by Arjun Mehrotra
A black hole is a point in place that has an infinite density that not even light can escape it. It is formed when a star essentially implodes on itself and creates a singularity. Black holes are also closely tied to the big bang as the universe was also created from a singularity. We cannot see black holes as there is no light near them. That is why we do not know much about them. Many people are scared of black holes because they think they will eat up the universe but scientists cannot confirm this.
On the 6th of October, 2020 three scientists were awarded a Nobel prize for their work on black holes, the all-consuming beasts that no one seems to be able to decode. You can learn a bit more about them here. Half of the Nobel prize was awarded to British cosmologist. Roger Penrose for his work on the mathematics behind black holes. The other half was awarded to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. Both of them have been working on astrophysics and understanding black holes and the big bang.
Roger Penrose worked with Stephen Hawking during the 1960s on black holes and the big bang. Roger used Einstein’s theory of relativity to prove that the formation of black holes was possible. Einstein himself did not believe that black holes exist but Penrose and Hawking found that if a black hole singularity was to exist it would have to have an event horizon, a point that, if crossed there would be turning back from.
During the 1990s Genzel and Ghez, using the Keck telescope detected a supermassive black hole about 4 million times our sun’s size, in a region of the milky way galaxy, called Sagittarius A Star. Andrea Ghez and her team found that singularities could exist and that black holes were very strong. Andrea Ghez is also the 4th woman to win a Noble prize for physics.
Black holes are definitely complex scientific topics but it is important that we learn about them more. Although not much is known about black holes we are definitely learning more as we develop our technology and maybe someday, we may uncover the mysteries of black holes once and for all.