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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Kardashian-Hawking Inequality


Found in a dustbin in New York, what appears to be the transcript of an interview between a ‘famous celebrity’ KK and  theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.


KK- You’re really famous, right, for inventing black holes. Black’s really cool, but couldn’t you have them in other colours, like a gold hole?
SH- No.
KK- That’s such a shame, Sweetness. I was thinking that since they absorb everything you could make a really cool make-up removal pad by impregnating a sponge with lots of tiny black holes, but if the sponge was covered in black dots it might look dirty.
SH- The tiny black holes would absorb the sponge too.
KK- But we could use a really stiff sponge, right? I was wondering how heavy a tiny black hole would be.
SH-The radius of a black hole is proportional to the square root of its mass. A black-hole with a mass equivalent to the sun has a radius of about 13.6 kilometres, so if we wanted mini black holes to pepper a pad for make-up removal purposes—let’s make them 0.136 millimetres to  keep the mathematics easy—then they would be one ten millionth of the diameter of a one-solar-mass black hole, so their mass would be around one three thousandth of a solar mass, or around six hundred million, million, million, million tons.
KK- Hmmm… that sounds a bit too heavy. But they wouldn’t be burning hot like the Sun?
SH- No, the surface temperature of a small black hole is around 0.0000000001 of a degree above absolute zero.
KK- That’s really cool. Presumably that explains why they are called black-holes, right? The Hawking radiation given off at that temperature would have a frequency of… let me see (pauses to perform mental arithmetic) about 1500hz, millions of times less than that of visible light?
SH- Yes.
KK- I wrote a rap song for you to listen to while you do your experiments on black holes, to help you concentrate. I’ll sing it for you. (Leaps to feet, strikes nearby tuning fork against chassis of the Professor’s mobility scooter, and hums a note)

He let's his voice box do the talking
And we all know him as Stephen Hawking
He’s rightly famous across the nation
For discov’rin Hawking radiation
He became more famous by and by
For analysin’ Swartzchild radii
And for showing the likes of you and me
How to calculate black hole entropy
And one thing we like that’s really ace
Are the worm holes he’s found deep in space
No wonder his eyes are tired and bleary
From nights spent tackling quantum theory
When you see his conclusions on a graph
They make the Higgs Boson look really naff
I think he’s so very wise
He should have won a Nobel Prize
Some say he’s a bit of a miser
For have such a cheap old synthesiser
That gives him that distinctive voice
But we know really it’s a fashion choice
He could have a new one that would make him
Sound more like lovely sexy Kim
But I could think of nothing worse
Than talking about the universe
So hats off to clever clogs Stephen Hawking
Who’s days and nights of blackboard chalking
Have helped us understand our place
In the continuum we call space
Time.

Did you like it?

SH- There shouldn't be an apostrophe in let's. I don’t do experiments. I’m a theoretical physicist.
KK - Didn’t you discover the Higgs Boson then?
SH (resentfully)- No.
KK – Is there going to be a Stephen Hawking Boson?

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