A study published in the journal Physical Review Letters and titled “End point of black ring instabilities and the weak cosmic censorship conjecture” suggests Einstein’s general theory of relativity could be destroyed by the naked singularity of a black hole which is bizarrely shaped and existent in five dimensions.
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The study was researched by a team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge who succeeded in simulating the black hole into a very thin ring. Theoretical physicists first found ring-shaped black holes in 2002 but the current study is the first time researchers would simulate it with digital equipment.
The theory of general relativity is behind gravity as we know it today, and it strings everything together from the age of starts to the exploitation of GPS signals that help our navigations. Under this theory, matter warps its environmental spacetime and gravity reflects this warp. But naked singularity is the point where gravity becomes very intense to the extent that space, time, and the laws of physics break down.
“As long as singularities stay hidden behind an event horizon, they do not cause trouble and general relativity holds - the ‘cosmic censorship conjecture’ says that this is always the case,” said study co-author Markus Kunesch, a PhD student at Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP).
“As long as the cosmic censorship conjecture is valid, we can safely predict the future outside of black holes. Because ultimately, what we’re trying to do in physics is to predict the future given knowledge about the state of the universe now,” Kunesch added.
Theoretical physicists believe naked singularity might exist in higher dimensions. But laws of physics could become compromised where a singularity can be seen outside the event horizon, making an object to collapse to an infinite density.
Co-author Saran Tunyasuvunakool, a student from DAMTP reveals that where general relativity breaks down in the presence of naked singularity, everything would go out of control since things would lose their predictive potential and the universe would no longer be explainable.
Under theoretical physics, the universe is not seen in three dimensions but believed to be as many as 11 dimensions which could either be very large or very tiny to detect. People perceive things in three dimensions with the fourth being that of time and them together being considered spacetime, but anything outside of these can only be tried out via high energy experiments as is carried out at the Large Hadron Collider.
“The better we get at simulating Einstein’s theory of gravity in higher dimensions, the easier it will be for us to help with advancing new computational techniques – we’re pushing the limits of what you can do on a computer when it comes to Einstein’s theory,” said Tunyasuvunakool. “But if cosmic censorship doesn’t hold in higher dimensions, then maybe we need to look at what’s so special about a four-dimensional universe that means it does hold.”
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