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Is black hole collapse stopped by zero point motion?

  1. Apr 9, 2010 #1
    The collapse of a black hole could be viewed as an object falling downward in its own gravitational potential well. As the object falls inward, its spatial size shrinks. My question is, what happens when the spatial dimensions of the collapsing object are on the order of the its quantum wavelength? Of course the object has mass many times that of our sun, so its quantum wavelength is very very small, but it is finite, so this limit should be reached at some finite proper time.

    In quantum mechanics we learn that a particle in a potential well cannot fall below a certain energy level, its ground state. Naively, this would apply to the collapsing star so that it too cannot collapse below some ground state. Of course, at those extreme energies physics are still unknown, but can we already rule out this ground state effect just by extrapolating known physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2010 #2


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    I think what you've formulated is essentially an argument that a black-hole singularity isn't really a singularity, because it can't shrink below the Planck scale. This is probably true, but we don't know for sure because we don't have a theory of quantum gravity.
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