Publication at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics |

2023

Fine-tuning generic but smooth spherically symmetric initial data for general relativity to the threshold of dynamical black hole formation creates arbitrarily large curvatures, mediated by a universal self-similar solution that acts as an intermediate attractor. For vacuum gravitational waves, however, these critical phenomena have been elusive.

We present, for the first time, excellent agreement among three independent numerical simulations of this collapse. Surprisingly, we find no universality, and observe approximate self-similarity for some families of initial data but not for others.