Date

3-2015

Degree Name

BS in Physics

Department

Physics Department

Advisor(s)

Scott Fraser

Abstract

There is a well known static condition that characterizes how two or more charged black holes stay in place: this condition is |qi |=mi , where a black hole (labeled by i) has electric charge qi and mass mi . For nearly half a century, this static condition has eluded a simple physical interpretation, without appealing to forces. I provide the first proof that the static condition, |qi |=mi , corresponds to an extremum of the black holes’ total energy. My approach uses geometry and calculus in the context of general relativity. For the non-specialist, this work draws upon one’s intuitive familiarity with static electricity and gravity, and extends these ideas to black holes. For specialists, this work is significant since it uses the preferred approach of energy (not forces) to prove, for the first time, a cornerstone property (maximum or minimum energy) for these black holes, which is an energy property known to hold for other static black holes.

The research summary in the following pages was presented as a student talk at the 2015 CSU Student Research Competition, and won a first prize. A longer version of this work is available as a preprint [5], listed in the references on the last page.

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