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Burning Ring of Fire

April 12, 2013

fireballBlack Hole ‘Firewall’ Theory Challenges Einstein’s Equivalence Principle

In March 2012, Joseph Polchinski began to contemplate suicide — at least in mathematical form. A string theorist at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, Polchinski was pondering what would happen to an astronaut who dived into a black hole. Obviously, he would die. But how?

According to the then-accepted account, he wouldn’t feel anything special at first, even when his fall took him through the black hole’s event horizon: the invisible boundary beyond which nothing can escape. But eventually — after hours, days or even weeks if the black hole was big enough — he would begin to notice that gravity was tugging at his feet more strongly than at his head. As his plunge carried him inexorably downwards, the difference in forces would quickly increase and rip him apart, before finally crushing his remnants into the black hole’s infinitely dense core.

But Polchinski’s calculations, carried out with two of his students — Ahmed Almheiri and James Sully — and fellow string theorist Donald Marolf at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), were telling a different story. In their account, quantum effects would turn the event horizon into a seething maelstrom of particles. Anyone who fell into it would hit a wall of fire and be burned to a crisp in an instant

….It’s a violent process, like breaking the bonds of a molecule, and it releases energy,” says Polchinski. The energy generated by severing lots of twins would be enormous. “The event horizon would literally be a ring of fire that burns anyone falling through,” he says

In order to convert mass to entropy, black holes must first ionize, condense and collapse ordinary matter at their surface, releasing tremendous amounts of charged particles such as electrons and positrons and low energy red-shifted radiation to their surroundings.  This is also what creates the ionizing bubble of protons around them.

Reminds me of a song…

Have a nice weekend.

Godspeed

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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References
Copyright 2012 Stewart D. Simonson All Rights Reserved

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