Even Roses can Bloom in the Mud

The most humbling lines you will read today:

Black holes were first discovered not in space but on the pages of a notepad in the German trenches of the first world war. Physicist Karl Schwarzschild was serving as an artillery officer on the Russian front in 1915. In his spare time, he was investigating Albert Einstein’s controversial new theory of gravity: general relativity.

He found an equation that suggested regions of space and time could become like lobster pots, trapping anything that fell into them. The point of no return around these “black holes” was dubbed the event horizon.

Schwarzschild completed the work shortly before facing his own event horizon. He contracted a painful skin disease called pemphigus and was returned to Germany, where he died in May 1916.

From this link, which announces the discovery of 26 new black holes located in the Andromeda galaxy.

The horrors of World War I were unparalleled by such a margin that they called it “The Great War” back then. Little did they know how much worse it would get, just 30 years after it ended. And yet, though the horrors, came arguably the biggest breakthrough in astrophysics till that time.

All from a man sitting in the trenches on the Eastern Front, one who wouldn’t even live to see the end of the war or the fruits of his insight.

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