Space & Astronomy
Has Hawking radiation been proven correct ?
By T.K. Randall
April 25, 2016 · 10 comments
Has proof of Hawking radiation been found in the lab ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Stephen Hawking's theory of energy being emitted by a black hole may finally earn him a Nobel Prize.
Over 40 years ago the world-renowned physicist determined that matter and energy absorbed by a black hole may not be trapped there forever because small amounts of thermal radiation are being emitted back in to space all the time - a phenomenon known as Hawking radiation.
Finding conclusive evidence of this taking place has proven particularly difficult, but now physics professor Jeff Steinhauer from Technion university in Haifa has found a creative way around the problem by creating his own miniature black hole in the laboratory using sound.
In his experiments he used super-cooled helium to simulate a black hole's event horizon and then used sound waves to replicate what happens when something is drawn in to it.
The results showed evidence of phonons - small packets of energy that make up sound waves - escaping the 'black hole' exactly as predicted by Hawking's equations.
While his findings are currently undergoing a significant degree of scrutiny, if he is correct then it would mean that Hawking has been right about black hole evaporation all along.
"The experiments are beautiful," said physicist Silke Weinfurtner. "Jeff has done an amazing job, but some of the claims he makes are open to debate. This is worth discussing."
Source: The Australian
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