Astrologists and physicists have always liked the idea of toying with black holes. They are fascinating, dark and challenged experts’ imagination. But one theory that might have crossed other people’s minds was enforced yesterday by none other than Stephen Hawking: black holes might be the key to other universes.
Hawking began his statement with a funny observation, mentioning that “if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up.” He proceeded to explain how black holes are not “the eternal prisons” which mankind believe them to be until now. They can be doors to other universes from which, sadly, we would never be able to come back.
The KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm witnessed yesterday how Hawking tried to explain his new understanding of black holes. It is not necessarily a new idea, but trying to establish an answer to a question that has been tearing scientists apart in the last 40 years or more.
So let’s start with the basics. In physics, there is a theory that is called “the information paradox”. We all know that things are made up of atoms, the smallest particles in any object, gas, etc. What is smaller than atoms is known in physics as information. Information cannot be destroyed. Ever.
But black holes, well, they defy the laws of physics itself and are known to destroy absolutely everything. And this is the paradox: information cannot be destroyed, but a black hole can destroy information.
But there might be a way in which information prevails. Not in the same form that it was originally created, not here and not now. The only way such things would be possible is for the information to remain at the edge of the black hole, somehow defying the gravitational force that is pulling all matter inside towards singularity.
And here is where our limitations as humans come in: we can only measure the mass, electric charge and the spin of the black hole. Nothing else. Everything within the hole is hidden from our sight.
This is where Hawking explained his understanding. According to him, information is preserved at the edge of the black hole, more commonly known as the event horizon. In order to make it very simple, he compared the information to an encyclopedia which was burnt down. The information remains, it is still there, but in a rather useless form that cannot be deciphered.
While the issue remain highly debatable, Hawking and his partners are expected to release a paper with the exact details in the following months. Hopefully, we will be one step closer to understanding how black holes work.
Photo Credits flickr.com