Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren’t bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.
By merging two seemingly conflicting theories, Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in the College of Arts and Sciences, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place. The work not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe.
“I’m still not over the shock,” said Mersini-Houghton. “We’ve been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about.”
Many physicists and astronomers believe that our universe originated from a singularity that began expanding with the Big Bang. However, if singularities do not exist, then physicists have to rethink their ideas of the Big Bang and whether it ever happened.
The main thing to “think about” is not whether the Big Bang happened, but whether anyone will now take seriously wa culture dump like: There are no black holes.
Pop culture rants, raves, and peeves have somehow found their expression today as “science.” Black holes as a must-have. Darwinian evolution as magic. Global warming as the apocalypse. This stuff doesn’t change; it just acquires science labels.
As always in pop culture, it’s the label that separates the Joe Cool from the classless mass.
Today’s must label is, of course, the multiverse. This no-black-holes story must fit in there somewhere. Otherwise, it’s doomed.
See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train
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