try to make ever less massive black holes, however, there comes a point when they are so light and small that quantum mechanics does comes into play. This happens if the total mass of the black hole is about the Planck mass or less. (From the point of view of elementary particle physics, the Planck mass is huge—some ten billion billion times the mass of a proton. From the point of view of black holes, though, the Planck mass, being equal to that of an average grain of dust, is quite tiny.) And so, physicists who speculated that tiny black holes and elementary particles might be closely related immediately ran up against the incompatibility between general relativity—the theoretical heart of black holes—and quantum mechanics. In the past, the incompatibility stymied all progress in this intriguing direction.
    or
    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
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