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If this Hawking radiation exists, "then what's going to happen is that these black holes will gradually, gradually shrink."
At a certain point, those black holes would disintegrate entirely, An said, leaving the universe a massless soup of photons and gravitons.
"The thing about this period of time is that massless gravitons and photons don't really experience time or space," he said.
So, a universe filled with only gravitons or photons will not have any sense of what is time or what is space," An said.
At that point, some physicists (including Penrose) argue, the vast, empty, post-black-hole universe starts to resemble the ultra-compressed universe at the moment of the big bang, where there's no time or distance between anything.
"And then it starts all over again," An said