Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When Space and Time Cease to Exist

Science, Technology, the Environment ---

Simulated view of black hole
I have had occasions in which I have felt as if I were trapped in a black hole, a state-of-being in which I can't seem to find my way, in which motivation and desire are lost, and in which nothing appears to make sense. But a black hole is more than just a metaphor for the state in which we humans might sometimes find ourselves; it is, in fact a reality in our universe.

Simple put, a black hole is the result of a star imploding in itself. This occurs when the star no longer has the energy to maintain its massive state and as such collapses in itself, becoming compressed to a size smaller than an atom while retaining the same amount of mass. The gravitational pull into this imploded star becomes so intense that nothing moving in its vicinity can withstand the force of that pull, not even light with its super-fast speed. Everything gets pulled in. 

No one has ever seen a black hole directly, but we know of their existence strictly from the theorizing of theoretical physicists.  There is one thing about black holes, however, that presents us with a problem - the so-called black hole singularity that is itself the heart or center of the black hole. As I indicated in the previous paragraph the imploded star is reduced to a size smaller than an atom without losing its mass. So in effect what we would then have is a star that has become immensely very heavy and infinitesimally very small - as such, a kind of reductio ad absurdium where there is zero volume (space) and infinite density, and where space and time apparently cease to exist. Do we then call that singularity, eternity? What do you think?