How Scientists Are Making ‘Sonic’ Black Holes in a Lab
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How Scientists Are Making ‘Sonic’ Black Holes in a Lab


Hawking radiation, which is particles predicted
by Stephen Hawking that are emitted by black holes, are at the center of a huge debate
among physicists. Unfortunately, we’ve only recently been
able to take a black hole’s picture, let alone study the quantum particles it might
be giving off. So for clues on how real black holes behave,
scientists are creating stand-ins in a lab and taking their temperature. What could be analogous to a black hole, you
ask? Well, black holes curve space-time so much
that the fastest thing in the universe, light, cannot escape. Once it crosses what’s known as the event
horizon, it can’t come back. So instead of making something light can’t
escape, what if we made a medium another wave cannot escape? Like, sound. A fluid moving at supersonic speeds could
do just that. Amazingly in 1981, it was shown that the exact
same equations that describe event horizons can also be used to describe sonic horizons
in a system like that. The math even predicted vibrations called
phonons, which can act as the sonic equivalent of Hawking radiation under the right circumstances. In empty space, virtual particles are popping into existence all the time, and when they meet,
they immediately annihilate each other again. When these virtual particles form straddling
the cusp of an event horizon, however, one of them gets sucked into the black hole, while
the other escapes. In the same way, quantum units of sound called
phonons can arise in fluids. In normal circumstances, these tiny vibrations
will meet and cancel each other out, but if one phonon forms where the fluid is moving
slower than the speed of sound and it’s opposite forms where the fluid is supersonic,
they should be separated and made permanent. It took until 2009 for scientists to actually
make one of these sonic black holes. They supercooled rubidium atoms until they
formed a Bose-Einstein condensate and got them flowing. By zapping the moving fluid partway along
its path with a laser, that section of fluid was accelerated to supersonic speeds, creating
a sonic event horizon. Sure enough, the scientists observed entangled
phonons that were consistent with sonic Hawking radiation. Since that experiment scientists have got
even more crafty with their black hole analogs, creating multiple sonic horizons that would
bounce phonons back and forth, amplifying them and making them easier to detect. And in 2019, they finally measured the temperature
of the phonons, which could prove Hawking right on a controversial prediction about
his radiation. You heard me, the quantum sounds also gave
off a bit of heat, about 0.35 billionths of a kelvin. Hawking predicted his radiation would also
have a temperature, but those predictions are a huge sticking point for quantum mechanics. If Hawking radiation is thermal, it would
be a random spread of energies. That would mean it carries no information
about what it once was before falling into the black hole. But quantum mechanics treats information as
indestructible, and says that the past state of the universe can always be determined if
you rewind from the present. Either Hawking is wrong or we need to rethink
quantum mechanics. Unfortunately for quantum mechanics, the fact
that these phonons have a temperature consistent with Hawking’s calculations points to Hawking
being right. That is of course assuming that a sonic black
hole is a perfect stand in for a black hole, and even the researchers behind this experiment
admit it may very well not be. Until we can take the temperature of a real
black hole or come up with a theory of quantum gravity that combines gravity with quantum
mechanics, Stephen Hawking’s prediction will remain unresolved. Thanks for watching be sure to subscribe to
learn all the weird ways we’re trying to untangle the mysteries of black holes, like
how they might be like fuzz balls. Pun absolutely intended. Maren spins a yarn in this video here. The disagreement between Hawking’s predictions
and quantum mechanics’ rules about information is known as the information paradox. That’s all for me, see you next time on
Seeker!

100 thoughts on “How Scientists Are Making ‘Sonic’ Black Holes in a Lab

  1. This was referenced in an old Vsauce video about black holes. Michael said they referred to it as a "dumb hole".

  2. This is actually not how particle creation/annihilation works. Everywhere is the same explanation, so we can't really blame Seeker. PBS Space Time has a good video on this topic, as on many others. Otherwise genuinely interesting topic of this video!

  3. Great video, I always say this but awesome shirt Julian

    A bit confusing but I guess that just means I have some learning to do about quantum mechanics😅

  4. I made it about 45 seconds into this video before my brain melted and I couldn't follow what he was saying. I love this kind of stuff, but I have limits.

  5. 1:34 so if we take something moving faster than the speed of light like a tachyon collide it with something slower than the speed of light #anything it should make a black hole that light can't escape???🤔🤔🤔

  6. Why do you all act like it is impressive that light can't escape a black hole? Light can't escape anything that is black in color.

  7. Soo… lemme get this straight.
    Black holes, as defined by this video, are basically a space where a sound was produced so violently (Supernovas, collapsing stars, etc.) that it could even suck light in…?
    Could this be where dark matter could come into effect, containing the size of the sound that a black hole produces when it first collapsed?

  8. I dont think one can do justice to such advanced concepts by condensing them to a 4 minute pop science video.

  9. What's the point of researching this…. Unless you wanna end this world faster, what is the blackhole becomes self substain in your lab

  10. Great T-shirt. I would be happy to just find the can dead so we can move on. Maybe Seeker could do an April Fools Day episode announcing that… please.

    EDIT: At least no one has tried to extend the metaphor even further and visualize Hawking Radiation as virtual hairballs.

  11. Black holes in reality are toroidal plasma. That's what astronomers are observing at the center of galaxies and misinterpreting as black holes.

  12. I would have liked a visualization of the sonic black hole. I have a poor image in my mind of what you were describing.

  13. A black hole's temperature is proportional to its event horizon, while electromagnetism has proven to be proportional to temperature, meaning a black hole's charge and temperature both obey the Golden Ratio which has turned out to not be entirely random, but expresses a multidimensional equation. At the same time, the mathematics for Relativity have turned out to be indistinguishable from those used in thermodynamics, meaning the physicists and mathematicians will have prove that all their mathematics are not thermodynamic to begin with. Assuming all our mathematics and physics describe thermodynamics, the question is not whether we can prove a black hole has a temperature, but whether anyone can prove that anything doesn't have a temperature. A perfect vacuum is impossible, implying that asking if a black hole has a temperature is merely begging the question.

  14. I believe their on a right path. The faster an object travels the heavier it is. So supersonic or fast speeds would greatly amplify the weight of the mass.

  15. If virtual particles are popping into existence, doesn’t that seem analogous to the situation where a 3 dimensional object moves through a 2 dimensional plane, and is seen by a “flat lander” as popping into existence?
    Or, is there no spoon?

  16. sorry , virtual particles do not Pop in from empty space. nice recital though on information gathered which you believe is true even though pyshics is not unified and just repeating something you read to others does not mean you know what you are talking about, you and your physics leaders will never know that way they can keep getting money to repeat

  17. It just occured to me, what about gravitational waves? We know for sure those exist now, and that producing the energy to create them consumes a significant portion of the mass of merging black holes when those are the trigger.

    If the indestructability of quantum information is true, how does it say we could theoretically extract the information about the makeup of the mass that was converted into that wave?

    The theoretical mechanism for Hawking Radiation is, or at least was, entanglement. To my knowledge that requires something that can exist as a particle, though, and we haven't been able to demonstrate the graviton as yet. Even the LHC hasn't managed it.

    I'm pretty sure you can't entangle something that exists exclusively as a wave.

  18. Short Answer : Scientists have no clue what they're doing and they're just experimenting with random shit.

  19. We all know atomic vibration is not the same as electromagnetic "vibration", though.
    Also, the scales of experiment are incomparable.

  20. Have we discovered how to prevent WW3? All other discoveries depend upon that one. Don't they…

  21. Re: Hawking radiation- this is kind of a picky/nit point, but, there are currently zero black holes that are emitting and Hawking radiation, nor will there be for trillions of years. The background temperature is simply too high for this to happen.

    Which, i suppose, is another good reason to study it in a lab- if we could make micro black holes in a particle accelerator, etc, then it would conceivably emit such.

    Interesting experiment here, too.

    B

  22. Breaking News:
    Scientists initiated a black hole!

    Auto:
    The user for this account was consumed by the black hole.

  23. You just wore that shirt a few videos ago? Buy a different shirt for each video in my honest opinion. Thx!

  24. You know that you might be able to breathe in space
    Have you ever tried it before?
    It could be a power that only you possess

  25. too terrestrial to actually explain the unknowns of a real black hole if it even exists as anything near we imagine.

  26. Trace from DNews!! I found him today in person!

    Uno dos of trace, or Trace Dominguez. Subscribe to his new channel..

  27. Well scientists are confused… That what happens when two spinning black holes collide… Can they just do it with the sonics one's??

  28. A bullshit,which amaze people,that has no relationship with real nature,and they call themself scientists.

  29. What happened to Trace? He returned for a while, then he disappeared again. He was the original host for a long time and did the whole podcast styled science multi episode thing on a separate show. Bring back Trace!!!

  30. "we need to rethink quantum mechanics"
    how often did we need to rethink quantum mechanics in the past anyway?

  31. I have a new gravity, time and consciousness theory that connects quantum mechanics with gravity and with existence, what should I do?

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