APS News

February 2011 (Volume 20, Number 2)

Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science

Black Hole Leaves Science Fishing for Explanation

By Leonard Weisberg

Undoubtedly, the greatest discovery of this century was a new type of black hole that attracts only leaves.1 As discussed, it exists in several places including pools and in the exterior inverted corners of houses and buildings, but fish ponds were not mentioned. I happen to own a fairly large fishpond, and have been able to make certain discoveries that will greatly add to the knowledge of this new phenomenon:

  • The black hole is located 1.4 m below the surface of my fishpond, while the event horizon is located 4.7 m above the black hole. Very sadly, this means that any leaf within 3.3 m (about 11 feet) above the fish pond is directly pulled onto the surface of the pond.
  • The surface of the pond acts as a new secondary barrier (a new type of flat (!!) event horizon). A leaf that goes below this new surface type of event horizon passes through the black hole and enters an alternate universe as suggested by string theory; it is never seen again!
  • The strength of attraction of the black hole is at least one order of magnitude higher in the fall months and during this period, two orders of magnitude in high wind conditions.
  • Strangely, after about 1/3 of the surface is covered with leaves, the strength of attraction of the black hole greatly diminishes. Then, as leaves are removed from the surface, the strength of gravitational attraction builds up again, so within 24 hours, 1/3 of the pond surface is again covered with leaves.

I am sure that proponents of string theory will find this additional data most important since it provides specific facts that allow the theory to be tested, and I am humbled by being able to help this very important field.

1.Ock, C. and Ull, B, (2010), J. Grav. Shrinking, Vol. 207, p. 13,476

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Editor: Alan Chodos

February 2011 (Volume 20, Number 2)

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Articles in this Issue
APS Member Count Tops 48,000
New Physical Review Journal Offers Online, Open Access Publishing
Kovar Reflects on State of High Energy Physics, and the Road Ahead
Funding Runs Out to Keep Tevatron Alive
Comments Sought for APS Non-Proliferation Petition
New PhDs Trending Away from Postdoc Positions
Dutch, Spanish Physicists to Give March Meeting Beller Lectures
COMPETES Act Signed Into Law
Top Ten Physics-Related News Stories of 2010
Letters To the Editor
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Washinton Dispatch
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
International News