It’s the force we all know about and think we understand. It keeps our feet firmly on the ground and our world circling the sun.
Yet look a little closer, and the certainties start to float away, revealing gravity as the most puzzling and least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature.
Michael Brooks investigates its mysterious ways
In my news of April 21st I wrote, “we are so far from understanding gravity that we don’t know the right questions to ask.” There I proposed “Electrically Modified Newtonian Dynamics,” or “E-MOND,” as the solution for solar system stability. However, the problem involving the dwarf companion galaxies is more fundamental to cosmology. The first problem in physics is to choose the correct concepts to apply to our observations. That determines which physical laws to apply. But that’s not the end of it. We must remain aware that all laws are man-made and provisional – they are subject to modification on appeal. Historically, cosmologists have denied that electricity has any relevance in space. They have refused to consider how the laws of plasma physics might apply to their otherwise incomprehensible observations. Provisionality is a formalism to mask dogma.
Richard Feynman, lecturing his students on how to look for a new law in physics, said, “First you guess. Don’t laugh; this is the most important step. Then you compute the consequences. Compare the consequences to experience. If it disagrees with experience, the guess is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
… A black hole has two parts. At its core is a singularity, the infinitesimal point into which all the matter of the star gets crushed. Surrounding the singularity is the region of space from which escape is impossible, the perimeter of which is called the event horizon. Once something enters the event horizon, it loses all hope of exiting. Whatever light the falling body gives off is trapped, too, so an outside observer never sees it again. It ultimately crashes into the singularity.But is this picture really true? The known laws of physics are clear that a singularity forms, but they are hazy about the event horizon. Most physicists operate under the assumption that a horizon must indeed form, if only because the horizon is very appealing as a scientific fig leaf. Physicists have yet to figure out what exactly happens at a singularity: matter is crushed, but what becomes of it then? The event horizon, by hiding the singularity, isolates this gap in our knowledge. All kinds of processes unknown to science may occur at the singularity, yet they have no effect on the outside world. Astronomers plotting the orbits of planets and stars can safely ignore the uncertainties introduced by singularities and apply the standard laws of physics with confidence. Whatever happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.
Yet a growing body of research calls this working assumption into question. Researchers have found a wide variety of stellar collapse scenarios in which an event horizon does not in fact form, so that the singularity remains exposed to our view. Physicists call it a naked singularity. Matter and radiation can both fall in and come out. Whereas visiting the singularity inside a black hole would be a one-way trip, you could in principle come as close as you like to a naked singularity and return to tell the tale.
But isn’t that one of the problems of the concept of a black hole anyways, if an object gets sucked in, the ‘information’ gets lost forever and that’s one of the big no-no’s of one of the Laws of Conservation?
The event horizon is supposed to contain some of the information that gets sucked into the hole and when it ‘evaporates’, the information is released back into the Universe?
I think the Electric Universe folks have a case against the gravity-driven universe after all!