A Potential Solution to the Hawking Black Hole Paradox
Laura Burn discusses new findings in theoretical physics which may indicate a solution to Steven Hawking’s Black Hole information paradox .
In the 1970s Stephen Hawking made his breakthrough in theoretical physics with the discovery that black holes emit radiation, now called Hawking radiation, until they evaporate. This revelation, however, led to a paradox which has puzzled scientists for decades.
The black hole information paradox results from the combination of general relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking calculated that the radiation emitted by the black hole is only dependent on its current state, and not what was previously sucked into it. This suggests that all the information about anything that falls into a black hole is destroyed, which is forbidden by quantum mechanics. The laws of quantum mechanics say that the state of a system can be found at any point by extrapolating backwards or forwards in time, but if the information is destroyed then this is not possible.
Black hole paradox suggests that all the information about anything that falls into a black hole is destroyed, which is forbidden by quantum mechanics
Professor Xavier Calmet and his colleagues at the University of Sussex claim to have solved this paradox by showing that black holes have a property called “quantum hair”. They have been working on the mathematics behind this paradox for a decade and have made rapid advancements in the last year.
Their theory is that as matter falls into a black hole it leaves an imprint on its gravitational field, which is the “quantum hair,” and so information is not destroyed and the paradox is solved. Previously, it was thought that black holes were very simple objects and only defined by their masses and radii, but this theory suggests that two black holes with identical masses and radii would have slightly different gravitational fields due to what matter had already fallen into them.
Their theory is that as matter falls into a black hole it leaves an imprint on its gravitational field, which is the “quantum hair”
Nevertheless, there is currently no way to observationally or experimentally test this as the gravitational fluctuations, the “quantum hairs,” would be too small to measure. It is likely that, due to the lack of testing, the theory will be vigorously scrutinised by the scientific community.
This theory is also not quite complete, as there are questions left unanswered such as how light remains trapped while the information can escape. Despite the fact that this theory may not hold up for solving the information paradox, it may be a start to understanding quantum theories of gravity, which is another mystery in physics.