The three people I discussed my rabbit holes with were my three closest family members: my mom, my dad, and my sister. As I talked about my two past rabbit holes (adrenaline responses and black holes), it was clear which I was more passionate about. Black holes seize my attention like few other scientific topics, purely because of the uncertainty surrounding their exact nature. As I began ranting to my two parents about this , they did their best to understand, and occasionally asked me questions. Some of these I was able to answer, while others I’m not certain any scientist in the world could answer (ex. What’s past the event horizon of a black hole?). My sister, on the other hand, isn’t much one for science, and didn’t have an issue with telling me I sounded a bit like a raving lunatic while I was rambling about outer space. Still, she couldn’t help but admit it was an interesting topic, while still furthering my want for answers with questions that no answers exist to today.
For this rabbit hole, I decided to do some more research into (shocker) BLACK HOLES!!!
As most of my friends could tell you in a heartbeat, I find black holes absolutely fascinating, which I think is caused by the amount of uncertainty surrounding them. There’s a certain potential for understanding that I am drawn to, and always want to learn more about.
We live in a three-dimensional universe, but black holes are two-dimensional figures, which is a complete and utter defiance of the laws of physics. Furthermore, a black hole is one of the only known places where a singularity can occur. A singularity is an infinitely small, yet infinitely massive point in time and space where all laws of physics are abandoned. These are theoretically found at the center of a black hole. Due to their infinite mass contained inside infinitely small space, they have the strongest pull of gravity of anywhere in the universe. Therefore, any matter racing towards it will adopt an orbit and speeds vastly exceeding the speed of light. These high speeds mean that actual arrival at the singularity can take quite a bit longer, giving the matter more time to collide with other matter. This speed of collision could theoretically create a massive explosion (not that we would know, as it is inside the black hole), similar to the “big bang” that many believe created our universe. This has led to the theory that our universe was created by a singularity in a black hole in a four dimensional universe.
For my rabbit hole this week, I started to look into the body’s production of hormones during what we call an “adrenaline rush.” As I looked further into this topic, I read that the actual hormone is called epinephrine as well as adrenaline. Everything I read about adrenaline had one phrase in common: “fight or flight.” The purpose of adrenaline is to prepare the human body for dangerous situations from which it needs to either run or defend itself. Now, clearly the original purpose for this hormonal reaction was exactly as it sounds: to keep us humans alive. Nowadays, we are (hopefully) not faced with life-threatening situations so much. However, most people have still felt an adrenaline rush for some reason or another. What has changed since those times millions of years ago that would change our hormonal reactions to different situations? Is this change in adrenaline production a result of evolution, or could societal changes have caused the human body to produce a hormone meant for life threatening situations, when a person is doing nothing more than speaking in front of a crowd? It’s clear that this change has occurred, but how and why do our bodies now react with a “fight or flight” hormone when faced with tasks that would have been considered tame a thousand years ago?