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From Dust Bunnies to Black Holes: Oppenheimer-Snyder Collapse

10 Apr 2021, 00:22 UTC
From Dust Bunnies to Black Holes: Oppenheimer-Snyder Collapse
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Title: On Continued Gravitational ContractionAuthors: J. R. Oppenheimer and H. SnyderFirst Author’s Institution: University of California, BerkeleyStatus: Published in Phys. Rev. [open access]
A Story of Singularity Skepticism“The essential result of this investigation is a clear understanding as to why the ‘Schwarzschild singularities’ do not exist in physical reality,” declared Albert Einstein in October 1939, denouncing the idea that black holes could physically exist. While we now know Einstein to be sorely mistaken (based on a century of research into none other than Einstein’s own theory of general relativity), Einstein was far from alone in his black hole skepticism. Shortly after the 1915 publication of Einstein’s famous field equations — stating succinctly how the geometry of the Universe is influenced by the distribution of matter and energy — Karl Schwarzschild (then an active soldier in the German army during World War I) published the first exact solution to these equations in early 1916; this solution showed how gravity behaves in a vacuum around a stationary spherical mass. However, Schwarzschild’s solution possessed a shocking mathematical oddity: at a special radius, now known as the Schwarzschild radius, some components of Schwarzschild’s solution shoot off to infinity — the solution possesses a “singularity.” ...

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