Sunday, September 18, 2016

Black Holes Revisited -- with Albert Einstein

The Space Alien's encounter with a black hole was previously covered. To read about this,  click here.

Black holes caught the Space Alien's attention once again in a New York Times back issue from earlier this year reporting the detection of colliding black holes. To see this article, click here.    The Space Alien, always careful to avoid these pits of annihilation, found yet another troubling article about this discovery in the super-prestigious journal Nature, which called these collisions "catastrophic on a cosmic scale"  To see this article, click here.

All of this was most upsetting to the Space Alien, who sipped a bit of kvass (fermented beet juice) to settle the stomach while recalling a discussion on this topic during an encounter with Albert Einstein over one hundred years ago.

Einstein 100 Years Ago
At that time, Albert Einstein, an avid amateur violinist, relaxed after work in the Swiss Patent Office playing with a local string quartet.   One evening the cellist was taken ill and was unable to join the group.

The Space Alien, enjoying an Alpine ski holiday nearby, became aware of this crisis and left the slopes to float through the keyhole of the house where the disappointed musicians were gathered and proceeded to perfectly mimic the complex cello part of Mozart's 14th String Quartet in G Major.  (Here is where you can hear  another group perform this beautiful work!

Einstein was so grateful that he invited the Space Alien back to his simple quarters where they shared a hot chocolate and deep conversation.  Einstein was fascinated to hear about the scary black holes the Space Alien had encountered.  The Space Alien, overjoyed to have a sympathetic listener, did not notice Einstein furiously taking notes on every available scrap of paper.  

In fact,  Einstein became so excited that he almost choked on the marshmallow floating in his hot chocolate, but fortunately the Space Alien was able to administer a vigorous Heimlich maneuver just in time to save Einstein's life.

Still coughing, gasping and waving sheets of figures about, Einstein blurted out:
"The black holes have already collided! The world does not know this yet, but it was cataclysmic!"
"How do you know for sure" asked the Space Alien?
 "The numbers never lie," answered Einstein. "Clearly our universe is just one big bowl of Jell-O!"
"What flavor?" asked the Space Alien.

But Einstein did not seem to hear.
His giant head sank to his chest and he fell, exhausted, into a deep restorative sleep.
The Space Alien carefully covered this delightful new friend with an afghan, rinsed the cocoa mugs in the kitchen sink, and quietly departed.

Later at home the Space Alien pulled a tattered photo album from the shelf and looked at pictures from previous journeys into deep space.  These photos clearly confirmed what Einstein had said.   One showed two black holes much too close to each other for comfort.  Another, taken with the Space Alien's special gravitational wave lens, left no doubt that the universe was indeed made of Jell-O -- probably orange and lemon.

Special to the Space Alien Gazette!

 Photos of Black Holes from the Space Alien's Personal Photo Album!

Two Scary Black Holes
Too Close for Comfort
Black Holes in an
Orange and Lemon Universe

Comment from a Reader:

An astute reader pointed out that the Space Alien could not have saved Einstein by using the Heimlich maneuver inasmuch as Dr. Harry Heimlich did not publish on this topic until 1974.

To this the Space Alien would simply point out that in a universe made of Jell-O one cannot be too persnickety about the order of things.  

However the Space Alien is a great admirer of Dr. Heimlich who just recently, at the age of 96, saved a choking woman using his own technique. To read about this dramatic rescue please click here.  The Space Alien is gratified to have been able to use this practical approach to save a life.

Received Sunday, December 11, 2016: The Space Alien Gazette reports with sadness the death of Dr. Harry Heimlich on December 10 at the Age of 96.   Dr. Heimlich's maneuver has saved countless lives and doubtless will continue to do so.
The Space Alien Cares!