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# Black Holes

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Introduction

The goal of this talk is to motivate the existence of black holes from a physics perspective: I’m not going to derive their existence or their properties, but I’ll show you the types of tools physicists use to describe black holes mathematically and how they derive these properties. The punchline is that black holes are massive objects where all of their mass is concentrated at a single point in space: this point is what you often here called a “singularity”. They’re so massive, in fact, that they curve space and time themselves! Everything cool you’ve heard about black holes can be derived from understanding how black holes curve spacetime, so I’ll try to motivate how/why this happens. This will be our roadmap:

1. Understand the diﬀerence between ﬂat space and curved space. 2. Understand how to characterize the curvature of space. Physicists use what’s called a “metric” to describe the kind of space they’re talking about and to ﬁgure out what paths objects in that space will take from one point to another, so we’ll talk a bit about metrics. 3. Understand how measurements of time and space depend on your point of view. This is important, since the way we see black holes and how things fall into a black hole is very diﬀerent from what an object falling into a black hole actually experiences. 4. We’ll put time and space on the same footing, and learn how to draw spacetime diagrams! Spacetime can be ﬂat or curved, just like regular space can be ﬂat or curved. 5. We’ll motivate Einstein’s great discovery that the distribution of matter actually determines what the spacetime is: Matter tells spacetime how to curve. 6. Finally, we will use this fact to motivate the existence of black holes, and then talk about some black hole facts / misconceptions. 1

To get big distances. • Note that this is diﬀerent from curved space! (Get ball. you can derive the geodesics of your space. you would derive the equation for a straight line. ﬂatten out. let’s put a little d in front of each of our variables–this is a common convention. The metric tells you how to ﬁnd very small distances. it tells you how to take little distances in your space. curved space metrics are diﬀerent! A ﬂat space metric can not be made to look like a curved space metric just from a change of coordinates. Flat means that pythagorus’ theorem holds. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.2 What does ﬂat space mean? How is it diﬀerent from curved space? 1. basically you minimize the metric and derive what the shortest distance between two points is in your space. Since metrics give you lengths. Of course. if we were to do this for our ﬂat space metric. put cloth on ball. because we’re talking about two variables. (Note: the shortest distance between two points is called a ’geodesic’. 3. you just add up lots of little distances. (draw picture) 3. we all know how to ﬁnd a distance: (draw pythagorean theorem). • Why is this so useful? 1. To denote that we’re talking about small distances. draw triangle. Show Pythagorus’ theorem doesn’t hold. where we put x on the x-axis and y on the y-axis. It tells you how to get from one point to another in that space: how to take distance intervals in a space. Given a metric. Flat space also means that triangles have angles that add up to 180◦ . In this coordinate system. 3 What is a metric? • How does a physicist describe whether a space is ﬂat or not? With a metric! A metric is just a way of writing down whatever kind of space you want to talk about in some given coordinate system. 2. and voila! Our ﬂat space metric in 2-d cartesian coordinates is: ds2 = dx2 + dy 2 As advertised. The distance between points in 2-d ﬂat space is (draw picture) s 2 = x2 + y 2 2. Flat space vs. • Let’s write the ﬂat space metric. 2 . This is a two-dimensional coordinate system. Geodesics are curved lines). You are all familiar with the cartesian coordinate system.