Lab-Grown Black Hole May Have Just Proven That Hawking Radiation Exists


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– This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. The cosmic monster’s powerful gravity distorts space around it like the mirror in a fun house, smearing the light from nearby stars. NASA/ESA/D. Coe, J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Physicist Jeff Steinhauer spent the last seven years perfecting a method to replicate black holes in a quest to find whether Hawking radiation exists. His laboratory simulation of a black hole showed entangled particles breaking apart as one falls back into the black hole and the other dissipates into “space,” consistent with Hawking’s theory.

Lab-Grown Acoustic Black Hole

A few months ago, someone started working on building a black hole in a laboratory in a quest to find out whether Hawking radiation could really exist. It took physicist Jeff Steinhauer, of the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa seven years to single-handedly perfect his method to recreate black holes. And now the results have been published in Nature Physics.

Jeff Steinhauer single-handedly imitates black holes in a lab. Credit: Nitzan Zohar, Office of the Spokesperson, Technion.
– Jeff Steinhauer single-handedly imitates black holes in a lab. Credit: Nitzan Zohar, Office of the Spokesperson, Technion.

His lab-grown black hole implies that Hawking was right.

In 1974, Hawking theorized that, contrary to the belief that a black hole would continuously and infinitely suck in everything around it, energy could in fact, seep out of it in the form of radiation. This eventually became known as “Hawking radiation.” This causes a black hole’s eventual demise, as the energy seeps out and the black hole dissipates into nothing.

Recent findings did confirm that there are some things that could escape a black hole’s supposedly inescapable pull, such as light.

And this time, Steinhauer’s lab-grown black hole simulation showed what is the closest evidence we could find (as of now) of Hawking radiation, emanating from its event horizon.

4,600 Times to be Sure

Steinhauer cooled rubidium atoms to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero to cause them to enter a quantum state of matter, behaving like clones of each other and clumping together to form a “super particle” known as Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC). This process of recreating black holes was proposed in the 1980s but nobody bothered to try building it until 2009.

Lasers are then used to force the atoms to move at supersonic speeds, causing sound waves to get trapped inside the quantum fluids.

Steinhauer ran his experiment a staggering 4,600 times, and as Hawking predicted, pairs of phonons, or packets of sound energy, appeared spontaneously at the event horizon. One of them is then expelled away and the other falls back into the black hole. This separation of the pairs is consistent with Hawking radiation’s description of entangled particles annihilating each other unless they exist in either side of a black hole’s event horizon.

– Credit: IOPscience.

While this is quite a remarkable achievement in demonstrating the feasibility of Hawking radiation, other physicists say that it’s not enough to win Hawking a Nobel prize. Some doubt that what Steinhauer generated were in fact, credible BECs, and that several replications must be made in order for this to stand strong. Physicists also say that only a direct observation from a real black hole could confirm his theory—something that would most probably not happen within Hawking’s lifetime, or possibly any of our’s.





Hawking radiation makes sure black holes do not stay forever. Please read A Brief History of Time book by Hawking to understand what is the radiation concept all about.

Black Holes: Gravity’s Relentless Pull interactive: Encyclopedia : A black hole as massive as a cruise ship would disappear in a bright flash in less than a second.

Hawking radiation

Hawking Radiation – Radiation Emitted from Black Holes – ThoughtCo

quantum effects of Hawking …

Jeff Steinhauer Atomic Physics Laboratory

One-man band: the solo physicist who models black holes in sound …

Physics – Jeff Steinhauer

Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC)

Bose-Einstein Condensation at NIST

Accelerating Scientific Discovery Through Computation and Visualization

acoustic black hole

Acoustic black holes and their applications for … – ISMA conference

Acoustic Black Hole Created in Bose-Einstein Condensate – MIT …

New Scientist

black holes

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

The Israeli research that’s bringing Stephen Hawking closer to the …



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