Dr. Andrew Hamilton
University of Colorado
Monday, October 20, 2008
Black Holes, Schrödinger Cats, and Particle Accelerators
What really happens inside black holes? As first pointed out by Poisson & Israel (1990), the classical empty (Kerr-Newman) solutions for black holes, complete with their analytic continuations through wormholes and white holes to new universe, are subject to the mass inflation instability. The instability has profound consequences for the interior structure of black holes. If the instability is suppressed by large dissipation, then the typical result is the creation of a huge amount of entropy inside the black hole, orders of magnitude more than the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy. If the second law of thermodyamics is to be saved, then locality must break down inside black holes, so that entropy does not accumulate inside black holes. In effect, what happens inside the horizon of a black hole must constitute an alternate quantum reality for each person that travels inside it. Alternatively, if dissipation is more modest, then mass inflation will occur. Mass inflation is caused by relativistic counterstreaming between ingoing and outgoing streams. The result is a particle accelerator of extraordinary power: the black hole accelerates ingoing and outgoing streams through each other to center-of-mass energies that classically far surpass the Planck energy, easily reaching conditions as extreme as those in the Big Bang. Like the Big Bang, the conditions are not only energetic but of low entropy. What does Nature do with this remarkable beast?