Often, due to the lack of instruments capable of observing foreign objects such as black holes, science is forced to work with hypotheses, mathematical models and computer simulations. Eventually, some scientists extrapolate from traditional models and imagine possibilities beyond exotic – but that does not mean that they are impossible to be real. This is the case with the new and bizarre concept of fractal black holes.
It is a hypothetical version of black holes that could exist in a universe different from ours. A team of researchers worked with a mathematical set in a category called “charged black holes” and came across some surprises related to space-time and fractal landscapes.
These charged black holes are part of one of several types of hypothetical black holes. They receive this name because they have an electrical charge (while there is another hypothetical type that has no electrical charge). Although it is a purely theoretical concept, scientists want to explore the possibilities that they exist, and try to deduce what they would be like – and they always do it based on a lot of mathematics, nothing is merely random or simply imagined.
The charged black holes would be located in a universe of a peculiar shape, called anti-de Sitter, or hyperbolic space, which has a constant negative geometric curvature. Something more or less like a horse saddle.
In our universe there is nothing like an anti-de Sitter space, since it is opposed to the shape of space-time demonstrated by Einstein. But this type of space could exist in a universe parallel to ours, for example. It would have a negative cosmological constant and that would have some implications for astrophysics there. For example, as our universe expands, in this other anti-de Sitter universe, matter would tend to condense into a black hole.
We don’t know if these universes really exist, but if they exist, these charged black holes would be quite exotic and have intricate structures, with possibilities that delighted the minds of this team of scientists. So much so that they worked with the necessary calculations to learn more about these hypothetical objects. They found some curiosities, such as the fact that they would have many similarities to rotating black holes, a type that exists in our universe. And it turned out to be useful in helping to understand these objects in our real cosmos.
But it didn’t stop there. The researchers found that when these charged black holes become relatively cold, they create a “haze” of quantum fields around their surfaces. This fog is then pulled inward by the immense gravity of the black hole, but it is also pushed outward by the electrical repulsion force of the same black hole. This fog of quantum fields would be a superconductor, something that in our universe can transmit electrical current without any resistance. Calculating how superconductors act in these exotic scenarios also helps to understand mathematical structures so that it is useful in real applications, in our world.
So this team of scientists decided to go deeper into this world of superconductivity to find out what lies beneath the surface of these charged black holes – from now on we will call them superconducting black holes. According to the study, the physics inside these black holes may be different. In fact, if we enter one of them, the effects on our bodies would differ from the effects we would suffer if we entered a real black hole in our universe.
For example, in normal black holes in our universe, our body would suffer something called “spaghetti”, if we entered the horizon of events in these objects. It is a process in which we would stretch as space-time itself is distorted and our sense of time no longer makes sense. In superconducting black holes, however, there would be no spaghetti. Unfortunately, however, within that superconducting black hole, physics itself also destroys itself, taking away any trace of what might be there.
There are other interesting implications for a superconducting black hole, such as the possibility that their interiors are a little foamy. Normally, the particles of the superconductors in our real universe can oscillate, creating waves that move back and forth. So it may be that in the superconducting black holes space itself vibrates back and forth. If you fall into one of them, it will be a rather weird experience in a slightly foamy place that sways in waves from side to side.
But what about the fractals mentioned at the beginning? Well, is that if we go further into these superconducting black holes, we can come across an expanding universe. That’s right, a miniature universe expanding into the black hole – just like a fractal. But unlike the expansion of our real cosmos, where everything is constant and symmetrical, it would be a bizarre place where space can stretch and deform at different rates in different directions.
Still similar to fractal mathematics, these superconducting black holes could, depending on the temperature, trigger a new round of wave vibrations, which would then create a new cycle of space expansion, which in turn triggers a new round of vibrations, which then create a new expansion cycle, and … so on, on smaller and smaller and potentially infinite scales. If you’ve seen a fractal, you’ll understand the concept. If not, here it is:
So, in a nutshell, in this anti-de Sitter universe, where the fabric of space forms opposite to ours, black holes would be charged and supercoductive types, and within them there could be a way to appreciate a fractal of universes in bizarre expansions and distorted, repeating themselves infinitely – or almost, since in the center of this fractal, we would find the singularity, the tiny and dense point where each piece of matter that has already fallen into the black hole would be. There, it is no longer possible to calculate what could happen, as all physics disintegrates.
The new study was published by the researchers on arXiv and is awaiting peer review.
Did you like this article?
Subscribe your email to Canaltech to receive daily updates with the latest news from the world of technology.