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Thread: Would proton decay allow for black holes?

  1. #1 Would proton decay allow for black holes? 
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    There is considered hypothetical decay of proton - usually into positron and neutral pion, which quickly decays into two photons.
    Such decays would allow standard matter to completely change into EM waves (proton + electron -> ~4 photons).
    So this decay allow to get to more stable state and temperatures in collapsing neutron stars should make it easier - it suggests that neutron star instead of creating a mysterious matter state (black holes), should 'evaporate' - turn its core into photons ...

    I've looked at a few papers and I haven't found any considered this type of consequences?
    If this process requires extreme conditions to be statistically important, it would happen practically only in the center, heating the star ...
    Maybe it could explain extremely high energetic cosmic rays? (maybe in extremely high temperatures high energy photons could itself destroy proton + electron structure, absorbing part of their energy...)


    What do you think about proton decay?
    If it would be true - would black holes be created?


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  3. #2  
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    The unverse is approx 1.37 x 10^10 years old. The half life of the proton according to current theory and experiment is > 10^32 years (specifically every experiment to test for proton decay has been negative). From this it appears unlikely that proton decay could have any effect on anything going on now.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Dave Wilson's Avatar
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    Mathman,
    I have just finished reading a book by Paul Davies called " The Last Three Minutes " it devotes a few pages to Proton decay, which it says was stimulated by theoretical work on various grand unified theories. The book went on to say that if the grand unified theories turn out to be wrong, proton decay could be caused by gravity. Estimates of proton decay by this route are uncertain and could vary from 10^45 years to 10^220 years.
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  5. #4  
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    Decay is going to some lower energy and so more stable state - what normally stays on the way for such natural process is some energy barrier ... so the higher temperatures (average energy), the easier the decay ... and in inner core of neutron star are achieved kind of maximal temperatures available for standard matter ... so proton decay could be some kind of nature's failsafe to avoid infinite densities ...

    About ultra-high-energy cosmic rays ... if proton can decay, for example:
    - while fast gravitational collapse, start of importance of this decay could be rapid, so that it would cause explosion with much higher energetic particles than from standard supernova, or maybe
    - while slow collapse, GeV scale photons created while proton decay could in such extreme conditions destroy internal structure of neutrons (or proton-electron pairs), absorbing its energy and growing into astronomical energies ...

    If baryon number is always conserved, how nonzero total baryon number in observed universe (matter-antimatter asymmetry) could be created?
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