What is the best use of scientists’ time, energy, and grant funding? Should researchers investigate the fundamental nature of the universe…or cure cancer? Or is there a way to ensure that we can do both, even if financial support is harder to get? Listen to Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, discussing these ideas and more on Science Friday with Ira Flatow.
“In 1980,” states Moti Milgrom, Member (1980–81) and Visitor (1985–86) in the School of Natural Sciences, in Nautilus, “I went on my sabbatical to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with the following hunch: If the rotational speeds are constant, then perhaps we’re looking at a new law of nature.”
Laboratory study of a macroscopic black hole is impossible with current or foreseeable technology, so the only way to test these predictions of Einstein’s theory is to find black holes in the heavens. Not surprisingly, isolated black holes are difficult to see. Not only are they black, they are also very small: a black hole with the mass of the Sun is only a few kilometers in diameter.
Topologists are fond of saying that they cannot distinguish a doughnut from a coffee mug. In the lingo, they are homeomorphic, which may be demonstrated by deforming one to the other if they were made of clay.