CLASSICAL GAS --
The Black Hole of Calcutta
An unusual box was discovered in India. Evidence is presented that it contains a black hole. The physics that underly this phenomenon are currently not well understood.
DISCOVERY OF THE BOX
In 1990, while engaged in an archeological dig near the city of Calcutta, in India, the authors uncovered a box of unusual design. The box was found to exhibit peculiar properties. It was removed to the physics laboratory at the University of Oxford, where one of the authors (Sholto) submitted it to extensive analysis.
While vague references to mysterious objects exist in much of India's copious historical literature, the authors have not been able to identify any specific references to this box, or to boxes of this general nature.
PROPERTIES OF A BLACK HOLE
A black hole is an object whose mass is extremely compressed. Its gravitational force is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it. However, in the mid-1970's, Stephen Hawking of Oxford University showed that, under the laws of quantum mechanics, black holes must emit some radiation. A black hole exhibits certain specific characteristics. [These characteristics are described in detail in Hawking (1975) and Penrose (1979).]
PROPERTIES OF THE BOX
The box is made of wood. It is cubic in shape. Each side is aproximately 10 centimeters long. The box emits steady, extremely low-level radiation in all measurable parts of the spectrum. This radiation presents all the characteristics of the Hawking-Penrose theoretic model of a black hole.
Because a black hole sucks in all planets, stars, and light that come near it, it was believed that black holes exist only in distant reaches of space far from the earth. However, this black hole was found in a wooden box in India.
This fact raises two immediate questions:
1. Why hasn't this black hole sucked the earth, the sun, and the entire solar system into itself?
2. The box containing this black hole must be unusually strong. Was it constructed using standard engineering techniques?
The authors have no satisfactory explanation for either of these questions. We invite suggestions and comment.
Despite their best efforts, the authors have thus far been unable to open the box.
Beckenstein, J. (1972). "Black holes and entropy." Phys. Rev., D7, 2333-46.
Hawking, S. W. (1975). "Particle creation by black holes." Commun. Math. Phys., 43, 199-220.
Penrose, R. (1979). "Singularities and time-asymmetry." In General relativity: an Einstein centenary (ed. S. W. Hawking and W. Israel), Cambridge University Press.
Shackleton, B. and Schayek, L. L., (1978). "10 Fascinating sealed
boxes," in The People's Almanac #2, (ed. D. Wallechinsky and I. Wallace),
Bantom, New York, 1108-1110.
© Copyright 2002 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
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