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Pandora's avatar

Can someone explain to me, what is the importance of knowing about the Black Hole?

Asked by Pandora (27703points) March 11th, 2010

Just watched an hour show on discovery channel about the Black Hole. After it was over, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would dedicate their lives to try to figure out how and why does it work the way it does. Its not as if a black hole will suddenly appear one day and an early warning system can be set up and all the people on the planet can escape to another planet just in the nick of time. So why do scientist care about something so far off when we have problems here that can be worked on and results seen in our generations or at least the next few generations.

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38 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The Black Hole is a major factor in the basic function of the universe and possibly holds clues to the nature of the creation of existence itself. That’s big stuff. That’s like god to astronomers.

gorillapaws's avatar

Understanding black holes helps us understand the nature of less “exotic” natural phenomena. This can possibly result in creating new and improved materials which could help save lives, or improve our lifestyles. There’s also intrinsic value in understanding how our universe works in a less practical sense.

davidbetterman's avatar

Black holes may possibly be how we transit the Universe one day.

chamelopotamus's avatar

Black holes are the entrance to worm holes, which can connect the black hole to any destination in the universe.

FutureMemory's avatar

Is mattbrowne online?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Um no that’s not exactly how it works.

Your_Majesty's avatar

It’s all about studies. Scientists always looking for for new discovery and enhancement in knowledge(Included the black hole). The black hole is really has nothing to do with our earth(it’s way too far,and the way it works probably just scientists hypothesis). We’ve never do field research and obtain the accurate data about this unpredictable object.

davidbetterman's avatar

Didn’t you ever watch FarScape? Or Deep Space Nine. Or Stargate. Or Contact…the list goes on.

chamelopotamus's avatar

I’m not even going to pretend to be some Quantum Physicist, but I know I’ve heard a few Quantum Physicists, and Black Hole theorists, etc (people who study and talk about Black Holes) describe their idea of the possibilities of harnessing the powers of the black hole to be: transportation.

dpworkin's avatar

Any pure research always has value. That’s what drives us as a species: the desire for knowledge. If you don’t share that thirst, I am very sorry for you. You are all the poorer for the want of it.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Science is fun, and always worthwhile.

Pandora's avatar

@davidbetterman Sure have. LOL
Love science and I’m all in favor of different studies. But some say a black hole leads into nothing and now their is a new unproven theory that says it leads to other dimensions. And some of them have no black holes. Point is after watching this program I felt those devoting their lives to this are in their own Black Hole. Caught in a knowledge battle that will never be proven. At least not in our time. Field research is eons away or maybe will never be possible in mans time.

@pdworkin I am an extremely curious person and understand the desire to learn and understand. But I just have to wonder what real possible applications a genius may contribute to our life time instead of making a life time commitment to something that has no real way of being proven. It is simply all theories.

gorillapaws's avatar

Black holes have such gravitational force that they bend light. I believe scientist are currently using this knowledge to study stars and galaxies that are behind the black holes because the bend in light can yield important scientific information about how our universe is put together—I forget exactly how this is useful, but I’m pretty sure it tells us important stuff.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Black holes are so powerful they’re thought to bend light, space and time. That’s heavy stuff.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t know. To me it would be like me observing my neighbors all the time to see how they raise their children. Sure I can learn a thing or two, but in the meantime whether it works in raising my children would require me to know more about them and our life style. If all I did was theorize about how to raise them then they will be grown (or possibly dead from neglect) before I realize how I screwed up. I feel its the same with the black hole. They are looking for a link that may not be there. In the meantime they may be able to figure out ways of helping our own generation or the salvation of future generations by studying what is under our own roof.

dpworkin's avatar

Everything is all theories. Do you know what a theory is? You say it as though it had no worth. It has all worth.

Pandora's avatar

Pretty sure what I ate for dinner wasn’t a theory.
As for all having worth. Not always. I can sit an theorize about people all day but in the end I just wasted my day. Because in the end the only effect it had was on my day.I proven nothing and done nothing to contribute to my life or the lives of others.

dpworkin's avatar

Do you think no theory undergirds the science of agronomy, of cooking, of refrigeration, of transportation, of table-setting aesthetics, of fork spoon and knife design, of metal forging, of ceramic casting, of glass making, of oven design?

Pandora's avatar

I’m sure they were all things studied hear on earth. Physical research was possible. So what started as a theory could be physically done. So what if there were a way to start a black hole so we could study it. Should it start here on earth? I think that wouldn’t be a swell idea.

lilikoi's avatar

@Pandora Even if the details won’t be ironed out, discovered, and/or debunked in our lifetime, that doesn’t mean our efforts were futile. The technology we have today is rooted in the work of people that lived 100s of years ago. Each generation builds on the knowledge of the last. If we can’t understand black holes, we will never be able to understand how the universe was created or how it works, and that’s the whole point of physics, isn’t it? I for one am dying to know if there is ever an end to the black hole, if so where it is, and if not, how it is physically possible for something to extend until infinity – that just completely boggles my mind.

Pandora's avatar

@lilikoi Thank you for a sensible answer and not an emotional one. It is exactly the reason I watched the program. I was disappointed with the non resolved end of it, but I was in awe of the brillance of these men and couldn’t help wonder how much they could contribute in other areas if they weren’t obsessed with just one aspect of our reality.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Pandora It’s not like there’s 2 sets of physics: those outside Earth and those here on Earth. If we gain new understanding about how the universe works in the cosmos, that applies here as well.

Your comment on theories is a bit naive. Without theories we don’t have flight, telephones, satellites, modern medicine, the internet, computers etc. I’m pretty sure theories are one of the most valuable things mankind can put together.

lilikoi's avatar

@Pandora I get what you’re saying, especially because I am a realist and have a hard time being interested in things I can’t physically sense (like a single dimension – or dimensions beyond four), but I think it is a good thing we have people devoted to this branch of science – it’s not like we have a shortage of people. There are plenty of scientists to study more pressing matters, and the funding that goes to “exploratory” science I believe is very small compared to the readily useful kind. It certainly isn’t for everyone (me especially), so I’m glad someone’s willing to sacrifice themselves for it. What they discover may provide us with information we can use back here on Earth…you just never know with science.

Pandora's avatar

@gorillapaws Never said theories where bad. Only why should one go so far to learn about our planet or how we came to be. We haven’t even come close to knowing everything about our own planet. Everyday there are new discoveries and theories about little details of how our own planet functions.
@lilikoi True. :)

Pandora's avatar

Well guys, its been fun. But I have a “theory” that if I don’t go to bed right now, I will be cranky and slow moving in the morning. Have a good night. :))

gorillapaws's avatar

Here’s a more “practical” example. Einstein discovered the theory of relativity through research and studying celestial bodies. An experiment involving an eclipse and observing a star who’s light was bent by the gravity of the sun more-or-less proved it. Relativity actually has important practical implications on Earth. I believe they need to take the increase in mass at high speeds into account when they build super-sonic aircraft for example. I’m sure others can give even more practical examples of how understanding relativity is important.

I also think you’re still confused about what a scientific theory is. This link explains what a theory is. It’s not just an educated guess. The page is written as a rebuttal to the creationist charge that evolution is “just a theory”, but it applies to all scientific theories.

Rarebear's avatar

Because it’s one of the most fascinating objects in astrophysics.

dpworkin's avatar

@gorillapaws I’m not sure we want to go down the path of defending pure research on the basis of its practicality. How is the LHC practical now, as one example? Does that mean it shouldn’t be funded?

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s research for research’s sake. Which is kinda like growth for growth’s sake. No one stops to think if it will cause harm or if it’s even necessary.

gorillapaws's avatar

@dpworkin But pure research leads to practical applications at some point, and since it’s impossible to predict how far off, or how useful those discoveries will be, it makes sense to always be pushing ahead on these types of research.

There are tons of potential practical applications with what the LHC might reveal about the universe, everything from creating exotic new materials one day to possibly new forms of energy production. I do agree that there’s an intrinsic value that’s inherent in increasing humankind’s knowledge, but I don’t see the harm in pointing out some potentially overlooked applications as well.

dpworkin's avatar

@gorillapaws I’m not sure we disagree. My point is merely that pure research is inherently worthwhile whether or not we can presently discern practical application.

Rarebear's avatar

@dpworkin @gorillapaws You don’t disagree. I was sitting here thinking, “You guys are saying the same thing.”

Coloma's avatar

Hmmmm…...not too dissimilar from many peoples minds.
Some have many dimensions and others a tunnel to nowhere. lololol

I’ve learned a bit, thanks!

ragingloli's avatar

The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that the quest for knowledge is a worthy end in itself. That is something the peasents will never understand.

thriftymaid's avatar

I saw this question once on another site, and the answers were much more entertaining than these.

davidbetterman's avatar

Maybe it is important to know what to do in case this happens!

Coloma's avatar

I’m more concerned with sink holes quite frankly…I never knew that the earth could just open up and swallow your house up while all snuggled up on the memory foam.

Nature will ALWAYS trump mankind….who ever said ’ a force to be reckoned with’...as IF we have any power to reckon! I had a fortuitious moment the other week…flew out of Taiwan just before the 6.4! hahaha

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