How To Split Black Holes

By Johannes Koelman | December 8th 2012 08:17 AM

Ask a physicist how to split a black hole, and you will receive the reply “That’s impossible”. Ask for further clarification, and you will get a lecture on black hole thermodynamics.

The argument against the splitting of a black hole is elegant in its simplicity. It is based on a geometrical interpretation of black hole thermodynamic properties such as black hole energy and black hole entropy. The reasoning is most straightforward for Schwarzschild black holes. From perspective of a stationary external observer these are nothing more than spherically-shaped glowing gravitational horizons. Whatever is behind these horizons, it is no part of his/her observable universe. As is well-known, all thermodynamic properties of the black hole can be expressed in terms of horizon parameters. The total energy content of a black hole can be identified with the horizon circumference, and the total entropy with the horizon’s area. This means that in terms of black hole horizons, the first law of thermodynamics (energy conservation) manifests itself as conservation of circumference, and the second law (entropy non-decrease) as non-decrease of surface area.

Read more: How To Split Black Holes — Science 2.0.

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