Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Not So Dark Department

Stephen Hawking claims to have solved the black-hole paradox. This means that information can sometimes flow back out of a black hole. The paradox has been that, on the one hand, quantum mechanics demands, roughly speaking, that on a very low level nothing can ever be completely absolute. Thus, even in a complete vacuum there has to be a certain low level of energy, with particles bubbling up out of nothing and disappearing again all the time. And even in a black hole there has to be a certain amount of information bubbling out. But, on the other hand, relativity theory, as heretofore understood, has implied that nothing but nothing ever comes out of a black hole once it had the misfortune to enter it. These can't both be right. This is yet another instance where the contradictions between the two best scientific theories known to mankind--relativity theory and quantum mechanics--come to the fore. One of the most salient frontiers in current research in Physics is the attempt to reconcile these.

By the way, check out the links on black holes at the bottom of the link. These include: 'Massive black holes common in early Universe', 'Giant black hole caught devouring star', and 'Black holes "detonating all over our Galaxy"'. It really doesn't get more dramatic than that.


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