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Ask Ethan: Do Black Holes Grow Faster Than They Evaporate? (Synopsis)

19 Aug 2017, 14:00 UTC
Ask Ethan: Do Black Holes Grow Faster Than They Evaporate? (Synopsis)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

“Maybe that is our mistake: maybe there are no particle positions and velocities, but only waves. It is just that we try to fit the waves to our preconceived ideas of positions and velocities. The resulting mismatch is the cause of the apparent unpredictability.” -Stephen Hawking
So, you’ve got a black hole in the Universe, and you want to know what happens next. The space around it is curved due to the presence of the central mass, with greater curvature occurring closer to the center. There’s an event horizon, a location from which light cannot escape. And there’s the quantum nature of the Universe, which means that the zero-point-energy of empty space has a positive value: it’s greater than zero. Put them together, and you get some interesting consequences.
Particle-antiparticles pairs pop in-and-out of existence continuously, both inside and outside the event horizon of a black hole. When an outside-created pair has one of its members fall in, that’s when things get interesting. Image credit: Ulf Leonhardt of the University of St. Andrews.
One of these is Hawking radiation, where radiation is created and moves away from the black hole’s center. It occurs at a specific rate that’s dependent on ...

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