The Incredible Science Behind Black Holes, Gravity, And The 2020 Nobel Prize

On October 6, 2020, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded towards research in black holes. 50% of the prize went to Roger Penrose for theoretical work demonstrating how black holes could physically, realistically form in our Universe, while 50% went jointly to Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel for the discovery of Sagittarius A*: generally accepted to be a supermassive black hole at the center

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Gravity As Matter Warping Space-Time Now 500 Times Harder To Disprove

KEY POINTS

  • Many experts cast doubts on Einstein’s theory for more than a century
  • A new study proved Einstein’s theory of relativity aligns with present-day quantum physics
  • The conclusion was based on the first photo of a supermassive black hole

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity becomes 500 times harder to negate as the first image ever taken of supermassive blackholes made a stronger case that gravity, indeed, is a matter warping spacetime. The photo of the black hole’s shadow was consistent with astrophysical findings of the much later time, therefore giving significant weight to Einstein’s idea of general relativity. 

Einstein’s theory that gravity is caused by a warping spacetime has been under the scientific lens for more than 100 years. Many experts of modern times have cast their doubts on his finding, saying that it remains mathematically irreconcilable with the foundation of quantum mechanics. 

In general, quantum physicists assert that

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Einstein’s description of gravity just got much harder to beat — ScienceDaily

Einstein’s theory of general relativity — the idea that gravity is matter warping spacetime — has withstood over 100 years of scrutiny and testing, including the newest test from the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, published today in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters.

According to the findings, Einstein’s theory just got 500 times harder to beat.

Despite its successes, Einstein’s robust theory remains mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics, the scientific understanding of the subatomic world. Testing general relativity is important because the ultimate theory of the universe must encompass both gravity and quantum mechanics.

“We expect a complete theory of gravity to be different from general relativity, but there are many ways one can modify it. We found that whatever the correct theory is, it can’t be significantly different from general relativity when it comes to black holes. We really squeezed down the space of possible modifications,” said

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Gravity causes homogeneity of the universe — ScienceDaily

The temporal evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the present, is described by Einstein’s field equations of general relativity. However, there are still a number of open questions about cosmological dynamics, whose origins lie in supposed discrepancies between theory and observation. One of these open questions is: Why is the universe in its present state so homogeneous on large scales?

From the Big Bang to the present

It is assumed that the universe was in an extreme state shortly after the Big Bang, characterized in particular by strong fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime. During the long process of expansion, the universe then evolved towards its present state, which is homogeneous and isotropic on large scales — in simple terms: the cosmos looks the same everywhere. This is inferred, among other things, from the measurement of the so-called background radiation, which appears highly uniform in every direction

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