A quantum approach to a singularity problem


The question of what happens at the center of a black hole like the one found in the M87 could be answered by a new quantum approach. The event horizon telescope collaboration is a credit.

The existence of singularities is one of the major issues in general relativity that separates it from other descriptions of the universe. Singularities are points where the laws of physics would cease to exist if they were described correctly.

A new paper in Nuclear Physics B, published by Roberto Casadio, Alexander Kamenshchik, and Iber Kuntz, suggests that the treatment of singularities in classical physics can be applied to quantum physics.

There is no perfect description of nature. Casadio says that every theory has its domain of applicability beyond which it breaks down and its predictions no longer make sense. Newton's theories are still robust enough to send rockets to space, but they fall down when describing the very small or the massive.

Casadio says that general relativity predicts the existence of singularities quite generically. It is like having a hole in space, where nothing can exist, but into which observers and everything else will fall.

Casadio suggests that this could be a piece of paper with a small hole. "If you reach the hole, the tip of your pen suddenly stops drawing and the particles suddenly disappear, but you can move the tip of your pen on the paper, which represents the movement of a particle," he says. This shows how theoretical obstacles prevent us from fully understanding nature.

Casadio says that the fact that physics ceases to exist at singularities leads to unanswered questions, such as: What really happened at the beginning of the universe? Is it possible that everything was born out of a point that never existed? When a particle falls into a black hole, what happens to it?

"These open questions are the reason we are compelled by our curiosity to pursue this line of investigation," he says. The framework that combines quantum mechanics and special relativity gives rise to the very successful standard model of particle physics, thanks to the methods of Quantum field theory.

The authors used the tools of QFT to create a mathematical object that can show the presence of singularities. In the presence of singularities and without, this object is non-zero.

The approach has shown that certain singularities predicted theoretically do not affect quantities that can be measured.

Casadio says that if formalism survived scientific scrutiny and turned out to be the correct approach, the choices of physical variables are unimportant. This could have a consequential effect on our understanding of physics.

Roberto Casadio and his colleagues wrote about covariant singularities in quantum field theory and quantum gravity. The article is titled "Nuclphysb.

A quantum approach to a singularity problem was retrieved fromphys.org on December 10, 2011.

The document is copyrighted. Any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research cannot be reproduced without written permission. The content is not intended to be used for anything other than information purposes.