Stephen Hawking Claims "There Are No Black Holes"

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Stephen Hawking Claims "There Are No Black Holes"

Black Hole 1

Not as we know them, anyway. Stephen Hawking's latest research into quantum theory may redefine what we know about black holes.

There's a lot we don't know about space - it is the final frontier, after all. But as it turns out, even some of what we thought we knew about space isn't actually correct. Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who has already made massive contributions to our understanding of black holes, has published a paper stating that the conventional model of black holes is flawed. His claim hinges on one of the defining aspects of black holes, the event horizon - which according to Hawking, might not exist.

Black holes, as we currently think of them, are surrounded by an event horizon. This radius marks the distance at which the pull of the black hole is so strong that nothing can escape, including light - hence the name, "black hole." However, there is an unsolved mystery regarding event horizons called the firewall paradox: the current models of quantum theory and general relativity don't agree on what should happen once you cross the event horizon.

Hawking proposes a new model that agrees with both quantum theory and general relativity. His idea is that event horizons don't actually exist; instead, there is an "apparent horizon" at roughly (but not exactly) the same distance from the black hole. There's some advanced theory about space-time fluctuations at the heart of it, but the takeaway is that quantum mechanics allows energy and information to escape the pull of a black hole.

"The absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes," Hawking writes, "... in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity." The idea that information can escape the apparent horizon of a black hole opens the door for a closer study of these cosmic regions, but don't go diving in just yet. Hawking's new theory doesn't answer all the questions, and relies on some unproven assumptions. His new paper, "Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes," has yet to pass peer review.

Of course, even if these things don't behave quite like we thought they did, we'll still call them black holes. "Gray holes" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Source: arXiv, via Nature

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Seems a little sensational to say there are no black holes; the object known as black holes will continue to be known as black holes, but our understanding and view of them will morph substantially with time.

I love Stephen. He's my second favorite theoretical physicist.

And he could say they are made of pixie dust. Honestly, Black holes ore rather Ultradense matter creates a connundrum for physics in that they literally don't know how to apporach it since when they plug numbers like that into their equations their calculators flip them the bird. Sort of like the idea that nothing can be faster than light... there could well be energy forms faster but for the purpose of our understanding, the idea of something moving faster than light breaks to many of the rules we hold as 100% accurate.

It's the same here, what we know about black holes and physics contradict, and since black holes are very unknown it's easier to just state that they work in some other way the than to concede that the laws we thought we understood may not work the way we thought they did.

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen... We know you're a genius AND we know that you're the first to admit to a mistake if ever you've made one and I know that in the past you have...but you could wait until something properly breaks the parameters of the theory before creating a new one to discount it. We understand that we know next to nothing ultimately proveable about black holes insofar as their internal functions are concerned. You don't have to work double-time on the matter. Furthermore, as human beings are the inventor of the term 'black hole', it's still gonna be a black hole even under the new heading. I'm glad that you're still up to the challenge, but what are the other theorists gonna do while you have all the fun?

So less "there ar e no black holes" and more "black holes function differently then we previously assumed". The Singularity Formally Knows As Black Hole?

Still cool though ^^

Interesting. I'm not one for the science behind it all but its cool when Stephen speaks up about space events.

'Black Hole' is just too cool to throw out though.

It's amazing how much that man has done while sitting in a chair with his head cocked to the side and moving a finger around. Certainly more than me, and for the most part I'm doing the same thing.

Black holes are cool. I hope we reach a better understanding of them in my lifetime. It wouldn't hurt to know more things about them before I lose all the things I know about everything. Not that it would matter.

Whoa, got a bit nihilistic there all of a sudden.

So he's basically trying to undermine the movie "Event Horizon" from 1997 by rendering its name without scientific meaning. Low blow, Steve, low blow.

It's all theories based on possibly faulty information, with little to no practical application to the human race. We take for instance the fact that the speed of light is constant, for granted, but that may not actually be true. The speed of light we can observe and that is measurable by us may be constant because there are no massive gravitational forces being applied to the light near us, but....light speed may always start at a constant, but could possible increase or decrease in base speed based on forces that are applied to it. That could invalidate most of the findings/theories we have of the universe since almost the evidence we use, is based on light.

In addition, as always, you have relativity to factor in. Everything is relative, and without having a singular source to compare all other objects to, determining the specific speed of any object is impossible. You are just determining the speed of an object relative to other objects.

In the end, it really doesn't make much of a difference at all, until we have additional means of gathering information and for that matter, a reason to do so. Otherwise, it's just speculation/theories...which might be interesting to think about...but it's not very applicable to us in any real physical way currently.

Didn't he already propose something like this? I thought that was where the hypothetical "Hawking radiation" comes from.

The alternative theory to" Black Holes" is called "Dark Energy Stars".

wulfy42:
We take for instance the fact that the speed of light is constant, for granted, but that may not actually be true. The speed of light we can observe and that is measurable by us may be constant because there are no massive gravitational forces being applied to the light near us, but....light speed may always start at a constant, but could possible increase or decrease in base speed based on forces that are applied to it. That could invalidate most of the findings/theories we have of the universe since almost the evidence we use, is based on light.

I thought the current theory was that the speed of light and c (that is, the actual speed of light and the "speed of light" used in special relativity) are separate concepts. The speed light moves at isn't constant, and what we consider lightspeed is a property of the universe itself, the upper limit after which nothing, including light, can move.

I could be (and almost certainly am) wrong, though.

"the current models of quantum theory and general relativity don't agree on what should happen once you cross the event horizon."

I didn't know there were any models/theories predicting what happens once something crosses the event horizon. Space itself (and all matter) is falling towards the singularity faster than light, and there are no models/theories explaining what happens when something goes faster than light.

Hawking Radiation makes a lot of sense on paper, but it doesn't really explain how information can be preserved AFTER it has crossed the event horizon. All we know is that Black Holes still have the same 3 aspects which define it: mass, charge and spin. Regardless of what falls into it, it's all made part of the singularity and that information is lost. It's still one of the "simplest" objects in the universe :P

FalloutJack:
Stephen, Stephen, Stephen... We know you're a genius AND we know that you're the first to admit to a mistake if ever you've made one and I know that in the past you have...but you could wait until something properly breaks the parameters of the theory before creating a new one to discount it.

There have always been problems with the black hole models we have, and it makes sense that Hawking would be working to come up with a way to rectify that.

Science works by advancing as our understanding advances to be more precise. Hawking's new proposal appears to have come out of an attempt to reconcile issues with the old one.

JamesBr:
So less "there ar e no black holes" and more "black holes function differently then we previously assumed". The Singularity Formally Knows As Black Hole?

Still cool though ^^

And in a century or two, just "The Singularity." Finally, after much legal issues, it will be able to use "Black Hole" again, but will largely be identified by a strange symbol.

wulfy42:
It's all theories based on possibly faulty information, with little to no practical application to the human race. We take for instance the fact that the speed of light is constant, for granted, but that may not actually be true. The speed of light we can observe and that is measurable by us may be constant because there are no massive gravitational forces being applied to the light near us, but....light speed may always start at a constant, but could possible increase or decrease in base speed based on forces that are applied to it. That could invalidate most of the findings/theories we have of the universe since almost the evidence we use, is based on light.

It could be possible but without any evidence to contradict it, the reliability of our models are such as to make no practical difference. It's possible that giant pink ponies spontaneously appear in space playing jazz trombone, but unless there's an impact we can observe, so what?

The Black Hole model does impact our observation, however.

Ok to be that guy again and I expect to be burned at the stake for this but.

Has Hawking ever done anything useful. I mean we have other scientist who have create cures. We have ones trying to find the means to make energy with out polluting the earth. This guys comes up with idea and theories and stays in the public eye. For the most part it seem like it can't be proven or unproven. So yeah that it.

IceStar100:
Has Hawking ever done anything useful?

Just because a practical application hasn't been found by a specific line of research doesn't make it invalid. For one, there's no way to know the results of something. People who invented x-rays and MRI's weren't doctors, they were physicists. The medical usage for those phenomenon was just a happy coincidence to people seemingly "dicking around" with particles.

Second, what he's doing, trying figure out exactly how the universe functions may be just a step in the process of developing inter-stellar travel or something. Knowing what's going on in a Black Hole might just be useful when we're trying to get across the galaxy without getting crunched into a singularity.

Yes, yes, I know some of these words!

All this space stuff usually flies over my head, though it is interesting, what I can understand of it anyhow.

I have to wonder though, does this mean anything at all? To the general man, they will still just be black holes.

nothing in nature that we know of so far has been so definitive and absolute as an event horizon, makes sense that its a relative region rather than an strict divide. nobody would listen or care if he said, "black holes are in reality just really really dark gray holes", the eye-catching title makes sense. the advent of the very nearly black hole may not mean much now, but if proven a valid theory, its a serious breakthrough in one of the great mysteries mankind is currently faced with, and understanding such an extreme natural event would absolutely lead to some amazing technologies down the road.

Nokturos:
So he's basically trying to undermine the movie "Event Horizon" from 1997 by rendering its name without scientific meaning. Low blow, Steve, low blow.

He's just pissed off that they gave the lead role to Laurence Fishburne. Then he got snubbed by producers again when they decided he wasn't appropriate for the role of Morpheus andgave it to, you guessed it, Fishburne. Those guys hate each other.

IceStar100:
Has Hawking ever done anything useful.

Have poets ever done anything useful?

In a few decades time Hawking's work figuring out black holes could be useful if we decide to piss off in to space and want to avoid horrible death. Plus if the speculative documentary Ultraviolet is true then we will be able to put miniature black holes inside belt buckles and ride motorbikes on the sides of skyscrapers.

Roofstone:
I have to wonder though, does this mean anything at all? To the general man, they will still just be black holes.

Nothing changes, it's just popular science throwing words around. Black holes are still things smaller than their schwarzschild radius (that means they are smaller than the necessary size for their gravity to allow things with the speed of light to escape - contrast event horizon, where NOTHING escapes).
Also what the hell? Scientists advertise quantum entanglement for years, and just now he thinks of applying that problem (together with the millions of other implications) to his (already pretty much proven as completely broken) theory? whargarbhl?

I don't really agree with this, I thought black-holes were pretty well established after the creation that was Justin Bieber.

FalloutJack:
but you could wait until something properly breaks the parameters of the theory before creating a new one to discount it.

The Firewall Paradox mentioned in the article is exactly that. And he's not the only scientist to notice it.

IceStar100:
Ok to be that guy again and I expect to be burned at the stake for this but.

Has Hawking ever done anything useful. I mean we have other scientist who have create cures. We have ones trying to find the means to make energy with out polluting the earth. This guys comes up with idea and theories and stays in the public eye. For the most part it seem like it can't be proven or unproven. So yeah that it.

Complaining that theoretical physicists aren't doing useful things would be a lot more interesting a comment if you didn't make it using a machine powered by semiconductors [without quantum mechanics this could never be invented], with information either carried by fiberoptic cable [quantum mechanics] or wireless internet [relativity], potentially on a handheld device that uses GPS monitoring [relativity] to find your position.

The cutting edge of theoretical physics isn't about building crap for you. It's about discovering how the universe fucking works. Now, you might think that 'understanding how this universe works' might be useless, but your opinion is useless because you're obviously not an applied scientist. The APPLIED SCIENCES, the people who DO make the shit that makes our lives better, DO care about how the universe works, because once we understand how the universe works, we can actually use that understanding to build better and better shit.

Do you want teleporter machines and replicators and space ships? Well how the hell do you think we can get these awesome things if people like you don't want our scientists understanding how this world works enough to actually allow these technologies to exist? Cause with current understanding, they can't.

IceStar100:
Ok to be that guy again and I expect to be burned at the stake for this but.

Has Hawking ever done anything useful. I mean we have other scientist who have create cures. We have ones trying to find the means to make energy with out polluting the earth. This guys comes up with idea and theories and stays in the public eye. For the most part it seem like it can't be proven or unproven. So yeah that it.

The point of basic research is to allow practical research to build on it. Just like qualitative studies are often used as literary research for further, quantitative studies. Without basic research scientists, the engineers run out of scientific foundation to build on.

It's like the discovery of radiation. At first it "neato", then they created x-rays. Then someone found out some more mechanics about it, made a sustained reaction in a lead encasement, and a that research lead to nuclear reactors.

DracoSuave:

FalloutJack:
but you could wait until something properly breaks the parameters of the theory before creating a new one to discount it.

The Firewall Paradox mentioned in the article is exactly that. And he's not the only scientist to notice it.

*Had to look it up since the article did not expand on said paradox*

CAN so much be hinged upon whether you are pulled and compressed into a black hole or actually vaporized first by the pure energy pouring through it? Black hole theory has always been a topic of interest to me, but at some point I had to step back and say "Yeah, but when do we find more facts about it?", and then observations continue. We ARE getting better at this, no doubt, but...our long-distance observations aren't going to get these theories proven or disproven. What we should really do is shove something complex and unmanned in one and learn all we can learn while it still functions. I mean, we got Curiosity and Opportunity on Mars and that's the next best thing to actually being there and discovering things. Speculation and theory is fine, and I respect Stephen Hawking for doing it, but we need to catch up to the theory a bit with something practical and applied, otherwise all these theories are just shots in the dark, literally.

FalloutJack:

Speculation and theory is fine, and I respect Stephen Hawking for doing it, but we need to catch up to the theory a bit with something practical and applied, otherwise all these theories are just shots in the dark, literally.

The closest observed black hole is 1600 light years away. Even if you could launch that probe, the absolute earliest we could get data from it would be 3200 years from now, assuming we had some light-speed travel. Which we do not. Even assuming we managed to get such a thing 300 years from now, that means that we'd start collecting data at bare minimum, the year 5000.

We haven't even got the 'get a probe to the nearest star' thing figured out yet. Which we need greater levels of understanding of the universe for, which we need theoretical physicists to sort out. Without Hawking and Michio and such doing their work, you're not getting that probe you crave so much.

To put things in perspective, the only way we'd currently have data from that probe was if it was launched before the fall of the Roman Empire.

FalloutJack:
I mean, we got Curiosity and Opportunity on Mars and that's the next best thing to actually being there and discovering things.

We had centuries of theory before we even got into an Earth orbit, let alone got a probe on Mars. And it'll probably be decades before we can detect the wizarding school up there.

This is how we progress.

DracoSuave:

FalloutJack:

Speculation and theory is fine, and I respect Stephen Hawking for doing it, but we need to catch up to the theory a bit with something practical and applied, otherwise all these theories are just shots in the dark, literally.

The closest observed black hole is 1600 light years away. Even if you could launch that probe, the absolute earliest we could get data from it would be 3200 years from now, assuming we had some light-speed travel. Which we do not. Even assuming we managed to get such a thing 300 years from now, that means that we'd start collecting data at bare minimum, the year 5000.

We haven't even got the 'get a probe to the nearest star' thing figured out yet. Which we need greater levels of understanding of the universe for, which we need theoretical physicists to sort out. Without Hawking and Michio and such doing their work, you're not getting that probe you crave so much.

To put things in perspective, the only way we'd currently have data from that probe was if it was launched before the fall of the Roman Empire.

Hoo boy, I didn't say it was gonna be quick and easy. I was saying it should be done. If the year 5000 is your optimistic projection, think of how long it'll actually be. The point I was making was that this is what ya have to do to make headway now. After hypothesis comes experiment, the scientific method. There's a thing we have an idea on and lots of rationale, but not enough concrete evidence. At some point, you have to do something with it. It is understandably hard as hell and I acknowledge that, but there's no getting around it. So, while they're still debating on the matter, let's see someone build us a better probe, 'cause we need one.

He just wants it renamed as a "Hawking Hole". Stephen you egotistical bastard... ;) Seriously we love ya and all your mathematical craziness which I can't even begin to understand.
Also you're forever cool just because you actually appeared in Futurama. Twice. Also the Simpsons, three times so far. Oh yeah and so cool you were actually portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. And you were actually on Star Trek: TNG?? How the heck did I forget that?
Damn this guy is the coolest nerd/geek ever.

FalloutJack:

DracoSuave:

FalloutJack:

Speculation and theory is fine, and I respect Stephen Hawking for doing it, but we need to catch up to the theory a bit with something practical and applied, otherwise all these theories are just shots in the dark, literally.

The closest observed black hole is 1600 light years away. Even if you could launch that probe, the absolute earliest we could get data from it would be 3200 years from now, assuming we had some light-speed travel. Which we do not. Even assuming we managed to get such a thing 300 years from now, that means that we'd start collecting data at bare minimum, the year 5000.

We haven't even got the 'get a probe to the nearest star' thing figured out yet. Which we need greater levels of understanding of the universe for, which we need theoretical physicists to sort out. Without Hawking and Michio and such doing their work, you're not getting that probe you crave so much.

To put things in perspective, the only way we'd currently have data from that probe was if it was launched before the fall of the Roman Empire.

Hoo boy, I didn't say it was gonna be quick and easy. I was saying it should be done. If the year 5000 is your optimistic projection, think of how long it'll actually be. The point I was making was that this is what ya have to do to make headway now. After hypothesis comes experiment, the scientific method. There's a thing we have an idea on and lots of rationale, but not enough concrete evidence. At some point, you have to do something with it. It is understandably hard as hell and I acknowledge that, but there's no getting around it. So, while they're still debating on the matter, let's see someone build us a better probe, 'cause we need one.

1) We have data. LOTS of data. The data doesn't fit current models, and the current models contradict each other. The current models cannot be correct. Therefore we need a better model.

2) The current models do not permit your 'better probe' to exist. 5000 is a projection using -current models.- If we want a better probe, we need better models.

3) If the better models enable a better understanding, then perhaps the new understanding can lead to different ways of travel. Quantum Mechanics changed electronics by allowing for semiconductors, for example. Without that, no one would be able to consider the notion of silicon doping to create functioning logic gates at microscopic scale. We know that mass cannot travel at the speed of light directly through time and space. So we need to figure out WHY, and if there's a work around. How does not taking the existing data and finding a better understanding of it increase our chances of this?

You missed my main point tho. It will take a MINUMUM of thousands of years before your probe can be sent out and data get back to us using our current scientific models. It's not practical. Even if we DID send it out, there's virtually no chance that there's going to be anyone able to receive or even understand the data returned. So instead of waiting thousands of years held back by current limitations only to have it wasted because the language the probe transmit in no longer exists... wouldn't it be a lot easier to just... I dunno, take what we have, advance scientific understanding, and see what thousands of years of scientific advancement can do?

I mean, you're talking as if theoretical science is done, and meanwhile the people actually doing the work are saying that we haven't even scratched the surface of understanding the CURRENT data.

FalloutJack:

CAN so much be hinged upon whether you are pulled and compressed into a black hole or actually vaporized first by the pure energy pouring through it?

Yes.

Being pulled and compressed into a black hole is not possible under Quantum Mechanics but is permissible under General Relativity. Vaporized into pure energy and being emitted through quantum tunnelling is permissible under Quantum Mechanics and not under General Relativity.

Both have been observed.

So this means that General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, combined, are not quite correct, much like Newton's Laws of Motion are not quite correct. The observations and study of black holes [as well as the work done in the LHC] necessitate a new model that can reconcile the observations that support both models independantly, and the observations that point out their contradictions in the rare instances that they collide.

Every time I hear something along the lines of "New theory about *insert space phenomena here* is discovered!" I think to myself "If we actually put money towards building space ships, then we could finally go out there and prove something instead of just thinking up theories all the time."

But sadly, it doesn't seem anyone in power actually shares this mentality.

uchytjes:
Every time I hear something along the lines of "New theory about *insert space phenomena here* is discovered!" I think to myself "If we actually put money towards building space ships, then we could finally go out there and prove something instead of just thinking up theories all the time."

But sadly, it doesn't seem anyone in power actually shares this mentality.

The fastest thing in the known universe is light, and it takes light anywhere between thousands to billions of years to reach us from what the scientists are studying right now. Building a vehicle to go anywhere past the moon, right now, with our technology, is a one way trip.

DracoSuave:
Zoop

uchytjes:
Snip

Here, you two talk. I see one helluva debate in the making.

Draco, I didn't say anything was 'over', nor did I ignore the information we have. However, in reference to Jes here, you still need to get working on a practical solution. Now, you can shout at me all you want, but we're not getting any younger and that's no reason not to start working on something. Because unfortunately, it sounds like you don't wanna do the footwork, the necessary footwork, to arrive at the conclusion which is that faraway goal. Learning never stops, but the work doesn't either.

FalloutJack:

DracoSuave:
Zoop

uchytjes:
Snip

Here, you two talk. I see one helluva debate in the making.

Draco, I didn't say anything was 'over', nor did I ignore the information we have. However, in reference to Jes here, you still need to get working on a practical solution. Now, you can shout at me all you want, but we're not getting any younger and that's no reason not to start working on something. Because unfortunately, it sounds like you don't wanna do the footwork, the necessary footwork, to arrive at the conclusion which is that faraway goal. Learning never stops, but the work doesn't either.

Don't confuse useless rhetoric for a valid counterargument, you haven't actually produced one.

I agree practical work needs to be done to advance knowledge.
I agree that there is more understanding necessary, more data, more observations, more experiments, which foster more understanding.
I agree that visionaries are necessary and applications are an important part of scientific discovery.

However, where we disagree is that you appear to believe some magical rocket scientist is going to throw some pieces of metal together and 'discover' a way to overcome the limitations of General Relativity through engineering. I, on the other, am a rational being, and understand that isn't possible. So rather than wait for some wizard to go FIZZAM LOOK AT THIS GENERAL RELATIVITY BREAK ALLOY I PULLED OUT OF MY ASS, I'm in favor of a practical approach.

Seeing as we know General Relativity isn't -quite- correct, maybe we should sort out a hypothesis for what could be correct, then design something that can test that out directly? And then maybe that new hypothesis might allow for space warping and other fun things like that, which would THEN allow for FTL travel.

It's not 'people in power' that are holding this back. I can't grow wings and fly, and there's no one I can vote into office that will make that happen. One of us is actually advocating a practical approach, and the other is blaming politicians.

DracoSuave:
Boing

Hey, don't confuse that post for acceptable behavior on this board. That's no way to discuss science. Certainly not with an outburst of abusive talk like that. Could you get back on topic please?

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