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Space Science

Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes' 458

ananyo writes "Stephen Hawking has proposed a new solution to the black-hole firewall paradox, which has been vexing physicists for almost two years. The paradox troubles physicists because if the firewall scenario is correct, Einstein's general theory of relativity is flouted. But the classical theory black hole cannot be reconciled to the quantum mechanical prediction that energy and information can escape from a black hole. Now Hawking has proposed a tantalizingly simple solution to the paradox which allows both quantum mechanics and general relativity to remain intact — black holes simply do not have an event horizon to catch fire. The key to his claim is that quantum effects around the black hole cause spacetime to fluctuate too wildly for a sharp boundary surface to exist. As Hawking writes in his paper, 'The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.'"
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Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes'

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  • by atouk ( 1336461 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @09:59AM (#46055569)
    Does that mean that he gets his $100 back he lost to John Preskill?
  • Or maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:03AM (#46055613) Journal
    The event horizon oscillates faster than the speed of light over a greater distance than quantum tunneling can occur. Inbound light would follow the wavefront in, only to become trapped as the next wave built outside its escape range.
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:43AM (#46055915)
    There's also a discrepancy involving the size of the proton. Measuring the size two different ways gives two different results, which is unpossible. There must be something going on during these experiments that we don't understand yet.
  • by psionski ( 1272720 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @10:56AM (#46056089) Homepage
    Nope, he was arguing that quantum physics is wrong and black holes don't emit information - [] . Now it seems this is pretty much settled - they do, the question is only how.
  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:48AM (#46056773)

    Dark matter is required to account for the structure of our galaxy. Sans dark matter, there is not enough observed mass by an order of magnitude in our galaxy to account for the observed galactic rotation curve.

    "Unseen matter" is actually the softball bet their, as opposed to the idea that somehow - and nobody really knows or has ever seen how - gravity works differently over long distances. It's just the unseen matter has to have specific properties to fit with observation.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @11:52AM (#46056813)

    Asimov wrote that great letter - the relativity of wrong. []

    Any new theory has to account for why the old theory worked for the cases it did. General relativity simplifies at low speeds to Newtonian mechanics for example.

    Or from the letter - the Earth is round, but assuming it's flat over short distances is perfectly valid (and we do it all the time - the idea of building level or flat floors for example).

  • by Will.Woodhull ( 1038600 ) <> on Friday January 24, 2014 @12:18PM (#46057109) Homepage Journal

    Interesting troll. A bit heavy handed, though. If I were to grade it, if it was written by a high school student it would get a C+, if written by a college student, it would rate a D- (barely passing).

    Point of interest: the Copenhagen convention suggests that there is no possibility of a physics Out There. That all physicists can do is make mental models of whatever reality might be, and play around with those models, since reality itself is unobservable without the distortions of observer bias. There are some things we think we know, and there are some things that we know that we can never know (such as what is happening in close proximity to a singularity, or why is Pi 3.14159... and not something else). And it turns out that because there are some things that we know we can never know, we can't be sure about any of the things we think we know.

    So, yes, AC is completely correct: relativity is wrong. Also quantum mechanics is wrong. Also classical physics is wrong. It is all wrong. So what? Asking whether this stuff is right or wrong is asking the wrong question. The right questions to ask of any physics model are: How useful is it, and what is its scope of usefulness?

    We are the tool using monkeys. We are not Gods. Don't sweat the Really Big Stuff. Do something with the tools: make more tools, make some fun toys and games. That's what we do best. And, that's all that we can do.

  • by Agent0013 ( 828350 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @01:23PM (#46057883) Journal
    I always hear about this galactic rotation curve. I understand that there are other observations that seem to point the way to there being extra matter also, but the curve idea give rise to a question I have. Have physicists taken into account that the stars nearer the center of the galaxy are in a deeper gravity well and so will experience time at a different rate than the stars out at the edge. Also, the stars at the edge are moving faster, so they have a speed factor to their local time. If time is changing as you move from the center to the edge, then I would not expect things to appear right to someone who calculates how things should look by some computer simulation if the simulated galaxy has consistent time throughout.
  • by rgbatduke ( 1231380 ) <rgb@ph y . d u k> on Friday January 24, 2014 @01:47PM (#46058225) Homepage

    Indeed, many specific religions go two steps further even than that. They begin with a self-referential statement affirming the perfect truth of the religious scripture, which is true because it is part of the religious scripture. Then, as you say, anything that is contained in that religious scripture is perfectly true, by definition, no matter how apparently internally inconsistent (contradictions within the scripture), externally inconsistent (contradictions with simple matters of fact derived from reason and observation), morally inconsistent (contradictions with accepted morality, e.g. is or isn't slavery good, is marriage by rape and a payment of 50 shekels morally acceptable, is it morally just to slaughter Midianite women and children except for the young female virgins and to subject them to rape and slavery, should we kill old women accused of being witches given that there is no such thing as an actual witch).

    Since some of these things offend mere common sense to an enormous extent, religion has invented "hermeneutics" and "exegesis" as complex forms of interpretation of scriptural text whose sole purpose is to reduce the extreme cognitive dissonance induced by trying to believe that A and Not A are simultaneously true when they happen to be written in a religious text. Doublethink is alive and well and living in a religion near you.

    The second step that they add is that in ordinary discourse and the usual scientific investigative process that we used to systematically refine a consistent set of beliefs in reasonable agreement with evidence, the only penalties associated with being wrong are natural ones that consistently fit in with the general framework of the scientific worldview -- if you fail to believe that the law of gravitation will apply to you and step off of the roof of a tall building, it is likely to be the last experiment you ever perform (likely in a specific and defensible sense, since of course it might always be the case that you have been sprinkled with fairy dust or have accomplished a sufficiently strong belief in The Force that the force of gravity does not cause you to splatter at the bottom of a long drop, it has just never been observed to be the case and is hence very unlikely from a Bayesian point of view at least). In the religious worldview, however, there is an entire hidden world where things happen that we cannot observe but that are precisely and correctly delineated in the aforementioned scripture. It is a second issue because religion makes many pronouncements on matters that cannot ever be contradicted by experience -- indeed, it revels in this and claims it as its "higher" ground.

    So when a divinely inspired, perfectly true (if only after massive "interpretation") religious scripture tells you that if you fail to believe that every word in that scripture that the scripture itself assures you is perfectly true is, in fact, true, you will be cast into a fiery pit so that your skin can be burned off of your living body and then instantly regrown to be burned off again, repeated to infinity and beyond, it is self-consistently guaranteed to be true. The Quran tells us so. The New Testament tells us so perhaps a bit less graphically. The general texts of Hinduism assure us that unbelievers who fail to obey its precepts will be reincarnated as intestinal parasites living in a dog or the like.

    The core of most scripture-based religious belief is, in fact, supernatural posthumous extortion in the form of events that cannot ever be objectively verified but that are so extreme that they tempt even the rational to make Pascal's Wager, coupled with a system of equally unverifiable posthumous rewards for those who meekly acquiesce in the entire ball of scriptural wax and the consequent transfer of political power, social status, and wealth to the priesthood tasked with "interpreting" the very scriptures that, after all, are perfectly true. They say so, and if you don't believe (perhaps because yo

  • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @03:44PM (#46059955)

    Of course Relativity is flawed. The point is that it's far less flawed than Newtonian mechanics. And that so far nobody has yet managed to come up with something even less flawed. That's called science - there no room for Truth, only successively more accurate approximations.

    If you have a better theory, please shareit, but it better be able to explain everything explained by Relativity, plus create entirely new predictions confirmed by reality. Otherwise expect to be laughed off the stage.

  • "Hawking Dogma" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Friday January 24, 2014 @04:55PM (#46060843) Journal

    look, I don't understand why I have to suck up to Hawking by quoting his resume to you in order to criticize his science

    he's a scientist and public figure who presented research...fair game...i know he's a genius & has done great work but **fuck that**

    what is THIS theory? seriously read through this many /.'ers dont even discuss the actual theory or physics or cosmology they just argue about Hawking

    I want to discuss the actual research & theory

    if this idea holds up, it is a statement that classical black holes do not exist.

    no, it will be a statement that **Hawking's Version** of Black Holes do not exist...which we already know anyway

    Hawking is not the be-all-end-all of black hole research...his cosmology was & still is popular but he's become biased egregiously to his own legacy

    Black Holes are bubbles of Quantum Foam. They are the same as what is beyond the horizon of the universe itself. The Event Horizon simultaneously has a quantum entaglement with anything that touches it's surface (the hologram) then all that it was, light, matter, radiation, etc etc. gets turned into the pure randomness of the black hole itself.

    Black Holes are truly pure nothingness. Nothing escapes it but the total area of the event horizon expands in relation to the matter/energy that touches it.

    Hawking is a genius but he crosses the line of scientific skepticism. He's actually a very biased scientist promoting an agenda. His book a brief history of time has a late chapter where he theorizes that a 'god' could not exist in two of 4 types of being a universe that ends in heat death. He crosses the line of skepticism into promoting an agenda.

    you could defend him by noting that none other than Sir Issac Newton did the same thing...but Newton's reputation and his enduring work are separate is hype one is what matters to this discussion. Newton's theories were **helpful**...I'm sorry that Hawking felt Cambridge crammed them down is throat like dogma but the solution is not to react in the opposite way!

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.