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Last year, novelist Sergio De La Pava compared the American criminal justice system to the strange physics concept of naked singularities. That inspired me to ask the author of Sci Am’s article on the concept, theoretical physicist Pankaj Joshi of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai (right in photo), for an update. Watch his lecture on YouTube, too.

Imagine a black hole without the “black” part. That is, imagine a black hole that you could fall into and, with effort, escape back out, as long as you didn’t hit the very center of the hole—its so-called spacetime singularity—and get crushed into oblivion. In other words, imagine a black hole without its outer perimeter (its so-called event horizon) but with its central singularity. That’s what physicists and cosmologists call a naked singularity.

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