The niggling problem with the theory of black holes has been what is termed the ‘information paradox.’ Now, at the Hawking Radiation conference held at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, famed physicist Stephen Hawking says he may have solved the conundrum.
According to the laws of quantum mechanics, all information is forever encoded and can never completely disappear. But black holes, which are created when massive stars collapse in on themselves, are supposed to be places in space that suck up all the matter around them and where gravity is so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape.
The problem: how to reconcile these two apparently contradictory laws of physics.
Hawking’s latest idea says that the information encoded in objects that appears to be sucked irretrievably into a black hole never actually falls in. Rather, it remains trapped at the edge of the black hole on the surface of its event horizon, where it is encoded in a two dimensional hologram.
“The information is not stored in the interior of the black hole as one might expect, but in its boundary—the event horizon,” said Hawking, as reported in a KTH Royal Institute of Technology statement. “The idea is the super translations are a hologram of the ingoing particles. Thus, they contain all the information that would otherwise be lost.”
Intriguingly, Hawking suggests that if a rotating black hole were large enough, it might provide “a passage to another universe.” But, he added, it would be a one-way trip because “you couldn’t come back to our universe.”
Hawking joins more than 30 world-renowned physicists at the week-long conference on black holes and the information paradox.