February 21, 2016

"If you thought regular black holes were about as weird and mysterious as space gets, think again, because for the first time, physicists have successfully simulated what would happen to black holes in a five-dimensional world, and the way they behave could threaten our fundamental understanding of how the Universe works."

Science Alert: The simulation has suggested that if our Universe is made up of five or more dimensions - something that scientists have struggled to confirm or disprove - Einstein's general theory of relativity, the foundation of modern physics, would be wrong. by Bec Crew

'In other words, five-dimensional black holes would contain gravity so intense, the laws of physics as we know them would fall apart. There's a lot to wrap your head around here, so let's start with the black holes themselves. In a five-dimensional universe, physicists have hypothesised that black holes are more like very thin rings rather than holes, and as they evolve, they can give rise to a series of 'bulges' that become thinner and thinner over time, and eventually break off to form mini black holes elsewhere.

'These ring-shaped black holes (or 'black rings') were first proposed in 2002, but until now, no one’s been able to successfully simulate their evolution. This has been made possible thanks to the COSMOS supercomputer at the University of Cambridge in the UK - the largest shared-memory computer in Europe that can perform 38.6 trillion calculations per second.

'The problem with five-dimensional black holes is that they’re thought to consist of 'ultragravity rings', where gravity is so intense, it gives rise to a state known as naked singularity. Naked singularity is an event so strange, no one really knows what would occur, except that the laws of general relativity would no longer apply.

'"If naked singularities exist, general relativity breaks down," said one of the team, Saran Tunyasuvunakool. "And if general relativity breaks down, it would throw everything upside down, because it would no longer have any predictive power - it could no longer be considered as a standalone theory to explain the Universe."'

"End Point of Black Ring Instabilities and the Weak Cosmic Censorship Conjecture" by Pau Figueras, Markus Kunesch, and Saran Tunyasuvunakool here

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