GGC physicist proves stability of extreme black holes

Dr. Lior Burko, associate professor of physics at Georgia Gwinnett College, has demonstrated the stability of extreme black holes. The discovery will have long-reaching effects within theoretical physics.

Burko’s research is presented in the March 29, 2018, issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Physical Review D as a Rapid Communication. He co-authored the work with Dr. Gaurav Khanna, professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. 

Extreme black holes differ from traditional black holes because they have the fastest possible spin allowed by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Previous understandings presumed that these objects were unstable, and thus did not exist in nature. However, through new approaches in computational research, Burko and Khanna found that extreme black holes are stable and therefore may someday be detected by gravitational-wave observatories. 

“Previous researchers were not wrong, but because their calculations’ perspectives were limited, they found instability,” Burko said. “Our computations took a broader view of the phenomenon, revealing stability.”

The team’s work is important for string theory because of the prominent role played by extreme black holes in this theory, as well as other areas of theoretical physics. 

"In addition, our computational methods may be used to shed new light on other areas within theoretical physics,” said Burko.

This is not Burko’s first major discovery about black holes. In 2016, he determined that contrary to previous scientific understandings – and popular science fiction – objects like space ships approaching a black hole singularity would not necessarily be crushed. 

Click here to review an abstract of the manuscript to be published as a Rapid Communication in Physical Review D, vol. 97, issue 7, March 29, 2018. 

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