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Calculations carried out by a group of theoretical physicists at the University of Queensland, lead by PhD candidate Joshua Foo, reveal unexpected quantum phenomena associated with black holes. According to Mr. Foo, “black holes are an extraordinarily unique and fascinating component of our world.”

“They come into existence when a tremendous quantity of matter is packed into an extraordinarily small area by gravity, resulting in a gravitational pull that is so strong that even light is unable to flee from its grasp. “A star in its final stages of life has the potential to set off this natural occurrence. But up until this point, we haven’t done a thorough investigation into whether or not black holes exhibit some of the strange and wondrous behaviors that are associated with quantum mechanics.”

“One of these behaviors is called superposition, and it describes the possibility that particles on a quantum scale can simultaneously exist in several states. “The most well-known example of this is known as Schrodinger’s cat, which has the ability to exist in both the living and the dead states at the same time. “But in the case of black holes, we wanted to find out if it was possible for them to have dramatically different masses at the same time. It turns out that this is the case. “Imagine that you are both tall and broad at the same time; this is a circumstance that is intuitively difficult because we are rooted in the realm of classical physics, and we are imagining that you are both broad and tall at the same time. “However, this is the truth of quantum black holes,”

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In order to find out this information, the group devised a mathematical framework that enables us to “put” a particle outside of a theoretical mass-superposed black hole. Because mass is the defining characteristic of a black hole and because it is likely that quantum black holes would naturally have mass superposition, it was of particular interest to investigate this property. Dr. Magdalena Zych, who is also a co-supervisor on the study, stated that the findings demonstrate that the conjectures posed by the pioneers of quantum physics were correct.

“Our work shows that the very early theories of Jacob Bekenstein — an American and Israeli theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the foundation of black hole thermodynamics — were on the money,” she said. “Our work shows that the very early theories of Jacob Bekenstein were on the money.”

“He hypothesized that black holes can only have masses that are of particular values, which means that their masses must fit within specified bands or ratios. For example, this is how the energy levels of an atom function. “According to the modeling we did, these superposed masses did, in fact, fall inside specific established bands or ratios. This was something that Bekenstein had expected. “The fact that we found evidence of such a trend was very unexpected given that we did not anticipate any such pattern before beginning our investigation. “What the universe is showing us is that it is always more bizarre, enigmatic, and fascinating than the majority of us could have ever imagined,” says physicist Brian Greene.

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