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Black holes, mathematics, and relativity physics

By       Message Jim Arnold     Permalink    (# of views)   28 comments

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The following is considered unacceptable by physics journals. I trust that readers of OpEdNews conversant with the physics will be willing to consider, and conceivably refute my position:

Black-hole theory seems to be suffering from an absorption in mathematics at the expense of physics, especially relativistic physics. When for example it is said that an in-falling body will appear to "freeze" (stop) at an event horizon (originally by Oppenheimer & Snyder [1]) there is a misconception: The radiation from such an object will have already fallen far below the visible spectrum of an observer stationed at a safe distance, and the quantity of radiation emitted will approach zero as its wavelengths approach infinity. What will be seen of a falling object still relatively high above the horizon is already a fading and flickering -- then nothing. And to be clear, so long as an object is visible, its acceleration will be observed to increase (it is falling in an intense gravitational field!) as its clock and emissions slow. There is nothing in relativity theory to suggest that an object will appear to an observer to be accelerating slower the more it actually accelerates. And there is nothing in relativity theory to suggest that observed motion in space and observed motion in time are anything but inversely related.

What is curiously under-remarked about light emitted near an event horizon is that its speed in relation to a distant observer will be close to zero. This would seem to constitute an important addition to the one commonly recognized exception to the constancy of light-speed, that it can be reduced when passing through various media: Light speed also varies with elevation in a gravitational field. Such variation is not relative in the same sense as uniform motion, whereby observers will mutually measure each other's clock to go more slowly. In a gravitational field, elevation effects are relational, not relative: Observers will measure clocks and light-speeds at lower elevations to be slower, and at higher elevations to be faster; such observations are inverse and actual, not mutual and relative. (Incidentally, this suggests a universal standard time, calculable if not physically possible: the clock-speed at a location with no gravitational influence, calibrated to a place such as earth taken to be at rest. Star Date!) And to observe a higher level from below is not to watch the future roll by, as is sometimes said; just as with the iconic twins of the so-called paradox, bodies at different levels in a gravitational field merely age at different rates.

A related misconception about the supposed "freezing" effect is the idea that light emitted just above an event horizon will take a near-eternity to reach an observer stationed at a safe elevation. Very little light will be emitted by an in-falling object near the horizon due to its infinitesimal clock-speed, and any that is emitted will most likely occur at some significant distance above the horizon, and it will accelerate (relationally) as it elevates, to impinge on an observer at c in a finite time-frame.

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Regarding black holes themselves, it is thought that they have a material or quasi-material core (a "singularity") and a surrounding region out to the event horizon consisting of captured light and incidental in-falling matter, but otherwise vacant. And the conditions just inside the horizon are generally thought to be less than catastrophic to matter. Some say an astronaut might initially not even realize that she has crossed the horizon (Poisson & Israel [2]).

But the event horizon and its vicinity have not been adequately considered in conventional math-focused interpretations. The tidal effects that afflict matter shortly before crossing the horizon (an elevation with conditions so severe that light is rendered almost motionless going up) will already be extreme -- just as extreme for bodies going down as for those going up. The gradient of field-strength between the smallest differentials would rip atoms apart. Matter would be accelerating at c upon reaching the horizon, and the smallest particle, if it could somehow endure as matter, would have infinite mass falling on anything below. So it is utterly implausible that matter could prevail in such conditions; it would have to be transformed, annihilated, and its rest mass converted to energy at the crossing of an event horizon. Realistically, physically-not-mathematically, there can be no material core, no singularity in a black hole, just a nebulous sphere of light compressed to the limit of photon density.

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In the extremes of black-hole physics, as in no other physical investigation, mathematical equations can be completely undone by conceptual inequities. Let the mathematicians calculate upon a new physical assumption: A black hole is a quenching whole of whiteness.

References

[1] J. R. Oppenheimer and H. Snyder, Phys. Rev. 56, 455 (1939).

[2] E. Poisson and W. Israel, Phys. Rev. D 41, 1796 (1990).

 

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A former visitant of UC Santa Cruz, former union boilermaker, ex-Marine, Vietnam vet, anti-war activist, dilettante in science with an earth-shaking theory on the nature of light (which no one will consider), philosopher in the tradition of Schelling, Hegel, Merleau-Ponty, Marx, and Fromm (sigh, no one listens to me on that either), author of a book on wine clubs (ahem), and cast-off programmer of ancient computer languages. I've recently had two physics articles published in an obscure but earnest Central European journal (European Scientific Journal http://www.eujournal.org/index.php/esj) but my main interests remain politics and philosophy.



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5 people are discussing this page, with 28 comments


Jim Arnold

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I think there is no better example of how the absorption in mathematics has subverted physics than in the theory of black holes. I know, this is heresy. Please be kind.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 at 3:18:11 AM

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Josh Mitteldorf

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Jim, it's been nearly half a century since I took a GR course, as measured in my co-moving coordinate frame. But what I remember comports with what you're saying in the first part of this article. The notion of simultaneity loses its meaning, even in special relativity, so some statements about what's happening inside while something else is happening outside are neither true nor false.

What you say about information not getting out from near the horizon is true, I think. This means that we never get to see a black hole that has formed--only one that is forming. News that the collapse has proceeded beyond the event horizon has not reached us, so in some sense "it has not happened". There are no extant black holes in our universe, only objects that are falling in that direction but--hey, who knows--they might yet be rescued from falling below the event horizon, because we haven't actually seen them get to the event horizon yet. (The exception is "primordial black holes" that came out of the Big Bang "already black". We don't know if there are any such objects, but I remember writing speculating about evidence that they might exist as a grad student, and giving a presentation in a seminar.)

All of the objects that are listed in star catalogs as "black holes" and are studied and modeled and talked about as "black holes" are actually dynamic objects, still falling in on themselves, and they haven't "yet" formed their event horizons and become black holes, and "won't" do so over the course of the next billions and trillions of years. This is true only with respect to the coordinate assignment most commonly used, which corresponds to our flat cartesian coordinates at great distance from the hole. But it is a statement about simultaneity at different locations, so it does not have absolute meaning, and I believe it is false in the Kruskal metric.

I got lost at the end of your article, and don't understand what you're saying.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 at 1:23:13 PM

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Jerry Lobdill

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Reply to Josh Mitteldorf:   New Content

I got lost at the beginning of the article. This subject makes me more grateful that I dropped out of graduate school (UT-Austin, Physics 1966).

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 at 2:45:23 PM

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Reply to Jerry Lobdill:   New Content

Well that's disappointing, Jerry!

In a "nutshell", Relativity expects observed clocks to slow as observed speeds increase. Current black hole theory (based entirely on mathematics) assumes observed clocks and falling speeds both to slow when objects are falling toward a black hole.

It's actually absurd to think that the speed of something falling in a gravitational field will increase (as is typical) and then somehow decrease as the field gets stronger near a black hole. There is simply no good reason to think the relativistic inverse relationship of clock-speed and falling-speed should break down.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 23, 2018 at 4:16:55 AM

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Reply to Josh Mitteldorf:   New Content

Josh, somehow my response to your comment is placed somewhere down below....

Submitted on Friday, Nov 23, 2018 at 3:58:13 AM

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Josh Mitteldorf

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Jim talks about "tidal forces". The term has a technical meaning in physics that is derived from the ocean tides, but not "tied" to them. Ocean tides happen because gravitational forces vary from one place to another. In particular, the moon's gravity is stronger on the side of the earth facing the moon and weaker on the side away from the moon, causing water to gather in both those places.


In our common experience, gravity doesn't change very much as we walk around. Gravity is measurably weaker on top of a mountain compared to sea level, but it's too small for us to feel a difference in our bodies.


Near a black hole, however, the variation of gravity becomes so large that it can overwhelm any other force. If you jump into a black hole feet first, your feet will be pulled off your body, leaving your head behind, sort of like Procrustes. Continue to fall, and the internal forces will become stronger yet, pulling the electrons off atoms, then pulling the quarks apart inside each atomic nucleus. This is what the equations say, but we have no experimental data to back them up, because the gravitational forces we can work with in laboratories are about a billion billion billion times weaker than this.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 at 4:18:36 PM

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Zef Rose

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This is physics: A completely arbitrary method of understanding the universe to the absolute exclusion of consciousness. There is amazing technology inside the mind and heart that is smart enough to make blood and sinew accomplish work in the world.

It is the mind, absolutely undetectable by any physical means, which runs this technology, and which invented physics and math. Physics and math, however, cannot explain this technology. You can blame inadequate understanding of physics by too much math, and you may be right, because math takes the place of mind by converting it into immutable language, severed and isolated from the consciousness that is responsible for it.

It can walk right up to such subjects until it can go no further, so it will never reach any understanding of black holes (the point where matter and energy exist by rocking back and forth between one another in their Einsteinian equality).

Some things can only be perceived within our minds. Have you ever looked at your reflection in the back of a spoon? As you move the spoon closer to your eyes, at some point the image flips upside-down. But you can never see the point where it happens. You never see it flipping. But you know it does, based on the information you received before and after. This is why quantum physics cannot explain the motion of bodies in space, and Newtonian physics cannot explain black holes.

The imagination must engage. (Academicians sometimes explain this phenomenon by concluding that the brain "fills in the blanks" the way it can still read a word with missing letters.) Physics and math reject imagination, consciousness, and that is why questions of physics and math will never be answered. And they will remain in this purgatory along with all the other answers to all the questions of our world, until more people awaken to their own internal technology.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 at 5:47:39 PM

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Reply to Zef Rose:   New Content

Zef, I'm sympathetic to your point that physics is inadequate to explain consciousness. But there's no need to invoke consciousness in describing the physics of black holes.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 23, 2018 at 4:21:10 AM

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Josh, I actually side with the conventional interpretation of black holes, that they do currently exist.

When I wrote: "In the extremes of black-hole physics, as in no other physical investigation, mathematical equations can be completely undone by conceptual inequities" it was with a bit of poetic license. The standard mathematics are not equal to the physics, being based on a rather blatant misrepresentation of Relativity; instead of writing "inequalities" I wrote "inequities" to suggest that they are an affront to the physical reality.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 23, 2018 at 3:54:24 AM

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David Watts

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I don't belong in this conversation. But with all the talk of physics and mathematics and the mind and consciousness, I will invoke Occam's razor. The simplest way to tie all this together, is to understand that Einstein certainly understood physics and mathematics and he used his mind and consciousness to figure things out using thought experiments. I don't know what you guys think, but I think maybe I just figured it out.

I apologize. I should not have interrupted with nonsense.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 24, 2018 at 12:56:22 AM

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No need to apologize, David! You got all you needed.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 24, 2018 at 9:12:25 PM

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Thank you Jim. I will take back my apology. I don't have any idea what all I needed was, but I will take your word for it.

Just curious, Stephen Hawking knew a bit about black holes. How does what he thought fit into the discussion?

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 25, 2018 at 9:01:00 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

And, would you care to share your "earth-shaking theory on the nature of light?"


Wine club. Interesting. I am not home but I have several aged bottles of Bordeaux. I think one is a 1967, one is a 1975, and one is a 1982; and I think I have a couple of others. I will need to check when I get back to my place if the years are correct. Two or three years ago I opened and drank/shared a bottle of 1986. I thought it tasted great. To me, that was all that mattered...

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 25, 2018 at 9:13:43 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

David, those aged bottles are likely ruined. Drink them at once! Where do you live? I'll come over!

Light is at absolute rest. i.e., it doesn't move:

click here

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 25, 2018 at 11:47:02 PM

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I am sure you are right. The '86 was still good but the three I have left are older. The three are an '84, '76,and a '69 -- I was wrong on the year for each one. I have had them lying or maybe its laying, on their side in a cool basement. My brother who is no longer around gave them to me maybe 30 years ago. Think I was waiting for a special occaion or three.

I met my brother in Paris in 1971, the year I graduated from high school. He had been teaching english in Bordeaux. Get this, after we left Paris we continued around the world. The price of each TWA ticket was ... $199. We stayed in cheap motels. The reason the tickets were so cheap is because our father worked for United and TWA offered the fairs for employees and children of other airlines.

I am in the Denver area. I will pay for the gas or even the plane ticket if you want to swing by. We could take care of all three. If we did, I have a place you could sleep to let the Bordeaux wear off. That would be of course if they might somehow still be good. I can only hope...

Submitted on Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at 6:57:03 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

LOL

I'm a passrider for United, so could fly there for free (although it has to be standby out of SFO, which is problematic). I'm sure we'd have a great time, if only after going to a store to get younger, still drinkable wine!

Submitted on Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at 7:26:29 AM

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Well, it might work sometime for me to stop by in SFO with the three bottles. I am a passrider on UAL too -- passriding sucks anymore. I intend to visit someone on OEN who lives in Sacramento at some point. Maybe I could combine the two. Just an idea and if it would work for both of us maybe I could swing it. It would be fun to visit, especially if the wine is still good. :)

You could explain light being at rest and I could tell you of the time I saw a bunch of wavicles fly by.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at 7:52:34 AM

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That'd be great!

Gonna contact you directly about UAL....

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 at 7:21:54 PM

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Jim, your paper on light being at rest is intriguing. I started to read it but but rather quickly left me with a quizical look on my face not to mention also in my head. I have had a drink or two but not from a bottle of unopened Bordeax. I understood a bit at first but seeing how long it was I gave up because of the drink and how late it is.

One thing that I did not understand but must be simple. What is the 's' in your eqations? I thought it must be 'seconds' but ithat did not make sense.

I will read the rest tomorrow to see if I can follow along. Your first graph reminded me of a graph I saw just recently in a video I watched about relativity and why you can't go faster than the speed of light. ... This just occurred to me. If you can't go faster than light, and if you are right that light is stationary, how do I get from my front door out to the mailbox? Seems like it would take eons. I understand that may not be pertinent to your paper.

I checked a couple of comments from the artcle you posted at OEN. Scott Baker said a couple of things and you brought up a lamp in the room. Do you know why Muhammed Ali knew how quick he was? He said he could turn the light off and be in bed before it was dark. :)

Submitted on Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at 7:38:53 AM

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Put simply, mass moves in time, perpendicular to space. (That's at least implicit in standard Relativity.) To move perpendicular to 3 dimensions would be to move wavelike from one point in space to another. Because we all move more-or-less parallel to each other in time, we don't notice our wavelike motion in spacetime. And because we generally regard ourselves as motionless in spacetime, we project our wavelike motion across space to light, which (again, implicit in standard Relativity) does not move in time.

This hypothesis resolves a number of problems in physics -- most significantly, it resolves the "wave/particle paradox": When we interact with light directly, we intersect with photons as we move in time; when we observe the effects of light indirectly, we project our wavelike motion on light.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 at 7:33:03 PM

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I believe I understand that light does not move in time because at light-speed time is stationary. Is that correct? I will put more thought into 'wavelike.'

Let's be in touch about possibly meeting up sometime. Would be neat if we could.

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018 at 6:32:58 AM

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"light does not move in time because at light-speed time is stationary. Is that correct?"

Yes. And the wave-like motion of mass follows from the question: What would a motion from a point perpendicular in 3 dimension look like? It would be a 3D radiation from one point and a 3D concentration on another. It's impossible for our 3D minds to conceptualize, but it resolves the wave/particle paradox, which was once thought to be crazy, but is not accepted as "just the way it is."


Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018 at 11:01:47 PM

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Reply to Jim Arnold:   New Content

It is not obvious to me how "it resolves the wave/particle paradox." You don't have to explain it to me unless it is short and easy to do. Then, please do so. Thanks. Think I will switch back to coffee.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 at 5:59:24 AM

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Jim Arnold

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

A psychedelic may be more helpful! When moving in time we intersect with a photon in space, we experience it as a particle. When we observe photons indirectly as we move wavelike in time across space, we assume ourselves to be motionless, and project our waves on the photons.

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 at 6:51:54 AM

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David Watts

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Reply to Jim Arnold:   New Content

I have several psychedelics but am afraid to use them; they are beyond their expiration dates.

Jim, I simply cannot follow you. Very interesting though. By the way, if you understand what you said, the psychedelics are working very well for you. :)

Submitted on Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 at 10:07:21 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

I'm just high on life these days... well, and red wine

Submitted on Friday, Nov 30, 2018 at 2:17:54 AM

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David Watts

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Reply to Jim Arnold:   New Content

You get high on life and I get high on two-buck chuck red wine from Trader Joes. Its all the same. High is high.

Check out my msg to you.

Submitted on Saturday, Dec 1, 2018 at 3:48:24 AM

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Jim Arnold

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  New Content

In offline discussions it has become clear that a little mathematics is needed to clarify a confusion regarding the fall of a body toward the event horizon of a black hole.

It is common knowledge that a body falling in a gravitational field will accelerate toward its center of mass. But somehow it is widely thought among black hole theorists that in the extreme case of a fall toward a black hole the acceleration will appear to an observer to "freeze" (stop) at the event horizon.

The Lorentz Transformations deal with increases in motion limited by the speed of light (c). The transformation which gives the clock-speed (t') of the falling body in relation to that of the observer (t) is: t' = t * sqrt(1-v2), with v being the instantaneous velocity treated as proportional to c. (This treatment of v allows a simplification of the standard v2/c2, which relativists find curiously unobjectionable).

Consider two examples of gravitational accelerations that reach 10% and 90% of c, expressed in terms of a Lorentz Transformation:

At 10% of a body's acceleration to c,

t' = t * sqrt(1-0.12)

= t * sqrt(0.99)

= t * 0.995

meaning that the falling body's clock is ticking 0.995 times as fast than the observer's at that moment.

Continuing its descent, when the falling body's acceleration increases to 90% of c,

t' = t * sqrt(1-0.92)

= t * sqrt(0.19)

= t * 0.436

At this point the clock-speed is less than half that of the observer. At an acceleration to .99c, the falling body's clock-speed is only 14% of the observer's. When the horizon is reached, the fall accelerates to c with a clock-speed of zero. Thus, no matter how extreme the approach to a center of mass, even an approach to the event horizon of a black hole, it is only the clock-speed, not the fall, that is observed to slow.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018 at 12:24:09 PM

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