Hey everyone! The christmas season is upon us, and it’s a chance to spend some time with your friends and family.
let me share my burden with you.
Being a theoretical physicist is terribly depressing. not because of the pay. that’s depressing, but it’s not why.
Are you familiar with the Total Perspective Vortex, from the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Theoretical physics often involves taking a long, deep stare into it. and then afterwards, when you look at your pretty wife and happy apartment…
Anyway! Merry Christmas. Today I’m going to explain what happens if you fall into a black hole. If you find it depressing, well. sorry. If you don’t find it depressing… don’t think too hard about it.
Okay, first off, the library with the colour scanner is closed right now, so i had to do my scanning in black and white. sorry.
The Truth of the matter is that Black Holes are objects in space-time. they have subtle properties that newton couldn’t imagine.
To introduce one of these properties, i’m going to preface my explanation with a little bit of Zeno (not the Stoic.) Zeno believed in Parmenides’ philosophy, which claimed that everything was One undifferentiated unchanging object, and that all differentiation or motion was a big misunderstanding. Zeno came up with a bunch of famous paradoxes to prove his point. I’m going to steal the form of one of his awesome paradoxes to help explain how falling into a black hole will ruin your day.
The deal is that Achilles has to “do” an infinite number of things before he can land on the turtle.
What? achilles is running towards a turtle who is shooting an arrow at him? GET OUT OF MY HEAD ZENO!
Okay, back to general relativity. In past posts, i’ve explained that one of the big lessons in relativity is that time passes at different rates for different people.
Okay, so what happens to Achilles if we drop him into a black hole?
Just as in the first Zeno example, we’re dropping Achilles. but instead of landing on a Turtle, he’s going to hit the “surface” of the black hole. There isn’t really anything *on* the surface of the black hole, it’s just the border between inside and outside the black hole.
Just like in the Zeno example, we’re going to cut his descent into 1/2′s. The deal here is that the amount of time it takes to cross each 1/2 section is DIFFERENT depending on whether we’re using Achilles’ clock, or the Turtle’s (sitting safely in a spaceship) clock.
Okay, so it takes an infinite amount of “turtle” time for Achilles to hit the surface; but it only takes a finite amount of Achilles’ time to hit it! (If you know a black hole scientist, and you want him to laugh, repeat this explanation and then say: “I don’t know why we’re not using tortoise coordinates for this”. they’ll laugh and laugh. )
Okay, so what does this mean?
in other news, what happens when you make it inside a black hole? Well, first you get crushed by the tidal forces. and then you hit a singularity. :(