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Space News Science Technology

Five-Dimensional Black Hole Could 'Break' General Relativity (sciencealert.com) 146

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London, have successfully simulated a black hole shaped like a very thin ring, which gives rise to a series of 'bulges' connected by strings that become thinner over time. Ring-shaped black holes were 'discovered' by theoretical physicists in 2002, but this is the first time that their dynamics have been successfully simulated using supercomputers. Should this type of black hole form, it would lead to the appearance of a 'naked singularity', which would cause the equations behind general relativity to break down. "If naked singularities exist, general relativity breaks down," said co-author Saran Tunyasuvunakool, also a PhD student from DAMTP. "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."
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Five-Dimensional Black Hole Could 'Break' General Relativity

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  • by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <initNO@SPAMinit.sh> on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:03PM (#51550765) Homepage Journal

    So does this mean we'll all get goatees?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:04PM (#51550775)

    This thing would make one hell of a cosmic "Hula hoop".

  • Predictive power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:13PM (#51550813)

    I wonder where the rubbish claims about predictive power came from. General Relativity has already made many predictions, subsequently verified. Those won't suddenly vanish.

    • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:20PM (#51550837)

      Newtonian mechanics made lots of preditions too, and applied to a small enough frame newtonian mechanics hold as well. Probably its similar for general relativity. Otherwise we'd have found the "theory that explains it all". And that'd be quite cool on one hand, but quite un-cool at the other hand, because now there is nothing anymore we can discover.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:42PM (#51550911)

        Why is it a problem if a theory breaks down under some conditions? Are we really hubristic enough to think we will ever have a theory that predicts and explains everything with 100% accuracy at all levels?

        Besides, I thought scientific theories' merits were measured against their utility rather than their accurate predictive capacity.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:47PM (#51550933)

          No, no one is saying that anything may be predicted. For one thing, we can't know the initial conditions of "everything", and there are certain pairs of conserved information, limiting our ability to subsequently know things. That said, a "theory of everything" which encompasses the known universe from the sub-sub-atomic to the large-scale structure of the universe would be sufficiently massively explanatory as to call it the "theory that explains it all" without too much hubris.

          Besides, I thought scientific theories' merits were measured against their utility rather than their accurate predictive capacity.

          What definition of "utility" are you using that is not synonymous with "predictive power" in the context of scientific theories?

          • by ewibble ( 1655195 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:51PM (#51553135)

            Without two much hubris

            Of course that is too much hubris, first it requires us to assume that understand enough about the known universe and what is actually happening. We currently observer the universe though specs of electromagnetic radiation billion of light years away. To assume we know what is going on is even likely is hubris. We should make these assumptions because it is the best we have. But the fraction of the universe, (both distance and time) we can actually see in any real detail is minute. Even the detail we observe is also probably very limited as well, since we may only have limited senses.

            Newtons laws are very useful, we still use them now. General relativity laws will continue to be useful even if they don't predict everything. If we come up with a better theory that theory will continue to be useful, even when that theory proves not to be accurate in certain conditions as well.

          • by See Attached ( 1269764 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @09:53PM (#51555225)
            Can mathematics prove that something exists? Does math exist for reality to adhere to, or does math happen to map some relationships? Am all for science, but am stuck on observable events, having bought into string theory a while back. How about looking into Agriculture?
            • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @07:05AM (#51557171)
              A lot of the very smallest objects seem to have no intrinsic properties that are non-mathmatical. Spin, colour, etc. It gets to a point where a mathematical abstraction is equivalent to the real thing. So is the real thing itself purely mathmatical? Interesting stuff, to be sure.
              • by cwsumner ( 1303261 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @04:37PM (#51561565)

                A lot of the very smallest objects seem to have no intrinsic properties that are non-mathmatical. Spin, colour, etc. It gets to a point where a mathematical abstraction is equivalent to the real thing. So is the real thing itself purely mathmatical? Interesting stuff, to be sure.

                No, it's not purely mathmatical. But your eyes are not good enough to see the difference. Even with "enhancement"! 8-)

              • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @06:01PM (#51562339)

                Mathematics proceeds from axioms to interesting results, independently of the physical world. Don't be fooled by the fact that the form of math used, and how interesting the results, often depend on applying it to the physical world. (For example, there are many possible geometries, but we're typically only interested in the ones that correspond in some way to the real world.)

                We can construct mathematical models based on what we understand of physics, but they won't give us reliable information about the real world. They can be very useful, though, such as suggesting things to try to test theories.

        • by Pikoro ( 844299 ) <initNO@SPAMinit.sh> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @12:00AM (#51551133) Homepage Journal

          It won't be finished until we can extrapolate the entire universe from a piece of fairy cake.

        • We invented a God (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @02:27AM (#51551457)

          Are we really hubristic enough to think we will ever have a theory that predicts and explains everything with 100% accuracy at all levels?

          We invented a God who created the universe and pretended he looked like us. Yes, we have more than enough hubris.

        • by mikael ( 484 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @06:13AM (#51551841)

          If that theory is being used to design systems used to transport human beings in places they aren't normally found, then it is important that it doesn't break down" under some conditions.

          • by ewibble ( 1655195 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @03:00PM (#51553185)

            Why? Planes and boats (no need to know general relativity) use Newtonian physics to transport people to places they weren't normally found, that breaks down in some cases. It doesn't mean we can't use those principles.

            Even if people die because the laws break down it isn't the end of the world, you just make some new people. Things don't need to be 100% safe do it, just reasonably safe.

        • Re: Predictive power (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:30AM (#51551947) Homepage

          Exactly. It's perfectly normal that our theories are built around the limits of our knowledge. A theory may work great until we start gathering new data in new ways which shows that there are problems in it... and then the theory needs to be expanded. That doesn't mean that the previous theory was wrong - just limited.

          Honestly, there's enough problems with event horizons and singularities that I really think it's about time that we accept that they may well just not exist [cds.cern.ch]. We have a known force of the universe, inflation, that when the universe was packed into a very energy dense state led to the dilation of space until the universe reached a less energy-dense state. Why should we assume that this is something only applicable to the Big Bang, rather than a general rule of the universe? When you apply a dilation-driven inflation gravity to the environment of a black hole, suddenly singularities and event horizons disappear. A black hole is often described as a waterfall of spacetime rushing in; inflation is like a flood of spacetime rushing out. Infalling particles are shifted to a tangential path; all of the energy of the black hole exists at the event horizon in a quasi-2d state. In such a scenario, black holes are - from an infinite-observer's perspective - basically nothing more than a frozen store of spacetime, ever so slowly leaking out, until - unthinkably long in the future, when they sit all alone in an empty void - they catastrophically explode in an inflationary flood of energy from which new matter can ultimately condense. Miniature versions of the Big Bang itself.

          No naked singularities. No information paradox. No firewall. Explanatory power for the Big Bang. Why isn't this a theoretical route worth pursuing more?

          • by vinlud ( 230623 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @07:19AM (#51557199)

            Singularities only rise from General Relativity, which is precisely why scientists are looking for a better theory to describe the inner workings of a black hole. I don't think any physicist specialized in BH's expects singularities to be the actual way nature works, there is simply just nothing to describe it though.

            The whole rebirthing idea peopler try to create based around black holes (whether the new universe is either inside the black or like you state after evaporation of the black hole) has no evidence and not even any clues leading to have to consider the option seriously. Basically it is another version of turtles all the way down. For one thing, your black hole would have to survive its internal creation of spacetime (which would logically lead to a nullification of the gravitic forces creating the black hole in the first place). Secondly, it does nothing to explain how the information can leak back into 'our universe'. It is also useful to note that our observable universe had to start from a singular starting point in order to explain its smoothness, but that does not necessarily mean the origin of our Universe as a whole had to start from a point (in which case it would simply much much bigger then we can observe).

        • by slashping ( 2674483 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:46AM (#51551963)

          Besides, I thought scientific theories' merits were measured against their utility rather than their accurate predictive capacity.

          Arguably, a theory that has more accurate predictive capacity is more useful (unless the extra accuracy means a lot more complex math, in which case it is useful to keep a less accurate but simpler theory around)

          Are we really hubristic enough to think we will ever have a theory that predicts and explains everything with 100% accuracy at all levels?

          It's certainly possible we'll get there. Maybe with the help of computers.

        • by soramimicake ( 593421 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @11:39AM (#51552323)

          Are we really hubristic enough to think we will ever have a theory that predicts and explains everything with 100% accuracy at all levels?

          "There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - D.A.

      • Re:Predictive power (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:52PM (#51550943)

        I think the point Tough Love is making is that Newtonian mechanics still has exactly as much predictive power as it always had. Relativity would as well. But it would indicate we need to generate a theory that could predict what neither Newtonian nor Relativistic mechanics could predict.

        A counterpoint, though, is that Newtonian mechanics could have predicted certain impossibilities. For instance, you might conclude based on Newtonian mechanics that a human, aged 20, with a lifespan of 100 years and no cryonics, starting from Earth, could not see the Andromeda galaxy without travelling at least ~3*10^20 meters per second (distance to Andromeda Galaxy / 80 years). General relativity tells us that you can't go more than ~3*10^8 meters per second, the speed of light, which is almost exactly one trillionth of the speed we need to get to Andromeda. Yet, famously, you can get to the Andromeda galaxy in a spaceship with a constant rate of acceleration g (itself an *incredible* feat), over the course of a "mere" 28 years. If you had travelled to the Andromeda Galaxy and back (you found a discarded Alien spacecraft), you might conclude that you had travelled at a speed well in excess of the speed of light. So Newtonian mechanics discarded a possibility that General Relativity allowed, and General Relativity discarded a possibility that Newtonian mechanics disallowed, and we know that GR wins over Newton when they conflict. Perhaps "Trans-Relativity" could introduce possibilities that we'd previously discarded, forcing us to re-evaluate some old data.

        • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:09AM (#51551919) Journal

          you might conclude that you had travelled at a speed well in excess of the speed of light. So Newtonian mechanics discarded a possibility that General Relativity allowed, and General Relativity discarded a possibility that Newtonian mechanics disallowed

          You would not conclude that because of length contraction: you would conclude that Andromeda was a lot closer. Newtonian mechanics also predates relativity. Therefore when relativity was discovered it replaced Newtonian mechanics which essentially became the low energy approximation to relativity. So in no sense did Newtonian mechanics "discard" a possibility allowed by relativity: once relativity was confirmed Newtonian mechanics was relegated to a low energy approximation of relativity and was no longer regarded as a fundamental description of the universe.

          This last part is a key point in physics. The data supporting relativity are overwhelming: special relativity is the most accurately tested theory science has ever come up with. Any replacement of relativity by something new will almost certainly mean that the new theory can only significantly differ under situations we have never tested relativity under. As such it is very unlikely to introduce possibilities which we have already discarded and far more likely to introduce possibilities we have never even thought of. In fact you example is a good case in point: Andromeda was classed a nebula before relativity was discovered and our modern understanding of an expanding universe filled with galaxies requires relativity to describe it. Hence we would never have even conceived of a trip to a distant galaxy without relativity.

      • Re:Predictive power (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:35PM (#51551057)

        but remember the scary thing that happened when newtonian mechanics were found to be inaccurate and incomplete, all the buildings and bridges and engines we've designed that used them fell apart as the predictive power evaporated.

        oh wait I'm full of shit

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:41PM (#51551085)

        The average human's IQ is 100 per within the age bracket. Relatively speaking, you could have advanced AI with self awareness having an IQ of 1 billion. I would not be surprised if it too had limits in understanding the universe.

        A little humility goes a long way.

      • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @04:18AM (#51551593)
        Newtonian mechanic still hold, because at those level it is an excellent approximation and virtually indistinguishable if GR did not exists. Sure we could find an alternative to GR, but as pointed out GR has many prediction/evidence. Therefore the new theory could only be like Newtonian theory : is all those predicted situation, GR should still stay an excellent approximation and virtually the result indistinguishable to result obtained if that new theory was not present barring new complex situation where GR break down. That is possible but far more likely the model for ring blackhole sucks and something is wrong with them or even them existing.
      • by belthize ( 990217 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @05:23PM (#51553807)

        There's a fundamental difference between empirically showing that a model is inaccurate (Newtonian physics) and being uneasy about the implications of a mathematical model. That's not to say that GR is right, just that Newtonian mechanics are not a good comparison.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @07:03AM (#51557165)

        And that'd be quite cool on one hand, but quite un-cool at the other hand, because now there is nothing anymore we can discover.

        Given the history of knowledge so far, that strikes me as a pretty remote probability. So far every answer is popping up more questions, and I'd expect that to continue.

    • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:33PM (#51550881)

      I wonder if whomever wrote that realized the double-edged nature of their comment or not.

      "If naked singularities exist, general relativity breaks down," said co-author Saran Tunyasuvunakool, also a PhD student from DAMTP. "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."

      In other words:

      "This research we are asking you for more grant money to continue studying, we have now demonstrated is completely and thoroughly proven physically impossible by all known laws of physics!"

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:43PM (#51550915)

        Yes, and if a magical jolly fat man could visit every home in the world in a single night, then general relativity would have a hard time with that as well...

        What makes this 'naked singularity' any more of a possibility than the magic fat man?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:46PM (#51550927)

          Yeah, nobody has ever been able to show how a naked singularity could arise from realistic initial conditions.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @05:13AM (#51551715) Journal

            You have not spent much time in with the quantum mechanics/string-theorists/quantum physics people, have you?

            They would almost certainly tell you that not only has that exact thing happened but that it has happened at least a few times. There is no law that means things tend to disorder. There is just observations of that as a tendency on a macro scale. On a really, really small scale there is a chance that such a man could be created - or so they assure me. There is a chance that you'll open the box and find a diamond in it. They assure me that this is true. I can't not imply that I'm the best to explain it. Brian Greene does a decent job as does Brian Cox. I'm partial to what I can find of Feynman and I like Susskind too.

            There's the Greek guy who likes Hawaiian shirts, the frazzled black dude, some big Eastern European blond dude, a nice pretty lady at Cal Tech, and a few others. I don't know 'em or anything - they just pop up in documentaries on a regular basis. They've all pretty much told me that there's no law prohibiting such things. The atoms could, by number alone, assemble to make such a thing, purely by chance and given enough time. It's a lot of time before that probability approaches zero but there's some time length where that has an equal probability to happen as it has to not.

            No, no I do not understand it all. And if it didn't happen in this universe, it could have happened in another one. It kind of makes my brain hurt.

            • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @06:25AM (#51551871) Journal
              Feynman said that a good physicist has half a dozen different models for the same phenomena because different models inspire different ideas. To the best of my knowledge there are no atoms inside a black hole. A black hole is just the gravitational field, the atoms themselves have been "spaghettified". Quantum mechanics says a singularity cannot exist due to the uncertainty principle. Feynman also said that nobody really understands this stuff but if you pick the right model for the right situation, the math works and the observations are robust.

              I listen to some of the same weirdos as you do, you might like Fay Dowker [youtube.com]. A student of Hawking talking about "causal networks", interesting stuff.
              • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @12:42PM (#51552525) Journal

                I've bumped into them before! For whatever reason, the History Channel decided it was the Science Channel - at least that's what the evidence suggests. They did a bunch of science documentaries according to the credits, though some are from other channels and are just repackaged if the credits are to be believed. She was on a few of those.

                I've been stupid enough to go look at the math. No, I still have no idea. Well, I have an understanding at some level. I can probably fake an understanding at some level - if the person I'm talking to doesn't need a whole lot of details and is not, themselves, a physicist. However, I watch documentaries as a form of entertainment. It is not a scholastic pursuit. That and I go through binges where I watch a lot of lectures but that's also an entertainment.

    • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @12:18AM (#51551177)

      It's not about predictive power it's about describing the system and providing insight into what is happening. Aristotelian mechanics still have limited predictive power as well but you wouldn't use them when thinking about extending physics.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:20AM (#51551931) Journal

      Also wrong,

      "it could no longer be considered as a standalone theory to explain the universe."

      It's not a stand-alone theory anyway, it requires quantum theory...

      Article can say it better:
      Why can't Einstein and Quantum Mechanics get along? [gizmodo.com]

    • by Njorthbiatr ( 3776975 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @10:38AM (#51552223)

      I'm thoroughly enjoying this article too:
      "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."

      So if a thing that we don't even know could potentially exist created using simulations of mathematical models in a computer does exist, then general relativity is turned on its head! Zany!

    • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @03:13PM (#51553251)

      When your job is to sit around and make up things to magically make some silly idea you have 'fit' the real world, this is what happens.

      You have a bunch of people who literally sit around and invent new ways of doing math that make absolutely no real sense, and have no really world evidence or proof to suggest they are even mildly accurate ... and they invented some new model that has no relationship to reality and in their made up universe, it breaks general relativity. Oh and its actually impossible to ever test it, so its not even really debatable.

      You might as well go play video games or use startrek as your definitive 'how the universe really workse'

      • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @06:45PM (#51562657)

        Okay, so either you have no clue as to how science works or you don't like it.

        Science progresses by people finding problems with current theories. These people found what might be a problem with a current theory, in that General Relativity predicts, under certain circumstances, that it breaks down. They were doing what they should be doing.

        I didn't see any mention of testing in the article; do you know something I don't? If it can be tested under some conditions, it's physics.

    • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:23PM (#51554381) Homepage

      I certainly hope I'm not in an airplane relying on GPS when they discover such black hole. Imagine, so many planes with no navigation.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:13PM (#51550815)
    did you have to break everything?
  • Bad interpretation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:15PM (#51550819) Homepage Journal

    Even if the facts are good and the theory is right, the analysis quoted is broken. A theory doesn't need to be able to explain the entire universe to have *some* predictive power. It's also weird to say that the equations "break down" in such an unqualified sense; what is meant (presumably) is that there are conditions where those equations can't be evaluated and likely don't apply.

    • by justthinkit ( 954982 ) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:26PM (#51551033) Homepage Journal
      I agree with your points. Einstein's relativities do not have to work everywhere to be useful in many places and ways. And a Black Hole could easily be an edge case where laws/assumptions are incomplete/not applicable. I said the same thing (here [just-think-it.com]) in 2014.

      In addition, since when is a 5-D simulation related to relativity? Einstein never went beyond 3+1. So this article/the simulation team's conclusion is insulting to Einstein's work but otherwise not related to it.
  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:20PM (#51550839)

    By the same token, Newton's law of gravitation has clearly lost ALL predictive power, since it breaks down in the relativistic realm. So feel free not to get out of the way next time there's an anvil falling toward your head.

    • By the same token, Newton's law of gravitation has clearly lost ALL predictive power, since it breaks down in the relativistic realm. So feel free not to get out of the way next time there's an anvil falling toward your head.

      And yet if you get out of the way when there's a moon falling towards your head, they call you loony. Ba-dump bump.

      Thanks. I'll be here all night.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:30PM (#51550867)

    If this is a situation General Relativity's rules can't work in, it doesn't mean GR is "broken" or that any of the predictions you can make with it magically stop working all of a sudden. GR doesn't work at extremely tiny scale where quantum mechanics applies; we don't say that it's broken, we just say that GR isn't applicable in that situation while we look for a theory that ties both together.

    It's like, GR didn't "break" Newtonian physics either. You can still use Newtonian physics to do engineering calculations for most stuff here on Earth and it works fine. You just can't use it when you're talking about speeds approaching lightspeed or extremely large masses, or if you need more precision.

    All theroies are just approximations of reality. New scientific discoveries just refine the theories. It doesn't mean you toss the old ones out altogether and it certainly doesn't mean that the old predictive rules somehow stop working in the old scenarios.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:31PM (#51550873)

    So, using a model that doesn't fit general relativity, they created a simulation that doesn't match the model of general relativity. My model to break general relativity says intermediate vector bosons have a mass of 5 megagrams, and the speed of light is 16 megameters per hour. Unless there are multiple real world observations that conclude a ring shaped black hole is existent, they are simulating a fantasy universe, and should expand their model to show it is consistent with other observed physical traits of the known universe.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:35PM (#51550887)

      That's a big boson. I'd better get out my flyswatter.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2016 @06:13AM (#51551843)

      ... a model that doesn't fit ...

      'All models are false; some are useful.', George E P Box

      ... intermediate vector bosons have a mass of 5 mega-grams ...

      This is how science works: One creates an answer or hypothesis, then looks for evidence that matches that answer. Have you looked for 5 tonne bosons?

      ... multiple real world observations ...

      What observations did Einstein use to claim that gravity travels in waves, the speed of light is constant, or that energy can create matter?
      What observations did Faraday use to claim that light was electromagnetic radiation?
      What observations did Newton use to claim that the force pulling the apocryphal apple to the ground was the same force pulling the planets around the sun?

      We abandon answers like aether-space, when the real-world observations fail: We don't abandon answers because no-one made an observation.

      ... expand their model to show it is consistent with other observed physical traits ...

      Einstein tried that: It worked when he went from special relativity to general relativity. It didn't work when he went from relativity to quantum mechanics. Does that mean theories of relativity and quantum mechanics are "simulating a fantasy universe"? (The probable answer is 'yes': See paragraph 1.)

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:37PM (#51550899)

    This sounds so incredibly dangerous.
    Are the computer models even safe?
    I wonder if these equations are even safe for chalkboards.
    If we manage to glimpse a 'naked singularity' Mother Nature will start locking the bathroom door.

    Obligatory Cyriak [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @10:58PM (#51550957)

    Nobody considered GR to be the theory of everything. Not Einstein, nobody.

  • Did none of you watch the original Superman (1978)?

    And to quote Marlon Brando:

    "Each of the six galaxies which you will pass through contain their own individual laws of space and time. "

    Um. hello. McFly (to quote another Hollywood movie which gave another hint about relativity) .

    e=mc^2 and Einstein's relativity is but one of the galaxies.

    This announcement isn't breaking diddly squat. It's expanding your universe.

    Sure. It may be fiction.... ... or is it ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:10PM (#51550993)

    "physicists have successfully simulated what would happen to black holes in a five-dimensional world,"

      That's all the further you have to read the article. The universe has either 4 or 10 dimensions if I remember the two theories correctly. It does not have 5 dimensions. This is science fiction/science fantasy.

    • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @01:02AM (#51551299)

      "physicists have successfully simulated what would happen to black holes in a five-dimensional world," That's all the further you have to read the article. The universe has either 4 or 10 dimensions if I remember the two theories correctly. It does not have 5 dimensions. This is science fiction/science fantasy.

      The point of the five dimensional black hole is that it might represent an actual thing combining normal general relativity and electromagnetism. The idea is that the fifth dimension becomes when approximated by our near-Newtonian world, the symmetry of electromagnetism.

      As I understand it, a key problem is that as a result of the model, one gets a scalar (number valued) field left over which we haven't observed yet (though at one time, it was thought that the Pioneer spacecraft anomalies might be an indication of the field).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:20PM (#51551021)

    That makes reasonable the faculty of visiting black holes.

  • hardly a shocker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:36PM (#51551065)

    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."

    This is hardly a shocker, since general relativity and quantum mechanics have not been successfully unified, and since general relativity simply cannot work at the quantum level as it is.

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Saturday February 20, 2016 @11:49PM (#51551107)

    A 5d ring shaped black hole might be cool, but how does one get created?

    An ordinary black hole is formed after the collapse of a big enough star, but we still don't know how the supermassive black holes came about.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @01:33AM (#51551385)
    everyone knows the internet [wikipedia.org] proved the earth has 4 dimensions back in the 90s. Study it out.
  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @08:51AM (#51552041)

    Quantum physics and general relativity are both very successful theories and yet, they don't make the same predictions so one or both of them must be broken at some point.
    And black holes are at that point. Small enough for quantum mechanics and heavy enough for general relativity.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @12:59PM (#51552603) Homepage

    ALL of this is on paper or in simulations carefully crafted to create the intended result. It's all highly speculative for the most part to get more funding and help secure tenure.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @03:43PM (#51553367)

    Ah, the flaws in GR that we've pretty much always known become incrementally harder to ignore.

    I visited Fermilab once, a long time ago. Along with the tunnels, we walked beside the famous atrium cafeteria, with the unlimited napkin supply.

    I'm pretty sure that these particular eggheads, when they scribbled a formula on a napkin for the 1000th time, didn't bother to give it the 180-degrees courtesy revolution so that the egghead across the table could read it.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah ... it hardly changes anything to read the backside of the revolving chalk board [psstatic.com] (bonus: the whole fragile, physical edifice is abundantly clear).

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Sunday February 21, 2016 @04:37PM (#51553607) Homepage Journal

    See G4v Gravitational Wave vs General Relativity vs LIGO Observation [stackexchange.com] for a more likely revolution in the theory of extreme gravitation currently being tested by the Advanced LIGO system that recently detected gravity waves.

    The single most exciting thing about Advanced LIGO is that it is designed not merely to confirm General Relativity, but to discriminate between competing theories, one of which is General Relativity. A theory competing with General Relativity is a spin-off of the engineering that went into the device rendering the text you are reading now: very large scale integrated circuitry design.

    That theory has been christened "G4v". Remember that acronym. It may become headline news.

    G4v is a new gravitational theory produced by Kip Thorne's old CalTech colleague, Carver Mead. Carver Mead wrote the original text book on very large scale integrated circuit design. Over the course of his career, he became increasingly dissatisfied with conventional formulations of electronics -- primarily Maxwell's Laws -- at its interface with quantum mechanics. As the first PhD student of Richard Feynman, Mead was intimately familiar with Feynman's Nobel Prize winnig work on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) with its emphasis on an arcane physical quantity known as "the vector potential". Mead's book "Collective Electrodynamics" presents his reformulation in terms of the vector potential (the physical dimension of momentum per unit charge). It was through this reformulation, combined with an obscure paper by Einstein, that Mead realized Einstein may have just barely missed a more elegant physical theory than GR. At first, Mead thought this alternate theory may have been, what he calls "a poor man's General Relativity" -- which is to say it would make all the same predictions in a different formulation. However, in conjunction with Kip Thorne, he was able to determine that this was no mere reformulation of General Relativity -- it predicted that gravitational waves would have polarization that could be discriminated from that predicted by GR.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @04:38PM (#51553611) Homepage

    Much of what we understand about general relativity is based on mathematical models. As with any model, there are limits beyond which the model cannot go. Bohr's atomic model has long since shown to have flaws, but even today it is a useful model for many kinds of predictions. We're never going to have a perfect model, but that doesn't mean the model is no good, or that it can't be used to make good predictions. We should NEVER completely trust a model.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @04:43PM (#51553631) Homepage

    Just because a mathematical model can easily go beyond 3 dimensions, doesn't mean that reality also goes beyond 3 dimensions.

    Sure, you can think of time as the fourth dimension. But that's just a convenient way to make mathematical models handle reality. Time isn't a truly physical fourth dimension. To my knowledge, there isn't as yet any proof of the reality of dimensions beyond 3, only theories.

    • by cwsumner ( 1303261 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @04:56PM (#51561717)

      There is also no reason to believe that there are only three "dimensions", however you define them. The "second" dimension changes everything compared to the first. The third dimension changes everything again. the fourth dimension makes things totally different again.

      Each is completely unrecognizable if you only know the first ones, just try teaching kids about dimensions. There is no reason to think we could even recognize higher dimensions, they might have been right in front of us all of the time.

      • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Tuesday February 23, 2016 @12:48AM (#51564729) Homepage

        The problem with your idea is that there is no "first" or "second" dimension, per se. In other words, there is no observed one-dimensional universe that is somehow superseded by a two-dimensional universe that theoretical one-dimensional creatures can't comprehend. Nor is there an observed two-dimensional universe within our three-dimensional universe. There are no lines or planes of existence that we can observe, only our three-dimensional universe. Lines and planes are simply abstract mathematical concepts, not physical realities. There is no observed evidence for 1-dimensional or 2-dimensional realities, any more than there is any observed evidence for a 4- or 5-dimensional reality. Only 3.

        Science is by definition drawn upon observation. It's not necessary to disprove the existence of other "dimensions," instead, it is necessary for science to prove that they do exist.

        • by cwsumner ( 1303261 ) on Tuesday February 23, 2016 @11:44AM (#51567353)

          The problem with your idea is that there is no "first" or "second" dimension, per se. ...

          That is true (as far as we can see). Yet there may be no three dimensional universe, we may only see what we can understand. Just like a primitive tribe, living on the prarie, that has not conception of a third dimension even though we would say it was right there. We might be missing much of what is around us, in the same way!

          I work every day with powers that no one can see, hear or feel. At least not directly. Yet they can and do kill people that are unbelievers, every day (just about).

          Besides, there is some reason to think there are at least 12 dimensions, if not closer to 15! But what they might be is not clear at all...

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  • by lucien86 ( 917502 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @05:31PM (#51562081)

    Oh Dear. The only problem with this research is that any black hole model that includes a central singularity already completely violates general relativity.
    For a black hole to have an external gravity field, energy has to escape beyond the edge of the black hole. At the outer event horizon the field has to cross an FTL barrier but this can be just about explained by gravitational red shifting. However inside the bulk of the black hole this barrier gets steeper and steeper until it reaches the centre. - To cross the FTL barrier from a black hole with a central singularity requires a speed that is almost FTL instantaneous, and there is no way that red shifting can explain that.
    The only explanation that works is an absolute FTL frame - which completely rules out general relativity as the primary theory of mechanics. The very existence of such a speed completely destroys the idea of relativity of simultaneity and instead requires an FTL simultaneity .. This also basically rules out dimensional time as a theory.. General relativity only applied to physics below the speed of light.

  • by NewYork ( 1602285 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2391tsuguaht4>> on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @04:22AM (#51573395) Homepage
    Black holes have Mass; Hence E = MC^2 holds good;

"Who cares if it doesn't do anything? It was made with our new Triple-Iso-Bifurcated-Krypton-Gate-MOS process ..."

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