The new study, based on computer modeling, aims to find the elusive relationship between the mind-boggling physics that distorts time for supermassive objects such as black holes and principles that guide the behavior of the smallest subatomic particles.
The study team developed a simulation mode mathematical framework quantum particles Outside a giant simulated black hole. The simulations revealed that the black hole showed signs of quantum superposition, the ability to exist in multiple states simultaneously – in this case, to be at the same time massive and not massive at all.
Related: Do we live in a quantum world?
“We wanted to see if [black holes] The study’s lead author, Joshua Fu, a PhD researcher in theoretical physics at the University of Queensland, said in a statement statement (Opens in a new tab). “So far, we haven’t investigated in depth whether black holes display some of the weird and wonderful behaviors of quantum physics.”
The best known example of quantum superposition is Schrödinger’s legendary cat, a thought experiment designed by early 20th century physicist Erwin Schrödinger to prove some of the key issues in quantum physics. According to quantum theories, subatomic particles exist in multiple states simultaneously until they interact with the outside world. This interaction, which can be a simple act to be measured or observed, throws the particle into one of the possible states.
Schrödinger, who won the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics, intended the experiment to demonstrate the absurdity of quantum theory, as it suggested that a cat enclosed in a box could be both dead and alive based on the random behavior of atoms. , until the observer breaks the overlay.
However, as it turns out, while a cat in a box can be dead regardless of the observer’s actions, a quantum particle may actually exist in a dual state. And the new study suggests that black holes work just as well.
American and Israeli theoretical physicist Jacob Bekenstein was the first to hypothesize that black holes might have quantum properties. Since a black hole is defined by its mass, the quantum superposition must mean that this single gravitational gate can have multiple masses that lie within certain ratios.
“Our modeling showed that these superimposed masses were, in fact, in specific ranges or ratios – as predicted by Beckenstein,” said study co-author Magdalena Zych, a physicist at the University of Queensland and co-author of the research. in the statement. “We did not assume any such pattern to occur, so the fact that we found this evidence was very surprising.”
Not that we’re any closer to understanding what goes on inside black holes. But whatever that is, it’s probably way more awesome than we could ever imagine.
The New study (Opens in a new tab) It was published online in Physical Review Letters on Friday (October 28).