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Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have been able to observationally confirm one of Stephen Hawking’s theorems about black holes, measuring gravitational waves before and after a black hole merger to provide evidence that a black hole’s event horizon can never shrink, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. “This cool analysis doesn't just show an example of Hawking's theorem that underpins one of the central laws affecting black holes,” writes Delbert, “it shows how analyzing gravitational wave patterns can bear out statistical findings.”

Axios

Axios reporter Miriam Kramer writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers suggests that all black holes go through a similar cycle when feeding, whether they are big or small. “Black holes are some of the most extreme objects found in our universe,” writes Kramer. “By studying the way they grow, scientists should be able to piece together more about how they work.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that the way black holes evolve as they consume material is the same, no matter their size. “What we’re demonstrating is, if you look at the properties of a supermassive black hole in the cycle, those properties are very much like a stellar-mass black hole,” says research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham. The findings mean “black holes are simple, and elegant in a sense.”

The Academic Times

Academic Times reporter Monisha Ravisetti writes that a new study by physicists from a number of institutions, including MIT, finds that supermassive black holes devour gas just like their smaller counterparts. “This is demonstrating that, essentially, all black holes behave the same way,” says research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a 10 solar mass black hole or a 50 million solar mass black hole – they appear to be acting the same way when you throw a ball of gas at it.”

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Leah Crane writes that researchers from the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories have potentially detected primordial black holes that formed in the early days of the universe. “When I started this, I was expecting that we would not find any significant level of support for primordial black holes, and instead I got surprised,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Charlie McKenna writes that MIT researchers have used the spin of black holes detected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors to search for dark matter. "In reality, there is a much broader set of theories that predict or relies on the existence of these very ultra-light particles,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale. “One is dark matter. So they could be dark matter. But they could also solve other open problems in particle physics.”

The Academic Times

A new study by MIT researches finds that some masses of boson particles don’t actually exist, reports Monisha Ravisetti for The Academic Times. “[Bosons] could be dark matter particles, or they could be something that people call axions, which are proposed particles that could solve problems with the magnetic bipoles of particles,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale. “Because they can be any of these things, that means they could also have an incredibly broad range of masses.”

Ms.

Andrea Ghez ’87 speaks with Carol Stabile of Ms. magazine about the importance of representation in encouraging more women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM fields. Ghez recalls how her science teacher in high school encouraged her to apply to MIT, describing the experience as “'a lovely early lesson in how to persevere,’ that helped her to develop what she described as the muscle to persevere, and to turn problems into opportunities to grow and learn.”

CBS Boston

CBS Boston spotlights how Andrea Ghez ’87 has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work discovering a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. “It really represents the basic research - you don’t always know how it is going to affect our lives here on Earth, but it is pushing the frontier of our knowledge forward," says Ghez, "both from the point of view of pure physics (understanding what a black hole is), and then also their astrophysical world in the formation and evolution of galaxies.”

The Boston Globe

Andrea Ghez ’87 has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for her work advancing our understanding of black holes. "Black holes, because they are so hard to understand, is what makes them so appealing,'' says Ghez. “I really think of science as a big, giant puzzle.”

CBS News

Astronomers have found that the M87* black hole appears to be wobbling, reports Sophie Lewis for CBS News. “The wobbling is big news — it allows scientists to study the object's accretion flow,” writes Lewis. “Studying that region is key to understanding how the black hole and surrounding matter interact with the host galaxy.”

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter George Dvorsky writes that astronomers from the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, including MIT Haystack Observatory researchers, have studied the physical changes to M87* black hole and found that it appears to be wobbling. “With this paper, we’ve now entered into a new era of studying the intimate areas around black holes,” writes Dvorsky.

CBS Boston

Boston 25 spotlights how scientists from LIGO and Virgo have detected what may be the most massive black hole collision yet. “The result of the black holes colliding created the first-ever observed intermediate black hole, at 142 times the mass of the sun,” reports Boston 25.

The Verge

Scientists from LIGO and Virgo have detected the largest collision between two black holes to date, which appears to have created an “intermediate-mass” black hole, reports Loren Grush for The Verge. Intermediate-mass black holes, “are really the missing link between [black holes with] tens of solar masses and millions,” says Prof. Salvatore Vitale. “It was always a bit baffling that people couldn’t find anything in between.”

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter George Dvorsky writes about how researchers from MIT and other institutions have detected the corona of a supermassive black hole disappearing and then reappearing. Dvorsky writes that their findings suggest this “strange episode was caused by a runaway star.”