Earlier this year no less than Stephen Hawking declared that black holes might not really exist.
Now researchers claim we might actually be living inside one.
Science, ladies and gentlemen.
National Geographic reports in its latest issue ('Star Eater') on the theory - which is actually several years old at this point - that the "seed" of the pre-big bang universe, IE an incredibly small dense point of matter, was formed inside a black hole.
The argument, made by Nikodem Poplawski at the University of New Haven, and others, is that this tightly packed, protected 'seed' is exactly the sort of thing we might expect to be formed inside the black (or grey…) holes we see in our own universe.
Black holes are formed when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse under their own weight, gradually pulling in surrounding matter in a severe maelstrom of gravity, heat and pressure.
But while Einstein predicted the centre of this phenomenon would be infinitely dense and small, scientists argue that this form of 'infinity' isn't typically found in nature. Instead, something small, but finite, might be there instead. And this small seed, weighing as much or more as a billion stars, has the potential under the right conditions to combust, expanding rapidly in a 'bang' which could literally turn into another universe and provide a (one-way) door into another reality.
And in extrapolating out this idea, it's possible to see how we might be still living inside one of these very black holes. If our universe was created by a superdense 'seed', we would experience everything we see from within its core - but with no possibility of ever escaping back down the rabbit hole.
The idea is speculative - like much of cosmology - but also has real groundings in observed science. It's worth heading over to National Geographic for a fuller description of its implications, or picking up the excellent new issue to read about it in even more detail.
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