Credit: Coyne and Cheng

Is Everything Made of Mini Black Holes?

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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In 1971 physicist Stephen Hawking suggested that there might be “mini” black holes all around us that were created by the Big Bang. The violence of the rapid expansion following the beginning of the Universe could have squeezed concentrations of matter to form miniscule black holes, so small they can’t even be seen in a regular microscope. But what if these mini black holes were everywhere, and in fact, what if they make up the fabric of the universe? A new paper from two researchers in California proposes this idea.

Black holes are regions of space where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape, and are usually thought of as large areas of space, such as the supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies. No observational evidence of mini-black holes exists but, in principle, they could be present throughout the Universe.

Since black holes have gravity, they also have mass. But with mini black holes, the gravity would be weak. However, many physicists have assumed that even on the tiniest scale, the Planck scale, gravity regains its strength.

Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are aimed at detecting mini black holes, but suffer from not knowing exactly how a reduced-Planck-mass black hole would behave, say Donald Coyne from UC Santa Cruz (now deceased) and D. C. Cheng from the Almaden Research Center near San Jose.

String theory also proposes that gravity plays a stronger role in higher dimensional space, but it is only in our four dimensional space that gravity appears weak.

Since these dimensions become important only on the Planck scale, it’s at that level that gravity re-asserts itself. And if that’s the case, then mini-black holes become a possibility, say the two researchers.

They looked at what properties black holes might have at such a small scale, and determined they could be quite varied.

Black holes lose energy and shrink in size as they do so, eventually vanishing, or evaporating. But this is a very slow process and only the smallest back holes will have had time to significantly evaporate over the enter 14 billion year history of the universe.

The quantization of space on this level means that mini-black holes could turn up at all kinds of energy levels. They predict the existence of huge numbers of black hole particles at different energy levels. And these black holes might be so common that perhaps “All particles may be varying forms of stabilized black holes.”

“At first glance the scenario … seems bizarre, but it is not,” Coyne and Cheng write. “This is exactly what would be expected if an evaporating black hole leaves a remnant consistent with quantum mechanics… This would put a whole new light on the process of evaporation of large black holes, which might then appear no different in principle from the correlated decays of elementary particles.”

They say their research need more experimentation. This may come from the LHC, which could begin to probe the energies at which these kinds of black holes will be produced.

Original paper.

Source: Technology Review


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Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
May 15, 2009 11:18 AM

All particles may be varying forms of stabilized black holes.

Nearly ten years ago now, I had read of a similar hypothesis:
World’s Top Scientists Ponder: What If The Whole Universe Is, Like, One Huge Atom?

Feenixx
Member
May 15, 2009 4:49 AM

“All particles may be varying forms of stabilized black holes.”

Utterly fascinating speculation…

Notions come to my mind of an incredibly high force of gravity at particle scale, but we can never “see” it… because of 7 extra (tiny, curled up) dimensions of space at those scales…
…and so I boldly hypothesize that the inverse square fall-off principle becomes an inverse 9th power principle…
… hence those extra dimensions “swallow” most of this gravity before it continues to propagate in the space we can observe, at the familiar inverse square fall-off…

well, probably not, but a very entertaining notion
wink

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
May 15, 2009 5:19 AM

Indeed!

And thinking about the fact that down to dimensions of 10^-18m the electron is still a point… hm. If an electron is smaller than (if I remember correctly) 10-34m it would be a black hole. Since it is theoretically possible that black holes are charged – well, why not?
The same thing could hold concerning quarks, since they are supposed to be points, too.

Amazing idea, indeed wink

Dominion
Member
May 15, 2009 5:24 AM

dark matter? dark energy?

Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
May 15, 2009 8:49 AM

Wasn’t this proposed a while bacK? I was think about this very thing a couple of days ago.

I remember reading somewhere that an electron could basically be thought of as a black hole, or it had properties similar to a black hole (charge, spin). I suppose it could work for other particles too.

I also remember Quantum Loop Theory basically saying that all particles are tiny-twisty-loops in the fabric of space-time.

Could they all be the same?

If so, how does Hawking Radiation come into play? Shouldn’t these mini-black holes evaporate?

James
Member
James
May 15, 2009 11:21 AM

As the above two posters suggest if these black holes exist they could be dark energy and their evaporation, in aggregate, across the universe fuels the unexplained increase in expansion that suddenly came about a few billions of years ago.

Individually they are unnoticed but hundreds of thousands of trillions (insert suitably large number) evaporating every x period of time serves to lessen the overall effect of gravity on cosmic scales.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
James

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
May 15, 2009 12:57 PM
Ordinarily I wouldn’t try to review a scientific article in a field where I’m a layman, but as the post (or press release) is presented to laymen I feel I can. This paper have qualities that I both enjoy and detest. On the positive side it presents an interesting semiclassical model of varying gravitational strength, and concludes with testable predictions. I’m not even knowledgeable about ordinary quantization of fields (as in QFT) and even less of black hole quantization of area, but I have to assume the later is a property of a quantified system analogous to a field. So I have to assume further that the quantization of entropy (available energy states) as proposed by the authors… Read more »
davesmith_au
Member
May 16, 2009 2:03 AM

What utter piffle…

Cheers, Dave.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
May 16, 2009 5:04 AM

I have not read the full paper yet. It is a long one. There are clearly some questions that could be raised. It would seem to me that the black holes here need some type of BPS charge or quantum number. In scanning through this the authors do not seem to employ this.

The black hole solution with some charge can be extended at the extremal limit to an AdS spacetime. So it might be fair to say that the universe is ultimately a black hole in some quantum gravity sense.

Lawrence B. Crowell

solrey
Member
May 16, 2009 7:49 AM

davesmith_au,
Utter piffle is a good description of this sheer tripe.

Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 16, 2009 8:27 AM

@davesmith_au, solrey: why?

Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 16, 2009 10:34 AM

“davesmith_au”, the name rang a bell, though it took me a little while to track down what rang …

There is (or was) a BAUT Forum member with that handle who posted in a thread in the ATM section (Against The Mainstream), just one post, as far as I could see. The post’s title is “No science here…”, and is dated “15-October-2008, 12:14 PM”.

If the two davesmith_au’s are the same, then reading “What utter piffle…” in conjunction with the BAUT Forum post is … most interesting (shall we say).

zingbot
Member
zingbot
May 16, 2009 9:30 PM
I’ve heard there are Mini Zebra fish that are so small they can’t be seen by the naked eye or even the worlds most powerful microscope. They do have mass, but this mass is so small that the leading zeros in the decimal places cause a rounding error that leads to zero. However, the mini Zebra fish are there swimming around you. Some are on your arm, some are in your hair. Some are dancing up and down on your dash board when you go to work. Some are in the sky and so on. Each has it’s own special name and will respond when called. But no one knows their names are even notices that they are… Read more »
mgmirkin
Member
May 17, 2009 6:54 PM

“No observational evidence of mini-black holes exists but, in principle, they could be present throughout the Universe.”

That bears repeating “no observational evidence exists” … but let’s speculate anyway!

Have the wildest of speculations truly replaced empirical observations in science?

solrey
Member
May 17, 2009 7:56 PM
From the paper. Yep, I suffered through that BS. “But for very small m, one sees that g ? 1/ m2 and thus, using Eq. (4.4), m ? ?1/t: the black hole will never evaporate and can reach arbitrarily small masses. g(t) grows quadratically with time, never reaching a pole: it is dynamically suppressing its own infinities. Temperature T ? 1/t as well in this limit: the black hole cools off!” WOW! “It may come as a surprise to some that the quantization procedure for black holes has been a cottage industry for about thirty years, beginning with Bekenstein’s use of “adiabatic invariants” to justify the quantization of black hole horizon area [37]. A wide range of theoretical… Read more »
Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 18, 2009 1:31 AM

@mgmirkin: I’m not sure how you decided that this paper is, or represents, “the wildest of speculations”, but your comment about doing away with empirical observations is quite misplaced, as this snippet from the abstract of the paper clearly shows:

predictions for possible experimental confirmation of the scenario at LHC are made

Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 18, 2009 1:43 AM
@solrey: The problem is the futile attempt to make gravity the strongest force in the universe while ignoring electro-magnetic forces. You omitted to mention the strong (nuclear) force, which is, as I’m sure you know far, far, far, far stronger than “electro-magnetic forces”. Wouldn’t your critique of the paper have been more credible if you’d referenced the strong force? Also, it’s been a while since Salam, Glashow, and Weinberg gave us the unification of electromagnetism and the weak force; in the physical regime of the Coyne and Cheng paper, don’t you think you should be referring to the electroweak force? In any case, how do you propose physicists go about researching the question of whether there is a… Read more »
Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 18, 2009 6:05 AM

@solrey: it would seem that your comment on the paper is little more than an argument from personal incredulity, but maybe I missed something?

Would you mind re-stating what you see as BS in this paper, from the perspective of science?

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
May 18, 2009 10:07 AM
@ solrey The problem is the futile attempt to make gravity the strongest force in the universe while ignoring electro-magnetic forces. I don’t think that they are doing that. Proof it, quote the passage of the paper where they explicitly state that gravity is stronger than any other force. I wonder if you can do that, otherwise it would be pure speculation without any basis! Btw: There is a reason to speculate about such things as elemantary particles being “stable black holes”. Real elemantary particles (like quarks or electrons) are points. Theory cannot treat them another way – otherwise they should have a “substructure” and wouldn’t be elemantary any more. But also experiments shows them to be points… Read more »
Nereid
Member
Nereid
May 18, 2009 10:51 AM
@DrFlimmer: the paper does do what solrey claims … but only in physical regimes far, far, far, far beyond what has been observed to date (although the authors suggest that there may be ~LHC regime observables); it’s the scope of applicability that solrey seems to have misunderstood. One somewhat inaccurate way to think of this the energy at which the various forces become equal, or at which the symmetry of the unified force becomes broken. The electroweak unification is, in one respect, a recognition that there is but one force, at a sufficiently high energy, which manifests as two separate ones at lower energies (the symmetry is broken). There’s no scientific doubt about this (@any reader: ask if… Read more »
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