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Mathematicians Find an Infinity of Possible Black Hole Shapes - Quanta Magazine

Mathematicians Find an Infinity of Possible Black Hole Shapes - Quanta Magazine

Mathematicians Find an Infinity of Possible Black Hole Shapes - Quanta Magazine
Jan 24, 2023 1 min, 6 secs

The paper demonstrates that Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity can produce a great variety of exotic-looking, higher-dimensional black holes.

But if we were to somehow detect such oddly shaped black holes — perhaps as the microscopic products of collisions at a particle collider — “that would automatically show that our universe is higher-dimensional,” said Marcus Khuri, a geometer at Stony Brook University and co-author of the new work along with Jordan Rainone, a recent Stony Brook math Ph.D. “So it’s now a matter of waiting to see if our experiments can detect any.”

Learning about that result gave hope to Rainone, a topologist, who said, “Our universe would be a boring place if every planet, star and black hole resembled a ball.”

Included among the allowable shapes: the familiar sphere, the previously demonstrated ring, and a broad class of objects called lens spaces.

However, Khuri and Rainone needed a somewhat different kind of matter field — one that consists of particles associated with higher dimensions — to preserve the shape of their black holes and prevent defects or irregularities that would compromise their result.

If an accelerator-produced black hole could be detected during its brief, fraction-of-a-second lifetime and observed to have nonspherical topology, Khuri said, that would be evidence that our universe has more than three dimensions of space and one of time.

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