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Photon, black hole, Wikipedia quote

  1. Oct 10, 2007 #1
    I found the following in Wikipedia on the page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plank_length: [Broken]
    Question: what is the mechanism through which the interaction of a photon with an object could (even in principle) cause the object to become a "minuscule black hole"? I understand that this is a question in principle only, i.e. the required energy is far beyond any technology we can conceive today, any cosmic rays we might observe with technology like Auger, etc.

    My first thought was that the photon might accelerate the object, increasing its so-called "relativistic mass" such that it falls within its own Schwarzschild radius. But this appears to be false reasoning: http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/~dkoks/Faq/Relativity/BlackHoles/black_fast.html

    I am a layperson and don't have the skills to go about finding a better answer myself.

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2007 #2
    Im not exactly sure, but I think this would be similar to what they do in particle accelerators. They localize enough energy to create particles (i.e. through collisions). A photon colliding with a particle can create new particles, based on the energy of the collision. Therefore a photon with enough energy would be able to create enough mass to form a black hole.

    Im no where near an expert on this subject, but from what Ive read I think thats the explanation for this.
  4. Oct 11, 2007 #3
  5. Oct 11, 2007 #4
    wow Ive actually never heard of this before but its an incredibly interesting result. Two supposedly separate theories give the same result to a problem, but neither can explain why they give the same result. Doesn't that almost prove that theres a more unified theory that explains both QM and GR?
  6. Oct 11, 2007 #5
    Thanks very much for the link.

    I never thought of it as two separate paths to the same result. I think of it as one path that requires elements of both theories: the need to interact in order to observe (QM) and the creation of a black hole (GR). Can you say a little more about your last post?
  7. Oct 11, 2007 #6
    well I cant remember the exact derivation, but Im pretty sure the planck length being a "minimum" measurable distance can also be derived from the heisenburg uncertainty principle. That was the 2nd path to the same result. Even though the black hole thing involves some QM, Id really classify it as a GR result.
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