After nearly 30 years of arguing that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, Stephen Hawking is saying he was wrong. It seems that black holes may after all allow information within them to escape. Hawking will present his latest finding at a conference in Ireland next week.
The about-turn might cost Hawking, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, an encyclopaedia because of a bet he made in 1997. More importantly, it might solve one of the long-standing puzzles in modern physics, known as the black hole information paradox.
It was Hawking’s own work that created the paradox. In 1976, he calculated that once a black hole forms, it starts losing mass by radiating energy. This “Hawking radiation” contains no information about the matter inside the black hole and once the black hole evaporates, all information is lost.
But this conflicts with the laws of quantum physics, which say that such information can never be completely wiped out. Hawking’s argument was that the intense gravitational fields of black holes somehow unravel the laws of quantum physics.
“I have been thinking about this problem for 30 years, but I now have an answer to it,” he explained.
“The black hole only appears to form but later opens up and releases information about what fell in, so we can be sure of the past and we can predict the future.”
The U-turn could cost Professor Hawking an encyclopaedia. He and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology, made a bet on the subject with an opponent of the idea, John Preskill, also of Caltech.
Hawking and Thorne are expected to present Preskill with an encyclopaedia of his choice.
excellent read mate! And nice to see string theory getting proper consideration too
tbh, the fact that black holes emit radiation always struck me as a funny idea…
Okay I understand the whole particle/anti-particle sprigning into existence on “borrowed” energy only for one to be sucked into the black hole… but I never understood why a particle would be favoured over it’s anti-particle - thus balancing out this type of radiation.
The polar streams though I would definately think give an indication of the type of matter that has fallen in to the black hole, unless of course all matter that falls in get broken down into base elements thus giving a “standard” stream of radiation.
not that I read books on string theory, chaos theory and the nature of reality as a light hobby :uhh: