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Hawking cracks black hole paradox

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posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 03:45 PM

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.

Other physicists have tried to chip away at this paradox. Earlier in 2004, Samir Mathur of Ohio State University in Columbus and his colleagues showed that if a black hole is modelled according to string theory - in which the universe is made of tiny, vibrating strings rather than point-like particles - then the black hole becomes a giant tangle of strings. And the Hawking radiation emitted by this "fuzzball" does contain information about the insides of a black hole (New Scientist print edition, 13 March).

Much more at:

This appears to be promising. I'll update on the 21st as it is sure to be big news to us science geeks.

Edit: CNN is now running the same article

Edit2: Same article, but it has parts that were omitted from the previous two.


Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says black holes, the mysterious massive vortexes formed from collapsed stars, do not destroy everything they consume but instead eventually fire out matter and energy "in a mangled form."

Hawking's radical new thinking was presented in a paper to the 17th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin.

Hawking's answer is that the black holes hold their contents for eons but themselves eventually deteriorate and die. As the black hole disintegrates, they send their transformed contents back out into the infinite universal horizons from whence they came.

Previously, Hawking, 62, had held out the possibility that disappearing matter travels through the black hole to a new parallel universe -- the very stuff of most visionary science fiction.

"There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought. The information remains firmly in our universe," Hawking said in a speech to the conference.

"I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes," he said.

"If you jump into a black hole, your mass energy will be returned to our universe, but in a mangled form, which contains the information about what you were like, but in an unrecognizable state."


[edit on 22-7-2004 by Jonna]

posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 04:04 PM
Please do! I'm a real fan of Hawking, BTW. This is exciting news.

posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 04:40 PM
Wow this is cool. Hope they fiind more information of black holes, and how to survive them in the future. I think black holes are cool.

posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 04:47 PM

Originally posted by AD5673
Hope they fiind more information of black holes, and how to survive them in the future.

I fear what you mean by survive them. If you are near a black hole or within an event horizon....there is no survival for any matter...let alone life.

Hawking has done some great work. I just wish people didn't recognize it AFTER he lost the use of his body.

posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 11:28 PM
Hey all, had to chime in on the "Science Nerd" theme with a shameless plug for my thread on the topic here. There's a free series you can download that was produced for PBS that is excellent! If you like this sorta stuff definately check it out! Science rules.

Calculon386's Link to The Elegant Universe

posted on Jul, 14 2004 @ 11:38 PM
String theory is kinda of like God there is no experiment that can prove or disprove it and most likely there never will be. Quatum mechanics alone cannot understand Blackholes because it works on a small quatum scale but deals with large amounts of gravity and matter which obey different Laws. I think until we fully understand and prove a Unified theory black holes will remain a enigma.

posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 04:56 PM
That T.V. show is one of the most informative and entertaining science shows I have ever watched. I recommend it to everyone even if your not into science really, very well put toghether.

Nice find Jonna! I'll be looking forward to up and coming new information and theories.

posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 08:32 AM
Calculon386 and ShadowXIX: String theory is one way of approaching the fact that all matter is nothing more than standing wave patterns of energy. Personally, I find it easier to just visualize the standing waves.

The implications of Dr. Hawking's latest revelations are staggering. If they are confirmed by observation, this will change a lot of textbooks.

It will be very interesting to see how he supports his latest theories.

posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 08:42 AM
You got a two day jump on me!

I saw a news report about this just last night... so I looked online for news and posted a new topic about it this a.m. ... which was promptly closed!

I find this fascinating! I wish I could be in Dublin when he presents his findings next week.

Nothing like standing your own previous theory on its ear...

posted on Jul, 16 2004 @ 08:46 AM
I too am a big Hawkins fan and was reading thei last night before I went to bed.....I'm very interested in following this! Very, very interesting stuff!!!!!

posted on Jul, 22 2004 @ 09:25 AM
Original post has been updated.

posted on Jul, 22 2004 @ 02:11 PM
Having this paradox fixed/cracked, doesn't mean that black holes actually exist. Just for the all of the information now available, we all now know that information may be able to get out of the black hole, radiated or deformed. Anyways, black holes can't be seen in space as they're just a space filled with dense gravity pulling in all mass and light around it. They only direct black holes indirectly as we've never encountered one.

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