Monday, October 17, 2005

Ahh… Quantum Mechanics. (Part Duex)

The universe constantly creates and destroys particles on a quantum level. In the vacuum of space, virtual particles pop into existence and then collide together to destroy each other. Energy is spontaneously created and destroyed. Wait a minute there cowpoke!! The Theory of Conservation of Energy says that can’t happen. Sure E=MC2 but that just means matter can be converted into energy and vice-versa but the net energy and matter of the universe just never goes up or down. Right? Right. See the virtual particles come to life by borrowing that energy and then paying it back by destroying themselves. No net energy or matter change. See?

What about Black Holes, smarty pants? What about them? Nyaa!!

Well, black holes do represent what we call a singularity, which is an area of space where physics breaks down. Matter falls into the black hole but doesn’t return and becomes part of infinity. What does that mean? Nobody really knows because we can’t study a black hole. Roaches go in but they don’t come out!!! Remember?

Stephen Hawking once said that we can’t know the black hole’s contents because everything that goes into it is lost. Information is gone. Black holes don’t have hair! He said that because of the singularity the information is gone and no matter what, we can’t retrieve the information. Hawking first proposed two theories that looked paradoxical. One was the above-mentioned theory that information goes into a black hole and is lost. Another was that a black hole radiates! That means because of quantum fluctuations in space virtual particle create radiation near the event horizon of a black hole and radiates. They get an itty-bitty bit smaller every time and over a gazillion billion samillion years they disappear. Theories say that this Hawking Radiation would take longer than the life of the universe to completely shrink a black hole to nothing. Despite that, the theory says it radiates to nothing and the information inside at some point must be released. So on the one hand he says information is lost forever and on the other he says it radiates away everything it contains! A paradox.

Of course recently he reversed his decision and paid a bet to John Preskill of an Encyclopedia symbolizing the information in a black hole.

(To be continued)



The Phoenix said...

I didn't know black holes didn't have hair.

Thanks for your explanation on Quantum Leap. Time travel and quantum physics has always been fascinating to me.

I don't plan on buying a time machine gizmo and putting it in my crotch like Napoleon Dynamite.

ObilonKenobi said...

I loved that movie. Especially the aging jock. If you did buy a time machine then I don't think you could go back in time. I think the theory is that in order to travel through time you need to open up a wormhole on both ends. So you can only travel back in time to a year that time travel was already invented. It's like a two-way tunnel and someone has to open up an end at the other side.

Of course with quantum effects there is that unpredictability that we can try to tap into that may make it happen.

The Philadelphia Experiment is a better example of time travel. They accidentally opened up a wormhole in two separate times using the same technology. They actually showed it as a tunnel.