BB.20.001 – The Dutch Black Hole Consortium (DBHC)

Route: Building blocks of matter and fundaments of space and time

Cluster question: 129 What is the true nature of gravity, space, and time and what can we learn from black holes?

In a democratic society, everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.’ This quote from black hole physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) inspired many people around the world, from students and scientists, to journalists, science policy makers and the general public. It emphasizes not only the relevance of science and technology for society, but also the duty researchers have to communicate their work and explain the importance of the scientific method to the general public via education and outreach. The revolutionary work and ideas of people like Einstein and Hawking continue to have tremendous impact on humans’ understanding of the universe we live in and are at the heart of a dedicated route in NWA, Route 2: ‘Building blocks of matter and fundaments of space and time’. Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe: we do not know what they are made of, we cannot see them directly, but they store the secrets about the fundamental laws of nature and the true nature of space and time and thus the universe itself. They speak to the imagination and raise curiosity and interest amongst the general public, and so are often covered in the news and media. There are billions of black holes out there and quite often two black holes collide somewhere in the universe, producing gravitational waves that we have only been able to measure on earth since their discovery in 2015 (Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017). And in 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope published the first picture of a black hole and its surroundings. This proposal, put forward by a new and interdisciplinary Dutch Black Hole Consortium (DBHC), has the ambition to address the main and central questions underlying Route 2.


Black Holes, Gravitational Waves, Societal Impact of Fundamental Research


Organisation Radboud University (RU) & SRON
Name Prof. dr. P.G. (Peter) Jonker