Most people imagine black holes to be gigantic monsters hellbent on swallowing up anything unlucky enough to come anywhere near them.
But some scientists have different ideas about these dark behemoths and believe they may have played a vitally important role in the creation of our universe.
A black hole is an object so dense that not even light can escape it.
The point of no return is called the event horizon, beyond which is a ‘singularity’ in which the laws of physics break down and the density of matter becomes infinite.
It’s believed that the Big Bang which formed our universe came from a singularity in which all the mass and space-time we now see around us were packed into a space of somewhere between the size of a human head and a city block.
Out of this tiny space sprung the building blocks of everything we know and love (as well as the stuff we hate too), forming our unfeasibly gigantic universe.
Now scientists are exploring whether we’re actually still living in a black hole and exploring whether the birth of everything was like a reverse of the process by which these dark monsters swallow up matter.
Everything we knew about the universe could be totally wrong.
Some researchers believe the universe emerged from the collapse of a star in a very different reality with five dimensions, meaning our reality was created by a black hole which we could still be living inside.
Robert Mann, professor of physics and applied mathematics at Canada’s University of Waterloo, told Express.co.uk: ‘We further want to connect with ideas of holography, which is the notion that gravitational physics in one dimension of space and time is equivalent to non-gravitational physics in one dimension smaller.
“As this was discussed, the idea was that we would be in the smaller dimension and that one dimension larger than us, in a five-dimensional universe, there could be some kind of five-dimensional star that could collapse into a black hole.
“There in the process be an explosion of a membrane of matter and that our universe was this membrane, so to speak.’