Posts Tagged ‘Sheldon Cooper’

“Black holes don’t exist” – Hawking applied to climate

February 3, 2014

Stephen Hawking’s recent paper is causing much consternation as Geraint Lewis describes in  The Conversation.

But could it be that it is Hawking’s non-existent black holes – located at the bottom of the oceans – which have swallowed up all the heat predicted by climate models and which has gone missing?

Grey is the new black hole: is Stephen Hawking right?

Over the past few days, the media has cried out the recent proclamation from Stephen Hawking that black holes, a mystery of both science and science fiction, do not exist.

Such statements send social media into conniptions, and comments quickly degenerate into satirical discussions of how you should never believe anything scientists say, as they just make it up anyway.

S. W. Hawking, Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes, arXiv:1401.5761v1

Abstract: It has been suggested [1] that the resolution of the information paradox for evaporating black holes is that the holes are surrounded by firewalls, bolts of outgoing radiation that would destroy any infalling observer. Such firewalls would break the CPT invariance of quantum gravity and seem to be ruled out on other grounds. A different resolution of the paradox is proposed, namely that gravitational collapse produces apparent horizons but no event horizons behind which information is lost. This proposal is supported by ADS-CFT and is the only resolution of the paradox compatible with CPT. The collapse to form a black hole will in general be chaotic and the dual CFT on the boundary of ADS will be turbulent. Thus, like weather forecasting on Earth, information will effectively be lost, although there would be no loss of unitarity.

But while Geraint Lewis considers whether “black” is actually “grey”, I think it is no more complicated than a zero-sum game of arcane physics. Whereas zero divided by zero may be indeterminate it seems to me that zero multiplied by zero must be a double zero.

Apart from the obvious that a “black hole” – by its very naming – must therefore mean a double-dose of nothingness it is worth noting that Hawking – being the ultimate authority for Sheldon Cooper – distinguishes between “apparent horizons” which are not real “event horizons” and that he compares the chaos of collapse to a black hole to “weather forecasting”!!

Or did he mean “climate forecasts” and “climate modelling”? After all the hidden heat could well have been swallowed up into the fathomless pit of climatic black holes.

Maybe the abstract should read:

Chaotic climate and the black holes of climate modelling

It has been suggested that the resolution of the climate paradox for hidden heat is that the oceans are surrounded by firewalls, bolts of outgoing radiation that would destroy any infalling climatologist. Such firewalls would break the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and seem to be ruled out on other grounds. A different resolution of the paradox is proposed, namely that climate models produces apparent warming but the warming is a negative warming where heat is lost. This proposal is supported by the reality of the hiatus in global temperatures and is the only resolution of the paradox compatible with CS (common sense). The collapse to enter the new glacial will in general be chaotic and the approach of such a condition will be turbulent. Thus, like weather forecasting on Earth, information will effectively be lost, although there would be no loss of unitarity.

Sheldon Cooper would approve – “A rock is a clock”

January 11, 2013

This is right up Sheldon Cooper’s street (not that I understand his physics which is best explained here). A new paper suggests that the wave properties of matter (as contrasted to particle physics) could be used to measure time. If every rock is a potential clock Sheldon will have to change the rules of the “scissors, paper, rock” game. In any case, I look forward to a suitably acrimonius debate between Sheldon and Leslie Winkle on the nature of time and change.

A Clock Directly Linking Time to a Particle’s Mass, by Shau-Yu Lan, Pei-Chen Kuan, Brian Estey, Damon English, Justin M. Brown, Michael A. Hohensee and Holger Müller, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1230767

Science Daily reports:

Taking advantage of the fact that, in nature, matter can be both a particle and a wave, he (Holger Müller, assistant professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley) has discovered a way to tell time by counting the oscillations of a matter wave. A matter wave’s frequency is 10 billion times higher than that of visible light.

“A rock is a clock, so to speak,” Müller said.

In a paper appearing in the Jan. 11 issue of Science, Müller and his UC Berkeley colleagues describe how to tell time using only the matter wave of a cesium atom. He refers to his method as a Compton clock because it is based on the so-called Compton frequency of a matter wave. ……

…… While Müller’s Compton clock is still 100 million times less precise than today’s best atomic clocks, which employ aluminum ions, improvements in the technique could boost its precision to that of atomic clocks, including the cesium clocks now used to define the second, he said.

“This is a beautiful experiment and cleverly designed, but it is going to be controversial and hotly debated,” said John Close, a quantum physicist at The Australian National University in Canberra. “The question is, ‘Is the Compton frequency of atoms a clock or not a clock?’ Holger’s point is now made. It is a clock. I’ve made one, it works.”


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