William George Unruh

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science

Contributing to theories on gravity and black holes, early cosmology, and quantum phenomena

"William Blake said 'If a fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise.' I'm grateful that society allows me and other scientists to persist."

In his research, Unruh applies quantum mechanics to study gravity and the forces that existed at the moment of creation according to the “Big Bang” theory. He is also examining the process of black hole evaporation, discovered by the great English physicist Stephen Hawking, which is still a mystery. Sonic black holes which Unruh calls "dumb holes" exist in a region where a fluid flows faster than the speed of sound. Unruh argues that 'hot' sound waves are created in these conditions through a poorly understood quantum process related to black holes.

Another of Unruh's research areas is quantum computation: using quantum laws to design computers able to solve certain problems billions of times faster than traditional equipment.

Unruh is also a Unix hacker and cryptographer and has published numerous articles on the web and in newsgroups on these subjects.

Sources: Canadian Who’s Who 1993, UBC Reports 2001

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