Black Hole Paradox

Photons are the carriers of the electromagnetic field. Each single photon is endowed with a given energy, hf, where f is the frequency of said photon. In some circumstances, the energy a photon possesses is less than the one it needs to get out of a gravitational well. So it cannot get out: a black hole forms.

Essentially, this comes from the fact a photon’s energy is finite, whereas the energy of a gravitational field can grow infinitely… Or so I, and others, used to think, until I became skeptical.

No Doubt There Are Black Holes. Question: How Come?

No Doubt There Are Black Holes. Question: How Come?

Simulated view of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of many small galaxies satellite to the giant Milky Way. This Black Hole is assumed to be alone, without accretion disk (accretion would make the Black Hole very luminous!). The ratio between the black hole Schwarzschild radius and the observer distance to it is 1:9. Of note is the gravitational lensing effect known as an Einstein ring, which produces a set of two fairly bright and large but highly distorted images of the Cloud as compared to its actual angular size.

The two arcs of circle top and bottom are actually the Large Magellanic Cloud, appearing in two places, as light goes above and below the Black Hole. The Milky Way appears above, strongly distorted by gravitational lensing. [2006 image by French physicist Alain R.]

Gravitons are the (alleged) carriers of the gravitational field. Each of them has some energy. At some point the energy gravitons individually posses ought to be less than the potential energy needed to get out of a gravitational well. (The reasoning is the same as for photons.)

But then what?

In the case of photons, what is blocked is light the electromagnetic field: light, in another word.

What is blocked when gravitons get blocked? The gravitational field itself! Thus a black hole would not just then show up as a black, “frozen star”. A Black Hole should outright violate (apparent) matter conservation. It should disconnect gravitationally.

Following this simple logic, at some point a mass collapsing gravitationally should disappear, not just visually, but gravitationally.

Yet, astronomical observations reveal hyper massive black holes at the center of galaxies. This tends to indicate that physics may happen inside a black hole that we can neither observe, nor predict.

I presented these simple ideas a very long time ago in Stanford, a private university in California, personally or in seminars, to some of the household names in the field. The reaction of my iconoclasm was close to indignant anger. It’s easy to see why. We human beings live lives which are endowed with sense only by forgetting that we make little sense individually, absent others.

A way to make sense is by giving love and care. Another, mostly the obverse, by the will to power. A scientific, or, more generally, an intellectual career (philosopher, poet, writer, etc.)marries both love and power. Science, in particular, unites a potent hierarchy akin to priesthood, with the pretense of great magic vis-à-vis the public and being a gift to humanity. Or so it is perceived by its participants. Break the spell, and scientists feel as insects instead of semi-gods, and the absurdity of their position, that of thieves in full sight, exposed to the pillory, is too much to bear.

Yet, a quick glance at the history of science shows that great errors and lack of understanding, spectacularly erroneous theories could have been detected easily, with simple observations.

I am not saying that science is always simple. Far from it. For example, the heliocentric theory could be only demonstrated to be sure with 100% certainty, only after a careful study of the phases of Venus, through increasingly powerful telescopes, during the middle of the seventeenth century. Before that, geocentrism failed the smell test (it was too contrived, and the sun was so much bigger). True. The smell test is philosophical in nature. Before that, one could only say that it was un-scientific to rule out the most likely theory (heliocentrism), just because one could not prove it, and because it enraged so many people in high places.

It cannot be any different today: the very idea of the priesthood, scientific or not, is making some humans into quasi-gods. Out of this divine hierarchy comes the certainty that metaphysics has been solved.

Thus, when I suggested that, on the face of it, ultimately, Black Holes ought to disconnect gravitationally with the rest of the universe, I undermined the principle that the greatest scientists (I will not write their names as not to enrage them further), covered as they are with great medals, after all, do not understand much more about gravitation, than we did, say, three centuries ago.

I caused these people existential pain: no, you are not the greatest of the great, having achieved greater understanding than anyone did before you, colossally dominating history and humanity, and deservedly so. What you call greatest of the greatness, seems, after all, to be just errors of the smugly ignorant.

Einstein was not that way. He said:

All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta?’ Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Most importantly, Albert Einstein also suspected that Matter could not be described by field theory:

I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

In my theory, elementary particles are not only non-local (Einstein’s Error was to suppose that they were), but they break (giving rise to Dark Matter). But I will not go as far as to say that “nothing remains”. Far from it, my dear Uncle Albert. Quantum Field Theory remains, as an approximation. Just as the epicycle theory remains, as a sort of Fourier Analysis of a periodic motion.

Some physicists will laugh at the simplicity of the preceding reasoning, and just exasperatedly utter: “that’s ridiculous” as some of the most prestigious specialists of the field did to me, decades ago. Maybe it is. Just tell me why. I am humbly waiting.

Patrice Ayme’  

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13 Responses to “Black Hole Paradox”

  1. indravaruna Says:

    The Judeo-American Empire is a blackhole.


  2. gmax Says:

    Very intriguing to a girl from Vegas. Yes, if light cannot come out, why should anything else?


  3. 1truegarcol Says:

    Gravitons have NOT been discovered; their characterizations amount to no more than mathematical theorizations, not even theories. One cannot subdue nature with logic, alone.
    Field theory works quite well in many areas of physics, but Gravity is not one of these. There is much ado about a quantized universe which would invoke quantum gravity – an intriguing concept with some physical manifestations, but still, as yet, not a complete or integrated theory.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi 1truegarcol: I agree with all the statements you made. However my little theory can sneak through. Black Hole prediction, by Laplace and some English guy, were made in the Eighteenth Century. They depended upon the assumption that light was made of particles. It was assumed these particles had energy, and the latter, being finite, would be overwhelmed by the (potentially infinite) gravitationally field.

      Fast forward to the Twentieth-First century: we know photons (whatever they are) have energy hf (f being their frequency; h Planck Constant gives the scale). They lose some of this f climbing out of a potential well. These are experimental facts; call them the set E.

      Einstein said: photons ARE localized (see my Einstein Error, the Multiverse). This Einstein Hypothesis is somewhat related to E (the photon has to be in the gravitational well, thus, to be somewhat localized there, at least some of the time). But not that much.

      To come back to the 18 C logic, how does it fit 21 C knowledge? Well, remarkably well. For my little theory, I just made similar assumptions:
      1) gravitons are (more or less) localized particles (meaning they have localized energy, and they feel the gravitational field).
      2) energy conservation holds: a graviton climbing out of a well loses energy.

      If nothing else, my little theory shows that there is something wrong at the most basic level.

      But is it, as you suggest “field theory”? Field theory solved the mystery of instantaneous action at a distance in the case of gravity, in analogy with what happened with light.
      “Quantized universe” means nothing, nor does “quantum gravity”. In case of “photons” “quantum” means energy is emitted (Planck) and received (Einstein) by discrete (math sense) packets. Graviton search has consisted in looking for gravitational energy being received by packets. It’s non obvious: after all, energy in gravitation is not obvious (I also talked about that with my frienemies). It’s stored in geodesic density (so to speak). Now that is a NON-Local concept. Graviton (presumed to be) local, energy non-local: hmmm…


      • gmax Says:

        Do you mean that, from its definition by geodesic density, a graviton CANNOT be local, so cannot be a particle, like photons are? Is that the big time contradiction?

        And because gravitons cannot be local, gravity can escape the Black Hole?


  4. ianmillerblog Says:

    Challenged to respond, I be. Sorry Patrice, but I only saw this today, despite the fact I am supposedly following you. Anyway . .

    My view is we, as yet, do not understand gravity. Gravitons have been placed into the theory so that gravity will be part of quantum field theory, which has taken on the role “engraved divinely in tablets of stone”. So, what do we actually know, as opposed to postulate? I think we can say that the statement:
    Action arising from direct electromagnetic interactions is quantised.
    is true.
    QFT seems to assume all sorts of other things are quantised, and while QED gives remarkably accurate predictions, it still, in my opinion, relies on wave-like character. Thus in Feynman’s QED, Feynman goes to all sorts of extremes to make everything particle-like, but he still has to include a phase function, which is, after all, a wave property. The constructed “virtual particles” seem then to have taken over, but by definition, they are neither observable or are able to be manipulated, so they seem to have taken a leap away from the classical structure of science.

    Now, with gravity, we have no idea whether anything associated with it is quantised. If action is quantised, then because of the weakness of the gravitational field, there should be properties that are detectable with lycopodium-sized particles, but no such effects seems to have been observed. If something else is quantised, then it will not use Planck’s constant, which is a unit of action.

    Your observation “how could a graviton get out of a black hole?” could well be a critical observation that gravitons do not exist. I still think we do not understand gravity, and I am also of the opinion that despite QFT, we are missing something regarding the electromagnetic field.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Ian: I always felt that “how could a graviton get out of a black hole?” was indeed a critical observation. I know it stayed in the minds of those who listened to my seminar in Stanford (Hawking, Penrose, Susskind, Yau, etc.), who were, and are principals of Black Hole theory.

      Propped by what you just wrote, I am going to write a little essay on the [exchange particle = force] concept… According to its HISTORICAL logic (which is generally much better than the textbook, or computational logic).

      BTW, I think the proper concept is QUANTUM WAVE MECHANICS (the “wave” being linear now, but will end up anything but…)


    • 1truegarcol Says:

      ” If action is quantised, then because of the weakness of the gravitational field, there should be properties that are detectable with lycopodium-sized particles, but no such effects seems to have been observed.”
      Brownian motion is observed with Lycopodium powder which is on the order of 30E-6 meters. Quantum effects of gravity would be ascertainable at dimensions at or near the Planck Length, <2E-30 meters.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        1truegarcol means: Brownian motion can be observed at sizes such as a thousandth of a millimeter, or larger. (30 times 10^(-6) meter, or 1/10^6 meter). Indeed.
        Planck length is more than 10^24 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times smaller than that. That’s basically when a single particle would behave like my Black Hole so strong, gravity does not escape concept.

        However, the very existence of a graviton would prove one of the tenets (axioms) of modern Quantum Field Theory (namely that there is an exchange particle which acts as carrier to the gravitational field). And that is tested in macroscopic, and even gigantic objects (VLI), or enormous bars weighting tons.


  5. 1truegarcol Says:

    Patrice: Einstein had a problem with action at a distance, but such has been formally demonstrated to be true with a number of experiments, so using a statement from Einstein supporting localization of photons does not imbue any great defense for your approach to gravitons.
    As I indicated earlier, nature, especially nature at the limits of our physical experience (quanta and black holes), does NOT submit to our concept of logic. Teasing answers from assumptions, like Aristotle, has limited value in these areas.
    I suggest you try a run at the google search: “gravitons escape black holes” and see what you make of the references.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      @ 1truegarcol: Good idea, will have a look as soon as I find time.
      BTW, Quantum Entanglement is a form of “action at a distance” the way Newton (rightly!) condemned it (in the strongest terms, for philosophical reasons). However, it is individual and internal.

      Quantum Entanglement may need to be called “being at a distance”.

      However, a particle in a field will continually relocalize inside said field, from interaction with said field (Penrose used a variation of the idea, which was invented by others). But indeed, from the energy-as-geodesic-density definition of mass-energy in gravitation theory, one can only suspect gravitons are intrinsically non-local (that’s why they will escape from *mild* Black Holes)

      I have made plenty clear I don’t believe in the localization of photons (differently from Einstein and even De Broglie).

      What we call logic is the greatest abstraction from the world we know. So no wonder the world we don’t know escapes it.


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