4 mars 2016

Si vous tombiez dans un trou noir

Ce qui attend une personne qui tombe dans un trou noir est pour le moins... disons... inattendu!

Préparez-vous à être estomaqué!

Extrait de l'article de la BBC:

If you fell into a black hole, you might expect to die instantly. But in fact your fate would be far stranger than that

(...) The instant you entered the black hole, reality would split in two. In one, you would be instantly incinerated, and in the other you would plunge on into the black hole utterly unharmed.

A black hole is a place where the laws of physics as we know them break down.

(...) So what happens if you accidentally fall into one of these cosmic aberrations? Let's start by asking your space companion — we'll call her Anne — who watches in horror as you plunge toward the black hole, while she remains safely outside. From where she's floating, things are about to get weird.

As you accelerate toward the event horizon, Anne sees you stretch and contort, as if she were viewing you through a giant magnifying glass. What's more, the closer you get to the horizon the more you appear to move in slow motion.

You can't shout to her, as there's no air in space, but you might try flashing her a Morse message with the light on your iPhone (there's an app for that). However, your words reach her ever more slowly, the light waves stretching to increasingly lower and redder frequencies: "Alright, a l r i g h t,   a   l    r     i…"

When you reach the horizon, Anne sees you freeze, like someone has hit the pause button. You remain plastered there, motionless, stretched across the surface of the horizon as a growing heat begins to engulf you.

According to Anne, you are slowly obliterated by the stretching of space, the stopping of time and the fires of Hawking radiation. Before you ever cross over into the black hole's darkness, you're reduced to ash.

But before we plan your funeral, let's forget about Anne and view this gruesome scene from your point of view. Now, something even stranger happens: nothing.

You sail straight into nature's most ominous destination without so much as a bump or a jiggle – and certainly no stretching, slowing or scalding radiation. That's because you're in freefall, and therefore you feel no gravity: something Einstein called his "happiest thought".

(...) At this point you might want to stop and ask yourself a pressing question: What the hell is wrong with Anne? If you're chilling inside the black hole, surrounded by nothing weirder than empty space, why is she insisting that you've been burned to a crisp by radiation outside the horizon? Is she hallucinating?

Actually, Anne is being perfectly reasonable. From her point of view, you really have been burned to a crisp at the horizon. It's not an illusion. She could even collect your ashes and send them back to your loved ones.

In fact, the laws of nature require that you remain outside the black hole as seen from Anne's perspective. That's because quantum physics demands that information can never be lost. Every bit of information that accounts for your existence has to stay on the outside of the horizon, lest Anne's laws of physics be broken.

On the other hand, the laws of physics also require that you sail through the horizon without encountering hot particles or anything out of the ordinary. Otherwise you'd be in violation of Einstein's happiest thought, and his theory of general relativity.

So the laws of physics require that you be both outside the black hole in a pile of ashes and inside the black hole alive and well. Last but not least, there's a third law of physics that says information can't be cloned. You have to be in two places, but there can only be one copy of you.

Somehow, the laws of physics point us towards a conclusion that seems rather nonsensical. Physicists call this infuriating conundrum the black hole information paradox. Luckily, in the 1990s they found a way to resolve it.

Leonard Susskind realized that there is no paradox, because no one person ever sees your clone. Anne only sees one copy of you. You only see one copy of you. You and Anne can never compare notes. And there's no third observer who can see both inside and outside a black hole simultaneously. So, no laws of physics are broken.

Unless, that is, you demand to know which story is really true. Are you really dead or are you really alive?

The great secret that black holes have revealed to us is that there is no really. Reality depends on whom you ask. There's Anne's really and there's your really. End of story.

En fait, ça ne s'arrête pas ici du tout. Mais la suite est tellement bizarre, que je vous laisse aller la découvrir par vous-mêmes si vous le souhaitez.