No Black Holes Exist, Says Stephen Hawking

According to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, Black Holes do not have Event Horizons.

Black Holes, one of the most mysterious objects in the Universe but wait, a new study from Stephen Hawking says that black holes may not possess firewalls destructive belts of radiation that some researchers have proposed would destroy anything that passes through them.

The conventional view of black holes posits that their gravitational pull is so powerful that nothing can escape from them—not even light, which is why they’re called so ‘black’ holes and the boundary before which there is supposedly no return is known as the event horizon.

The Problem with Black Hole

Actually, all information about anything that ventures past a black hole’s event horizon is destroyed. On the other hand, in quantum physics, the best description till now of how the universe behaves on a subatomic level, suggests that information cannot ever be destroyed, leading to a fundamental conflict in theory.

This contradicts the existence of Event Horizons.

No Event Horizons

Now to overcome this problem, Hawking is suggesting a resolution to the paradox: Black holes do not possess event horizons after all, so they do not destroy information.

“The absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes, in the sense of regimes from which light can’t escape,” Hawking wrote this in a paper which he posted online on January 22. The paper was based on a talk he gave last August at a workshop at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California.

Instead, Hawking proposes that black holes possess “apparent horizons” that only temporarily entrap matter and energy that can eventually reemerge as radiation. This outgoing radiation possesses all the original information about what fell into the black hole, although in radically different form. Since the outgoing information is scrambled, Hawking writes, there’s no practical way to reconstruct anything that fell in based on what comes out. The scrambling occurs because the apparent horizon is chaotic in nature, kind of like weather on Earth.

We can’t reconstruct what an object that fell into a black hole was like based on information leaking from it, Hawking writes, just as “one can’t predict the weather more than a few days in advance.”

No Firewalls

Hawking’s reasoning against event horizons also seems to eliminate so-called firewalls, which are searing zones of intense radiation that some scientists recently (and controversially) suggested may exist at or near event horizons.
To grasp the significance of this revision, it helps to know that Hawking revealed decades ago that black holes are not perfectly “black.” Instead, they emit radiation just beyond their event horizons, the energy of their gravitational fields causing pairs of particles to pop into existence in the surrounding vacuum.

Over time, generating this so-called Hawking radiation makes black holes lose mass—or even completely evaporate.
According to this theory, the pairs of particles created around black holes should be entangled with each other. This means the behaviour of each pair’s particles is connected, regardless of distance. One member of each pair falls into the black hole while the other escapes.

But recent analyses suggest that each particle leaving a black hole must also be entangled with every outgoing particle that has already left. This runs head-on into a well-tested principle of quantum physics stating that entanglement is always “monogamous,” meaning two particles, and only two, are paired from the time of their creation.
Since no particle can have two kinds of entanglement at the same time—one pairing it with another particle at the time of its origin, and one pairing it with all other particles that have left a black hole—one of those entanglements theoretically must get uncoupled, release vast amounts of energy and generating a firewall.

Firewalls obey quantum physics, solving the conundrum black holes pose regarding entanglement. But they pose another problem by contradicting Einstein’s well-tested “equivalence principle,” which implies that crossing a black hole’s event horizon should be an unremarkable event. A hypothetical astronaut passing across an event horizon would not even be aware of the transit. If there were a firewall, however, the astronaut would be instantly incinerated. Since that violates Einstein’s principle, Hawking and others have sought to prove that firewalls are impossible.

“It almost sounds like he is replacing the firewall with a chaos-wall,” said Kavli Institute physicist Joe Polchinski, who did not participate in Hawking’s work.

11 thoughts on “No Black Holes Exist, Says Stephen Hawking

  1. I am somewhat confused, to say the least. Taking, for example the Schwarzschild mathematical model of a spherically symmetric mass and its effects on the surrounding space, we have every reason to believe that black holes DO exist! And that ‘straight lines’ become so distorted by very large super-dense masses that this alone will mean that light, or anything, becomes trapped (i.e. following ‘straight lines’ near the centre will not lead you anywhere to escape). But the title of your article says black holes DON’T exist! Sorry, I don’t get it.

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