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Einstein was wrong about black holes being made of light

Einstein was wrong about black holes being made of light

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity predicts that a black hole can arise from nothing but light. But if quantum effects are taken into account, this turns out to be not possible.

It appears that it is not possible to create black holes from light alone. This should be possible if we follow Albert Einstein’s theories to the letter. After all, they state that energy and mass are the same thing, a relationship summed up by the famous formula E = mc2. If so, it would be possible to create a region of light so dense that it collapses to form a black hole, just as happens with mass. Quantum effects now appear to have put an end to this in the case of light.


The idea that a black hole could be created by the collapse of light has been around for decades. Such a black hole is known as a “kugelblitz.” Physicists have debated whether these objects could be created in the laboratory, and even whether they could be used to power spaceships.

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physical Eduardo Martin Martinez from the University of Waterloo in Canada and his colleagues are now throwing a spanner in the works. They argue that if quantum effects were taken into account, these strange objects could not have arisen. “Under the current conditions of our universe, it is impossible to produce kugelblitz naturally or artificially, even using ultra-powerful lasers that do not yet exist,” says Martín Martinez. They sum up their idea in one Scientific material Which have appeared on the Internet, but have not yet been tested by independent experts.

Schwinger effect

The quantum phenomenon causing the havoc is called the Schwinger effect. This effect allows matter to spontaneously arise in a strong electromagnetic field. This happens, for example, when you generate a strong field using an intense light beam and then focus it into a small area. Pairs of electrons and positrons will then spontaneously appear in this field. These particles steal some energy from the electromagnetic field they came out of.

The researchers discovered that the large concentration of light required to create a Kugel attack would produce an enormous amount of electrons and positrons. These particles will move away from the place where they were formed, thus preventing the formation of a black hole there. “This effect hinders black hole formation even earlier [het] “It’s close to the black hole,” says the team member. Jose Polo Gomez.

The researchers discovered that this rule applies to all types of black holes: everything with a radius between 100,000 km and 10 km.-29 meters, trillions of times smaller than a proton. “The range of unlikely length scales is enormous, so I think it covers all realistic scenarios, at least according to our current understanding of physics,” says the black hole expert. Elizabeth Winstanley From the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. She did not participate in the investigation.

Primordial holes

The only possible exception comes from the early universe, when spacetime behaved differently than it does today. The differences between spacetime then and now allow the creation of kugelblitz.

The research also does not rule out the possibility that the black hole is formed from matter and then continues to grow by capturing light. “Once there’s a black hole, you can definitely throw light into it,” says Martín Martinez. But once it passes the event horizon of the black hole, it is no longer light. General relativity states that there is no way to know what a black hole is made of.

This also means that Kugelblitz from the early universe would look just like a regular black hole. So we have no way to distinguish between the two.

“The equations of general relativity have many strange solutions,” says Winstanley. ‘[Dit soort onderzoek] It is important to identify realistic solutions and solutions that we can rule out because they cannot arise in the real universe.

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