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The hunt for primordial black holes older than the universe itself



ALMOST precisely 50 years in the past, once I was a PhD scholar, I wrote an article on this journal concerning the mounting proof for black holes, areas of house by which gravity is so robust that gentle can by no means escape. As we speak, there isn’t any longer any doubt about their existence. We all know they kind from collapsing stars and that supermassive ones sit on the centres of galaxies. We now have even taken an image of two of them. However in my article I additionally talked about a extra speculative chance: that smaller black holes may need fashioned within the early universe, shortly after the massive bang.

I used to be engaged on this concept below the supervision of Stephen Hawking, who had began to consider such a chance just some years earlier. Our work collectively set the trajectory of my profession, a lot of which has been devoted to learning what we now name primordial black holes. We nonetheless don’t know in the event that they fashioned, however there are good causes to assume they could have. A few of them may nonetheless be round right now and, excitingly, they might be the reply to an entire vary of cosmological conundrums.

Lately, nevertheless, I’ve change into focused on an much more unique chance: that some black holes might be older than the universe itself. It’s a wild concept, however not inconceivable. And new analysis means that we’d in the future be capable of positively establish them, a breakthrough that might seriously change our understanding of cosmology.

Most cosmologists would declare that every one the matter and power that permeates our universe right now got here into existence in …

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