Black holes: matter doesn’t matter

Almost one century ago, Einstein, the father of Modern Physics, predicted something called gravitational waves. These are oscillations in space-time, created by the intrinsic movement of all stars and planets, which propagate as fast as light.

Although theoretically an old statement, it has been very hard to prove their existence via direct methodology. As usual, experimental physics has a hard time trying to complement theoretical physics. In the last decade, the scientific community has worked to find a breakthrough with these waves, but nothing was found.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in association with the universities of Mississippi and Princeton tested the hypothesis that if two motile objects collide at different velocities, they result in a black hole.

Interestingly, neither the nature of the object nor its initial velocity are important. It appears to be the same whether it is two cars colliding or two stars.

The starting point was to hit two black holes moving closely to the light velocity. The end result was the absorption of half of the initial kinetic energy and a unique black hole with bigger dimensions, but less energy. So, where does the energy go?

During the experiments, they also found that when the collision is not frontal, gravitational waves are created and readily absorbed by the newly formed black hole.

These findings may have huge consequences to the contemporary physics scenario. Although it nowadays sits under two slightly controversial theories: the general theory of relativity and the quantum mechanics, it is not entirely understood how they connect. The “matter doesn’t matter” hypothesis may bring some light to the issue.