Black Holes


According to Newton’s theory of gravity, the escape velocity v from a distance r from the center of gravity of a heavy object with mass m, is described by

1 2v2 = Gm r

. (1.1)

What happens if a body with a large mass m is compressed so much that the escape velocity from its surface would exceed that of light, or, v > c? Are there bodies with a mass m and radius R such that 2Gm Rc2 ≥1 ? (1.2) This question was asked as early as 1783 by John Mitchell. The situation was investigated further by Pierre Simon de Laplace in 1796. Do rays of light fall back towards the surface of such an object? One would expect that even light cannot escape to infinity. Later, it was suspected that, due to the wave nature of light, it might be able to escape anyway. Now, we know that such simple considerations are misleading. To understand what happens with such extremely heavy objects, one has to consider Einstein’s theory of relativity, both Special Relativity and General Relativity, the theory that describes the gravitational field when velocities are generated comparable to that of light. Soon after Albert Einstein formulated this beautiful theory, it was realized that his equations have solutions in closed form. One naturally first tries to find solutions with maximal symmetry, being the radially symmetric case. Much later, also more general solutions, having less symmetry, were discovered. These solutions, however, showed some features that, at first, were difficult to comprehend. There appeared to be singularities that could not possibly be accepted as physical realities, until it was realized that at least some of these singularities were due only to appearances. Upon closer examination, it was discovered what their true physical nature is. It turned out that, at least in principle, a space traveller could go all the way in such a “thing” but never return. Indeed, also light would not emerge out of the central region of these solutions. It was John Archibald Wheeler who dubbed these strange objects “black holes”. Einstein was not pleased. Like many at first, he believed that these peculiar features were due to bad, or at least incomplete, physical understanding. Surely, he thought, those crazy black holes would go away. Today, however, his equations are much better understood. We not only accept the existence of black holes, we also understand how they can actually form under various circumstances.



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Video Games

Video games have been around since the early 1970s.
The first commercial arcade video game,Computer Space by Nutting Associates, was introduced in 1971. In 1972, Atari introduced Pong to the arcades.
An interesting item to note is that Atari was formed by Nolan Bushnell, the man who developed Computer Space In October 1958, Physicist William Higinbotham created what is thought to be thefirst video game.
It was a very simple tennis game, similar to the classic 1970s video game Pong, and it was quite a hit at a Brookhaven National Laboratory open house. Early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats.
The earliest example is from 1947—a "Cathode ray tube Amusement Device" was filed for a patent on 25 January 1947, by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, and issued on 14 December 1948, as U.S. Patent 2455992.
Inspired by radar display technology, it consisted of an analog device that allowed a user to control a vector-drawn dot on the screen to simulate a missile being fired at targets, which were drawings fixed to the screen.
The electronic systems used to play video games are called platforms. Video games are developed and released for one or several platforms and may not be available on others.
Specialized platforms such as arcade games, which present the game in a large, typically coin-operated chassis, were common in the 1980s in video arcades, but declined in popularity as other, more affordable platforms became available.
The third generation of consoles, which were 8-bit units, emerged from 1983 to 1995.
The fourth generation of consoles, which were 16-bit models, emerged from 1987 to 1999.
The 1990s saw the resurgence and decline of arcades, the transition to 3D video games, improved handheld games, and PC gaming.
The fifth generation of consoles, which were 32 and 64-bit units, was from 1993 to 2006. During this era, mobile phone gaming emerged. During the 2000s, the sixth generation of consoles emerged (1998–2013).
During this period, online gaming and mobile games became major aspects of gaming culture. The seventh generation of consoles was from 2005 to 2012.
This era was marked by huge development budgets for some games, with some having cinematic graphics; the launch of the top-selling Wii console, in which the user could control the game actions with real-life movement of the controller; the rise of casual PC games marketed to non-gamers;
and the emergence of cloud computing in video games.
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