Nikodem Poplawski, a theoretical physicist at Indiana University, wrote a guest column for Phys.org arguing that in each black hole lies a universe. The theory is not a new one, but for those who aren’t physics nerds (such as myself), Poplawski lays the science out for the layperson in an easy and interesting way.
Poplawski uses the old “tornado in a tube” science experiment from elementary school. That is, two two-liter bottles fixed together at their pour spouts, with one bottle filled with dyed water. Spin the bottles fast enough and when it is flipped over, the dyed water spins in a vortex approximating a tornado. This is how Poplawski helps readers visual a black hole and the universe in its womb.
The vortex spinning in the top bottle is the black hole, with the liquid immediately surrounding it being the rest of that universe. In the bottom bottle, the liquid funneling downward and aggregating is another expanding universe.
Successful as it is, there are notable unsolved questions with the standard big bang theory, which suggests that the universe began as a seemingly impossible “singularity,” an infinitely small point containing an infinitely high concentration of matter, expanding in size to what we observe today. The theory of inflation, a super-fast expansion of space proposed in recent decades, fills in many important details, such as why slight lumps in the concentration of matter in the early universe coalesced into large celestial bodies such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
As Poplawski notes, none of this explains what triggered the Big Bang. The Judeo-Christian and Muslim religions argue that it is their God. Other religions argue that it was their god who created the universe. Science deals with observation, mathematical models and experiments. Theories come and go. Some are altered to create a better model. And this is what Poplawski and others are up to with the black hole-as-universe-creator theory. None of this of course will satisfy the faithful and creationists, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless.
“The idea that our universe is entirely contained within a black hole provides answers to these problems and many more,” Poplawski. “It eliminates the notion of physically impossible singularities in our universe. And it draws upon two central theories in physics”
Poplawski refers to Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and also Quantum Mechanics. General Relativity deals on the macro scale of the universe—how planets and suns curve space-time, thus creating gravitational pull. Take a bed sheet and place a baseball in the middle of it to visualize the curvature of space-time around our Sun. Quantum Mechanics, meanwhile, deals on the micro scale: atomic particles, sub-atomic particles, etc. The two are separate theories and it has been the goal of many 20th and 21st century physicists to unite the theories into a “unified theory.”
The Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble theory of gravity, according to Poplawski, introduced the concept of “spin” to space-time, “taking into account the effects of quantum mechanics.”
“Particles such as atoms and electrons possess spin, or the internal angular momentum that is analogous to a skater spinning on ice,” writes Poplawski. “[S]pins in particles interact with spacetime and endow it with a property called ‘torsion.’”
Poplawski describes torsion as space-time being twisted as one would twist a rod. Bending the rod would be analogous to the curvature of spacetime. Spacetime torsion “would only be significant, let alone noticeable, in the early universe or in black holes,” notes Poplawski. Torsion is a repulsive force acting opposite to gravitational pull.
This is where Poplawski introduces what might happen in a blackhole. Particles would condense because of gravitational attraction, overcoming the repulsive force of torsion. However, torsion would push back, preventing the particles from coalescing into a “point of infinite density.” It would recoil and create a baby universe.
As Poplawski writes, “If that is true, then the first matter in our universe came from somewhere else. So our own universe could be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe. Just as we cannot see what is going on inside black holes in the cosmos, any observers in the parent universe could not see what is going on in ours.”
Head over to Phys.org to read the rest of Poplawski’s guest column.