The obscure word of the week is kugelblitz

This week’s obscure English word is kugelblitz.

It’s another word English has outright stolen – it’s the German term for ‘ball lightning’. However, in its appropriated English sense it’s got a different meaning.

It’s a physics term referring to a concentration of energy so apocalyptically huge that it distorts the space-time continuum around on itself, forming a black hole. That’s a Kugelblitz. There’s nothing magic about this: Einstein’s Special Theory of relativity showed that matter and energy are equivalent, and his General Theory showed how they distorted space and time.

The thing is that you need a literally astronomical amount of energy to equate to a small amount of mass (it’s E = mc2 – where energy is equal to mass multiplied by the velocity of light squared). So to have enough energy to distort space-time into itself and create an event horizon – well, you need a word for it. And there is one. Kugelblitz.

Your challenge: write a sentence or two in the comments using this word.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019


One thought on “The obscure word of the week is kugelblitz

  1. Weil, my first idea involved cooking a potato dish really fast, but I was wrong, obviously. For one thing, making a kugel involves a much smaller amount of energy. I’m surprised we didn’t hear about the Kugelblitz phenomenon when a photo of a black hole got a lot of attention recently.

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