Physicists have been looking long and wide for a trace of the elusive Hawking Radiation. But they have been beaten to it by a bunch of guys who claim to have produced it in the lab. From a figment of theoretical balderdash Hawking radiation now has the chance to become an empirical footnote. As is the case, I am far ahead of myself. Sort of like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five.
Hawking Radiation ? No prizes for guessing the origins of its name. Stephen Hawking has been called many things ; among them is the title of the greatest physicist of our age. His greatest achievement till date has been his hypothesis of Hawking Radiation : Black Holes have entropy. Black Holes piss in the form radiation . This radiation is called Hawking Radiation. On the face of it ; it seems absurd. If it weren’t i woudn’t be writing about it and people wont be reading about it. I have this attraction for the absurd and abstruse; hard to figure out why. Perhaps i too was kidnapped and frisked away to the planet of Tralfamadore. Damn this Vonnegut guy and his telegraphic schizophrenic narration style.
So back to Black Holes it is. Black Holes are called black for a reason -Light cant escape from it. Since light cant nothing else can. The archaic view in cosmology was to consider black holes as dull, static fragments of the universe- old and forgotten. But Hawking changed all that. Here’s how: The universe (and vacuum in particular) is filled with pairs of particles-antiparticles zooming in and out of existence. These rapidly annihilate and directly return their energy to vacuum. Hawing realised that if one of the pair were to cross the event horizon, it could never return. But its partner on the other side would be free to go. To an observer it would look as if the black hole were producing a constant stream of quantum particles, which became known as Hawking radiation.
Anyone could have figured out Hawking radiation provided he looked at the edge of the Black Hole. But to realize that a black hole edge would so radically alter things takes a genuis. People (idiots mostly) usually question the genuis of Hawking. Well , as i said before – They are idiots.
Now physicists have discovered a fancy way of producing and detecting this radiation thingy- something with liquids and light. In principle they have created a white hole (formally equal and opposite of a black hole) in the lab. To read the details click here.
PS: I just lurrrve Slaughterhouse-Five.
“Well here we are, Mr Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”
There are enough pics of Hawking on this blog. I wanna put one of Vonnegut. Damn, i wish i had his hair.