Weird ‘gravitational molecules’ could orbit black holes like electrons swirling around atoms

Black holes are notable for many things, especially their simplicity. They’re just … holes. That are “black.” This simplicity allows us to draw surprising parallels between black holes and other branches of physics. For example, a team of researchers has shown that a special kind of particle can exist around a pair of black holes in a similar way as an electron can exist around a pair of hydrogen atoms — the first example of a “gravitational molecule.” This strange object may give us hints to the identity of dark matter and the ultimate nature of space-time.

Ploughing the field

To understand how the new research, which was published in September to the preprint database arXiv, explains the existence of a gravitational molecule, we first need to explore one of the most fundamental –- and yet sadly almost never talked about –- aspects of modern physics: the field.

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