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  • Writer's pictureZiyao Lin

The Black Hole





Long, long ago, I thought a black hole was a hole.
Later, I came to know that a black hole is a sphere.
很久很久以前,我以为黑洞是个洞。
后来我才知道,黑洞是一个球。



Long, long ago,
I thought a black hole was a lonely collapsing celestial body devouring everything.
很久很久以前,
我以为黑洞是一个孤独地吞噬一切的塌缩星球。



Later, I came to know that black holes are not lonely.
7.5 billion light-years away,
two supermassive black holes are spinning and dancing.
After millions of years,
the two black holes will eventually embrace each other.
后来我才知道,黑洞并不孤独。
7.5亿光年之外,
有两个超大黑洞在旋转跳舞。
几百万年后,
两个黑洞最终会相拥一起。


According to relativity,
nothing can move faster than light.
I believe the power of a black hole lies in the fact that even light cannot escape.
If light can't run away, neither can anything else.
根据相对论,
任何物体都不可能比光运动得快。
我想黑洞的强大,就在于光线都无法溢出。
光都跑不了,其他任何物体也逃不了。



If we define a black hole as an "event collection,"
then the boundary of a black hole, known as the "event horizon,"
is formed by the light that just can't escape.
如果把黑洞定义为“事件集合”,
那么黑洞的边界,即“事件视界”,
是由刚好逃不出黑洞的那些光线所构成。



Long, long, long ago, I thought "spacetime" was static,
and I imagined celestial bodies in the universe like beads on a chessboard.
很久很久很久以前,我以为“时空”是静止的,
我想象宇宙中的星球就像棋盘上的珠子。



Later, relativity told me:
"Mass distorts spacetime,
gravity is the result of spacetime curvature."
I imagined celestial bodies in the universe like stones on a fishing net.
后来相对论告诉我:
“质量会扭曲时空,
引力是时空弯曲的结果。”
我想像宇宙中的星球像渔网上的石子。



Wheeler has summarized the essence of general relativity as follows:
"Spacetime determines how matter moves.
Matter determines how spacetime bends."
惠勒概括过广义相对论的精髓:
“时空决定物质如何运动,
物质决定时空如何弯曲。”



You might not know who Wheeler is,
but you should have heard of his well-known statement,
called "Black holes have no hair."
When the "no hair" theory was proposed, it faced opposition.
It is said that even his students and Nobel laureates at that time considered the statement "indecent."
However, because this "no hair" theory was too important,
it was eventually recognized by the academic community.
可能你不知道惠勒是谁,
但是你应该听过他广为人知的“略污”名言,
叫“黑洞无毛”。
“黑洞无毛”刚提出时遭到了反对。
据说连他的学生和当时诺奖得主都认为这个说法“猥亵”。
但是由于这个“无毛”理论实在太太重要了,
后来还是得到了学术界认可。

Regardless of how black holes are formed,
anything that enters a black hole loses all information,
leaving only mass, charge, and angular momentum,
and nothing else remains.
This is the legendary "no-hair theorem."
无论黑洞是怎么形成的,
进入黑洞的物质都会失去所有信息,
只剩下质量,电荷和角动量三个物理量,
其他的都不复存在。
这就是传说中的“无毛定理”。


What does it mean to "lose all information"?
To put it bluntly,
once a person falls into a black hole, they not only "lose contact","
but they also lose every single hair.
什么叫“失去所有信息”,
说得直白一点,
人掉进去后不是“联系不上”或者“安能辨我是雌雄”,
是连毛发都没有了。


But black holes don't just swallow without emitting anything,
Hawking radiation tells us:
"Black holes have temperature,
black holes can also emit radiation."
不过黑洞并不是只吞不吐,
霍金辐射告诉我们:
“黑洞具有温度,黑洞也能产生辐射。”


In 2015, humans heard the sound of a black hole for the first time.
Two distant black holes collided and merged,
emitting the gravitational waves that humans had been desperately searching for.
Gravitational waves refer to the disturbances in the universe caused by objects accelerating in motion.
This was the missing piece in the experimental verification of Einstein's general theory of relativity.
2015年,人类第一次听到了黑洞的声音。
两个遥远黑洞碰撞合并,
辐射出了人类苦苦追寻的引力波。
引力波指物体加速运动时给宇宙带来的扰动。
这是爱因斯坦广义相对论实验验证中,
缺失的最后一个板块。


And on April 10, 2019,
the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) unveiled the first-ever image of a black hole.
而2019年4月10号,
事件视界望远镜(简称EHT),
公布了人类观测到的首张黑洞照片。


Why was it so sensational?
On the one hand, taking an official ID photo of it was as difficult as photographing a lemon on the moon from Earth.
Scientists used eight telescopes distributed in different parts of the world,
aligned for observation, with an effective aperture equivalent to the diameter of the Earth.
The process of capturing that image took 30 years of preparation and more than 2 years of pursuit.
为何如此轰动,
一方面因为给它拍这张官方证件照,
难度相当于在地球上拍一只放在月球上的柠檬精。
科学家用分布于全球不同地区的8个望远镜,
列阵观测,有效门径可达地球直径。
一张照片经过了30年酝酿和2年多追捕。


On the other hand,
black holes have been predicted by general relativity for many years.
When a prediction becomes reality,
this milestone scientific achievement
allows us to proudly proclaim ourselves as the first humans to see a black hole.
另一方面,
黑洞是广义相对论预言了很多年的存在。
当预言变为真实,
这个具有里程碑意义的科研成果,
也让我们可以冠冕堂皇地
称自己为首批看到黑洞的人类。


We are so obsessed with the dazzling night sky,
so eager to explore the vast universe,
sometimes it's not about science,
not about the future, not about what lies ahead.
我们如此痴迷于璀璨星空,
如此渴望探索浩瀚宇宙,
有时候其实也无关科学,
无关前路,无关未来。


It's just a desire to return to the most fundamental question,
to contemplate where we come from.
只是想回到最初最基本的问题,
去思考我们从何而来。


"Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded.
The atoms in your left hand may have come from a different star than those in your right hand.
This is the most poetic thing I know about physics:
You are all stardust."
— Lawrence Krauss
“你身体里的每一个原子都来自一颗爆炸了的恒星,
形成你左手的原子可能和形成你右手的来自不同的恒星。
这是我所知的关于物理的最有诗意的事情:
你们都是星尘。”
——劳伦斯·克劳斯


References:
"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking
"The Universe in a Nutshell" by Stephen Hawking
"The Poetry of Physics" by Lawrence Krauss
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