The latest Stephen Hawking revelation about black holes

What would you think if you were to come across a paper in a renowned scientific journal, claiming that the third law of motion given by Newton was wrong? We’re sure you’ll be surprised. Then, what would be your reaction, if you came to know that the paper was written by none other than Newton himself? You’ll be baffled, right? Get ready to be baffled again, as Stephen Hawking has more than made it obvious that he believes that black holes don’t exist. What’s more, it’s a complete study with several assertions and conclusions. Titled “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes”, this study can be accessed on arXiv. Black holes have always fascinated the human mind, and are easily at the top of the popularity charts of physics related issues that are attracting research and analysis.

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A quick background on black holes, Stephen Hawking, and the puzzles that black holes have been throwing up at humans

Black Holes have been known as massive objects with immense gravitational pull, to the extent that even light can’t escape the pull, thus landing the object in complete darkness. The distance over which this immense pull is affected is called the ‘event horizon’. It was in the 1970s when Hawking shot to international fame with his work on black holes, primarily towards explaining that these holes don’t just consume up stuff, but also release mass in the form of what’s known as Hawking Radiation, thus reducing to nothingness eventually. The unsurpassed gravitational pull of black homes has rendered mathematicians and experts of studies of universe unable to reconcile general relativity theories and quantum mechanics.

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Whereas quantum mechanics principles theoretically propose that the radiation being released by the holes can be reconstructed to know what initially fell into the hole. However, if general relativity coupled with the theory that nothing makes it past the event horizon holds, then we enter a contradiction, which is referred to as the Information Paradox. This isn’t where the quandaries end; there are more puzzles pertaining to string theory, wormholes, quantum enlargement. The whole concept has been succinctly explained on New Statesman.

 

What exactly does Stephen Hawking have to say now?

In 2005, in order to explain the ‘firewall’ issue, Stephen Hawking is of the view that there is no event horizon as such. Instead, there’s what he calls as an ‘apparent horizon’. How is it any different from the event horizon? Well, Hawking says that the apparent horizon doesn’t entrap stuff forever. Instead, it just scrambles and delays the stuff. In effect, he is suggesting that the whole idea of black holes not letting entrapped things go out might be flawed. Again – it’s not about ‘black holes’ not existing. But, it is about black holes not existing ‘in the way we’ve always believed’. Here are some more facts about the baffling study that has come from Hawking’s vaults to hit the physics world, as shared by Discover.

  • The study has been published on arXiv, which is a preprint server. So, the analysis hasn’t gone through peer review as yet.
  • The 3 page report doesn’t contain any mathematical equations.
  • Hawking moderated his work by commenting that the correct treatment of the ”firewall” issue remained a mystery.

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So, it is pretty obvious that the next few months are going to be rife with debate about the black holes, and whether they are actually the greedy bodies that consume anything in their vicinities forever or not.

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