‘Quantum tornado’ allows scientists to mimic a black hole on Earth

Thanks to immense gravitational forces, the regions around black holes are violent and turbulent environments driven by physics that cannot be found anywhere else in the universe. In fact, black holes are so influential that, when they rotate, they drag the very fabric of space along with them. In other words, near a black hole, nothing stands still. Nothing at all.

Clearly, black holes can’t be dragged down to Earth, so these effects can be studied in the lab — but a research team, led by University of Nottingham scientists, has done the next best thing.  The researchers created, for the first time, a swirling “quantum vortex” in a helium superfluid chilled to ultracold temperatures. This apparatus essentially mimics a black hole right on our planet.

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