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spratleyj
2009-May-05, 02:11 AM
I read this article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=naked-singularities today, and was a little confused. How do these naked singularities breakdown the laws of physics? And maybe I wasn't reading carefully enough, but why do we hypothesis the existence of these objects? I understand that they could potentially explain some phenomena, but it seemed to me like that was more of a benefit than reason.

Anyways, any explanations would be great!

Oh, and I read the wiki article, but I wasn't sure how reliable it is.

DrRocket
2009-May-05, 03:25 AM
I read this article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=naked-singularities today, and was a little confused. How do these naked singularities breakdown the laws of physics? And maybe I wasn't reading carefully enough, but why do we hypothesis the existence of these objects? I understand that they could potentially explain some phenomena, but it seemed to me like that was more of a benefit than reason.

Anyways, any explanations would be great!

Oh, and I read the wiki article, but I wasn't sure how reliable it is.

I think someone is more interested in selling magazines than in being realistic. A singularity is not a physical thing and to hypothesize that they exist is stretching things more than a bit.

Yes, general relativity predicts singularities. But that is quite likely to mean that the theory is limited and that we need a better theory. That is one reason for the on-going research to find a theory that encompasses both gravity and quantum field theories. A singularity is a set on which the Einstein field equations fail to admit a solution, a set where the curvature fails to exist (infinity is not a solution).

Publius recently, in another thread, provided a link to an explanation of an alternate theory of gravity, called the Einstein-Cartan theory. That theory admits a torsional aspect to space-time that is not permitted, by assumption, in general relativity. It results in a more complicated theory, but one that is indistinguishable from general relativity in terms of what can be determined experimentally with current technology. But it does not admit the Hawking-Penrose singularities of general relativity. This is not conclusive of anything, but it another way of looking at the singularity question and this perspective also suggests that they are not real.