Black holes are extreme manifestations of general relativity, so one might hope that exotic quantum effects would be amplified in their vicinities, perhaps providing clues to quantum gravity. The commonly accepted treatment of quantum corrections to the physics around the holes, however, has provided only limited encouragement of this hope. The predicted corrections have been minor (for macroscopic holes): weak fluxes of low-energy thermal radiation which hardly disturb the classical structures of the holes. Here, I argue that this accepted treatment must be substantially revised. I show that when interactions among fields are taken into account (they were largely neglected in the earlier work) the picture that is drawn is very different. Not only low-energy radiation but also ultra-energetic quanta are produced in the gravitationally collapsing region. The energies of these quanta grow exponentially quickly, so that by the time the hole can be said to have formed, they have passed the Planck scale, at which quantum gravity must become dominant. The vicinities of black holes are windows on quantum gravity.
- Pub Date:
- March 2005
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- High Energy Physics - Theory
- 17 pages, 5 figures. Expanded treatment of the material in the 2004 Gravity Research Foundation essay