Stephen Hawking changes his mind on black holes

The new paper tweaks Hawking's previous theory on black holes.
By Ananth Baliga  |  Updated Jan. 28, 2014 at 9:20 AM
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ITHACA, N.Y., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Stephen Hawking has released a new paper suggesting that event horizons, the outer boundary of a black hole where objects get "sucked in," may only be apparent and not real.

His paper, called "Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes," is in response to recent questions raised about event horizons, in a theory known the 'firewall paradox.' According to the paradox, the quantum fluctuations around these event horizons would generate their own field and incinerate anything trying to reach the event horizon, let alone pass through it.

Hawking's new paper seems to conveniently eliminates event horizons, suggesting that due to the quantum fluctuation around the black hole making it impossible for a sharp boundary to exist, only an "apparent horizon" is observed.

"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," said Hawking, who spent his life studying black holes, even becoming the first to suggest the black holes emit radiation, now known as Hawking radiation.

"There are however apparent horizons which persist for a period of time. This suggests that black holes should be redefined as metastable bound states of the gravitational field."

His new theory means that light rays attempting to escape the black hole would remain suspended near the black hole's core.

[Cornell University Library] [Forbes]

[CORRECTION: A previous version of this story quoted a with a fictional quote from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.]>satirical Borowitz Report piece

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