So some scientists make a pretty awesome bet.
“…The bet in question was over whether a point of infinite density and space-time curvature, known as a singularity and usually found at the centre of a black hole, can also exist in a naked form without its black hole. At a singularity, all our existing physical laws go out the window. This doesn’t normally matter because the black hole that surrounds the singularity is ringed by a one-way membrane called an event horizon, which lets light and information in, but not out. That means the singularity cannot affect anything beyond the event horizon.
Near a naked singularity, however, things would become bewildering as we would no longer be able to predict the fate of anything in its line of sight. “It might not actually do anything nasty, but we have lost predictive power,” says Lehner. “I couldn’t tell you if this glass would be sitting on the table tomorrow.”
In 1991, Hawking bet Kip Thorne and John Preskill of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena that all singularities are clothed. Six years later he lost, when situations emerged where naked singularities can exist, although they are unstable and vanish or retreat behind an event horizon with the tiniest perturbation.
My understanding, after this explanation, is that black holes, when put into a fifth dimension, would become something called “black strings” which would be tiny naked singularities. But you should probably just read the article because A) it’s well written and B) I’m an idiot.
[Via New Scientist]