Sunday, November 10, 2013

Black Holes: So You *CAN* Divide By Zero

“Black holes are where God (or the Flying Spaghetti monster, maybe) divided by zero.” That has to be one of my favorite math/science jokes. Surprisingly enough, weird things do happen to our equations when you work inside the event horizon of black holes – such as dividing everything by zero. So, other than being the source of a great joke, what are black holes?

Black_Hole_in_the_universeTechnically, a black hole is a region of spacetime where, by nature of its great mass, gravity prevents anything from escaping; this includes light. The term ‘black hole’ was coined by Dr. John Archibald Wheeler during his work in general relativity on gravitational collapse. However, Dr. Wheeler wasn’t the first person to hypothesize a black hole. Einstein wasn’t the first person to think up this phenomena either (even though his equations gave rise to the possibility). Rather, in the 18th century, John Michell and Pierre-Simon Laplace were the first to consider massive objects with gravity fields so great that even light couldn’t escape

Learn more about black holes and how they were discovered at:

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