On Love and Gravity
Let me introduce myself! I am Sonali, theoretical physicist, poet, traveler, and creative, and I am going to take over the pen from Djuna occasionally to muse about interesting things that enter my orbit.
Today I will talk about the force of attraction that bends space and time whimsically bringing people (read “matter”) together. That can be no other cocktail than that of love and wine! Or, of course, my favorite of the four fundamental “forces”: Gravity.
Actually, the love/gravity duality is not too far from a perfect analogy. Just like love, which creates ripples in your heart, huge self gravitating objects create ripples in space-time: Gravitational Waves. We have confirmed their existence just last year, as Djuna blogged about here. Our Earth and in turn, we, is constantly weirdly stretched and squeezed (without consent!) by these strange passerby’s! Stay tuned to read more fun facts about these weird waves in some future blog posts.
The detection of gravitational waves also gave more evidence for a class of very mysterious cosmic objects: Black Holes. Their existence has been the topic of heated physical and philosophical debates for centuries! At a recent conference at Bad Honnef titled “Do Black Holes Exist: The physics and philosophy of black holes”, their final fate was to be determined. All evidence was duly investigated, and all definitions were laid bare, and picked at; all conceptual difficulties were unfolded… Eventually, a democratic vote followed three intense days. The resounding opinion was “YES”: “Yes, Black Holes do exist”. Yes, I admit, I had the same thought as you are having right now: “wait, when did the existence of Black Holes become democratic?!”
But the mysteries around Black Holes are far from solved: big questions still remain. Questions such as:
- What happens inside the Black Holes? How does gravity behave inside Black Holes?
- What about the information paradox?
- Do Black Holes have hair?
- What are White Holes? Are they actually the reverse of Black Holes? Do they violate thermodynamics? Can they exist in nature?
- What about their quirky partners, called Wormholes?
I will be blogging on the QM about these mind boggling mathematical ideas, which just might be reality.
Black Holes are the places in the Universe where gravity is the strongest. Therefore, they are good laboratories for theories of Quantum Gravity – the Holy Grail of modern theoretical physics. Theories of Quantum Gravity have been climbing above each other for attention over the last decade – and now we finally have some experimental results.
If you like science fiction and fantasy as much as I do, and also dream of escaping to an alternate reality, it turns out that nature is even more fantastical than our wildest dreams. That is what attracted me to physics in the first place. This mysterious, magical and science fiction-y nature of theoretical physics inspires my poetic side as well. I will finish with an example, full of ideas and connections that we can muse about for hours:
Gravity sitting and thinking on a stool,
It’s slipping and sliding on a Reimann Pool,
The Riccis and scalars are here and there
The Gammas form a connection that cares.
Its fate was dreamt in Einstein’s sleep
where Hilbert trusted it to Minkowski’s keep,
The g..s wanted to be in the thick of things
and thus entered the action with a leap.
The 5th dimension knocked at a tense time
on the doors of both Kaluza and Klein,
It said I can roll up really small
If only you can make me gravity’s hall!!
Looking forward to writing to you in the future!
Sonali Mohapatra is a PhD student in Theoretical Physics a the University of Sussex, author of the poetry bundle “Leaking Ink”, and editor-in-chief of the magazine “Carved Voices”. Sonali also recently gave an interview about the overlap of Gravity, fantasy, magic, imagination and metaphors with Sir James Gate on CBC’s Ideas with Paul on their episode titled “Similies and Science”. Leave a comment or write us anytime about your own ideas!