Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Israeli Scientist’s Home Made Black Hole Could Lead To A Nobel For Stephen Hawking"

From GE Reports 'Five Coolest Things On Earth This Week:
 Few topics have ignited more bitter squabbling among eminent physicists than black holes. Image credit: Getty Images
Jeff Steinhauer, an experimental physicist at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa in Israel, built an artificial black hole in his laboratory. The experiment might confirm one of Stephen Hawking’s boldest theories: that these most mysterious objects in the universe evaporate over eons. Black holes are so massive that they collapse time and the space around them into a singularity, a point so warped no matter or light can escape. But Hawking proposed that some radiation would get out. Nature reported that the hole in Steinhauer’s lab “seems to emit such ‘Hawking radiation’ on its own, from quantum fluctuations that emerge from its experimental set-up.” Steinhauer told the magazine that such “black-hole analogues might help to solve some of the dilemmas that the phenomenon poses for other theories, including one called the black-hole information paradox, and perhaps point the way to uniting quantum mechanics with a theory of gravity.”

The idea of a star collapsing on itself and forming a black hole was conceived by German physicist Karl Schwarzschild while solving Albert Einstein’s general relativity equations on the Russian front in World War I. Schwarzschild didn’t survive the war, but his idea lived on. In fact, few topics have ignited more bitter squabbling among eminent physicists since. Einstein didn’t believe in black holes. Fellow Nobel Prize winner Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar did, but he never recovered his balance after he clashed over them with Sir Arthur Eddington, who didn’t. Robert Oppenheimer proved their existence, only to have his claims publicly doubted by John Wheeler, who paradoxically coined the term black hole. Now Hawking, thanks to Steinhauer, may have the last laugh, if not a Nobel.
The piece in Nature is titled "Artificial black hole creates its own version of Hawking radiation" and includes this handy graphic for the do-it-yourself crowd: