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Are Black Holes Atoms? And Other Particle Possibilities

Leonard Kelley holds a bachelor's in physics with a minor in mathematics. He loves the academic world and strives to constantly explore it.

Similarities Between Black Holes and Particles

Consider the analogies between black holes and particles, and the similarities are striking. Both are considered to have mass, yet have zero volume. We use charge, mass, and spin exclusively to describe both also. The main challenge in the comparison is that particle physics is run by quantum mechanics – a tough topic with black holes, to say the least. They have been found to have some quantum implications in the form of Hawking radiation and the Firewall paradox, but to fully describe the quantum states of black holes is tough.

We need to use the superposition of wave functions and probabilities to get a true feel for a particle, and to describe a black hole as such seems counterintuitive. But if we scale a black hole down to the scale in question, some interesting results appear (Brown).


One study by Robert Oldershaw (Amherst College) in 2006 found that by applying Einstein’s field equations (which describe black holes) to the appropriate scale (which is allowed because the math should work on any scale), hadrons could follow Kerr-Newman black hole models as a “strong gravity” case. Like before, I only have mass, charge, and spin to describe both. As an added bonus, both objects also have magnetic dipole moments yet lack electric dipole moments, they “have gyromagnetic ratios of 2,” and they both have similar surface area properties (namely that interacting particles always increase in surface area but never decrease). Later work done by Nassim Haramein in 2012 found that given a proton whose radius corresponds to a Schwarzschild one for black holes would exhibit a gravitational force that would be sufficient to hole a nucleus together, eliminating the strong nuclear force! (Brown, Oldershaw)


Work by Brandon Carter in 1968 was able to draw a tie between black holes and electrons. If a singularity had the mass, charge, and spin of an electron then it would also have the magnetic moment that electrons have displayed. And as an added bonus, the work explains the gravitational field around an electron as well as a better way to establish space-time position, things that the well-established Dirac equation fails to do. But parallels between the two equations show that they complement each other, and possibly hint at further links between black holes and particles than are currently known. This may be a result of renormalization, a mathematical technique used in QCD to help make equations converge onto real values. Maybe that workaround can find a solution in the form of the Kerr-Newman black hole models (Brown, Burinskii).

Particle Disguise

As crazy as these may seem, something even wilder may be out there. In 1935, Einstein and Rosen tried to fix a perceived problem with the singularities that his equations said should exist. If those point-singularities existed then they would have to compete with quantum mechanics – something that Einstein wanted to avoid. Their solution was to have the singularity empty out into a different region of space-time via an Einstein-Rosen bridge, otherwise known as a wormhole. The irony here is that John Wheeler was able to show that this math described a situation where given a sufficiently strong electromagnetic field, space-time itself would curve back onto itself until a torus would form as a micro black hole. From an outsider's perspective this object, known as a gravitational electromagnetic entity or geon, would be impossible to tell from a particle. Why? Amazingly, it would have mass and charge not from the micro back whole but from the changing of space-time properties. That is so cool! (Brown, Anderson)

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The ultimate tool for these applications we have discussed though may be the applications to string theory, that ever-pervasive and much-loved-theory that escapes detection. It involves higher dimensions than ours, but their implications on our reality manifest themselves at the Planck scale, which is way beyond the size of particles. Those manifestations when applied to black hole solutions end up making mini black holes that end up acting like many particles. Of course, this result is mixed because string theory currently has low testability, but it provides a mechanism for how these black hole solutions are manifesting themselves (MIT).

Work Cited

Anderson, Paul R. and Dieter R. Brill. “Gravitational Geons Revisited.” arXiv:gr-qc/9610074v2.

Brown, William. “Black holes as elementary particles – revisiting a pioneering investigation of how particles may be micro black holes.” Web. 13 Nov. 2018.

Burinskii, Alexander. “The Dirac-Kerr-Newmann electron.” arXiv:hep-th/0507109v4.

MIT. “Could All Particles Be Mini Black Holes?” MIT Technology Review, 14 May 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2018.

Oldershaw, Robert L. “Hadrons as Kerr-Newman Black Holes.” arXiv:0701006.

© 2019 Leonard Kelley

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