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Confusion about quantum foam, quantum gravity and singularities

  1. Mar 15, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    I've just finished reading a book about Black holes (Black holes & time warps, by Kip Thorne) and there's something in particular I'm confused about.

    One chapter talks about what can possibly be inside the singularity, specifically what would happen to an astronaut as he falls towards a black hole singularity; now I know this topic can never be completely proven however the author lists two possible theories:

    1. As the astronaut reaches the singularity, the tidal forces grow infinitely strong and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms from which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed - and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite, space-time ceases to exist.

    2. Quantum gravity prevents the above from happening, and instead ruptures the unification of space and time into space-time. It unglues space and time from each other and then destroys time as a concept and destroys the definiteness of space. Space, the sole remaining remnant of what was once a unified space-time, becomes a random, probabilistic froth, like soapsuds. This random, probabilistic froth, is the thing of which the singularity is made.

    Now when people reference this "froth/foam" are they referring to the virtual particles popping in and out of existence at the Planck length? Wouldn't they just appear as random dots?

    My understanding is the singularity is no longer part of our universe, it is a hole to "hyperspace" - does this mean that these quantum fluctuations happen both in our space-time universe and whatever exists outside it (in the singularity)?

    Apologies if this doesn't make any sense or I'm way off, I'm not technical in the matter, just enjoy reading about it.
  2. jcsd
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