Black holes do not exist; however, they are possible through different applications of physics than previously thought by astronomers. World-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has found that black holes do not have event horizon. Such a discovery provokes a rethink of one of the universe’s most mysterious oddities.
An event horizon is the point beyond which there is no return from a black hole. At this point, all matter, including electromagnetic radiation and light, cannot escape the gravitational pull from the black hole’s center. This destructive firewall of radiation is known to destroy anything that comes past it. However, scientists and astronomers have become skeptical about its nature. The field of quantum physics has developed the best description so far into the mystery behind the event horizon.
Quantum mechanics suggests that information cannot be destroyed. This is congruent with the first law of thermodynamics – matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only change phases. At the subatomic level, this creates a conflict between the two theories.
Hawking is suggesting a turn to his theory; black holes do not destroy information because they do not possess an event horizon. Hawking explained that the absence of event horizons means that black holes do not exist in the sense of forces from which light cannot escape. He now proposes that black holes have what is called an “apparent horizon” which would deny the existence of black holes in the traditional understanding of astronomers.
Apparent horizons are temporary traps of matter and energy that have the possibility of reemerging in the form of radiation. The radiation that is emitted from the center of the black hole still possess all the information that originally entered the black hole, just in a much different form and state. Since the information being emitted is in such a disequilibrium, it cannot be reconstructed back to its original state. The disequilibrium is caused by the chaotic nature of the apparent horizon.
Hawking’s novel reasoning against the nature of the horizon also eliminates the aforementioned firewalls of immense radiation that are suggested at existing at or near the event horizon. He also changed the significance of the theory behind black holes decades ago by proving that black holes are not completely “black.” Rather, they emit radiation just far enough beyond their event horizons and the energy of the gravitational field causes pairs of subatomic particle to come into existence in the surrounding vacuum.
In 1974, Hawking created the line of thought regarding his aptly-named quantum characteristic, Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation theorized that black holes shrink because of a “leaking” of particles. Over time, black holes lose mass and, in some instances, evaporate completely and disappear. Since recent, he believed that once a black hole disappeared it would take all matter inside with it. Now, he is arguing his original stance with the fact that light and other particles can escape due to the quantum theory of entanglement.
According to Hawking’s theory, the pairs of particles in the surrounding vacuum around a black hole should be entangled. Quantum entanglement is when a relative connection between particles is created when an interaction occurs. This would mean that the entanglement between two particles would create a connection of particle behavior, regardless of distance. Henceforth, one particle falls into the black hole while its pair escapes into the surrounding vacuum.
A recent analysis of this premise suggests that every particle leaving the temporary confines of a black hole must be entangled with every preceding outgoing particle. This new theory directly opposes the quantum theory of entanglement. Physicists believe that entanglement is always “monogamous”; two particles, only two, are paired together from their conception. Since it is theoretically impossible to have two types of simultaneous entanglement, one of the two entanglement bonds must become theoretically severed, releasing an immense amount of energy; thus, creating a firewall.
Regarding the theoretical enigma which entanglement now poses, firewalls obey the laws of physics, thereby ending the quantum confusion. However, they pose yet another conundrum by contradicting Einstein’s equivalence principle which theoretically implies that crossing the threshold of the event horizon is an unexceptional occurrence. Regarding his theory of relatively, local gravitational force cannot be distinguished from inertial mass. This is why the earth cannot be felt as it moves, but there are measurable effects.
Hypothetically, an astronaut crossing the event horizon would not be aware of their travel into a black hole because of this, although, the subsequent immense gravitational pull past the horizon would stretch the astronaut until they are a Plank length; feeling that would most likely occur. Since Hawking has put the premise of a firewall into play, in the same scenario, the astronaut would be vaporized instantly. This violates Einstein’s principle; therefore, Hawking and many others have sought to prove firewalls impossible.
Leonard Susskind, theoretical physicist at Stanford University, stated that there may be an alternative to Hawking’s black hole hypothesis. Both Susskind and his colleague Juan Maldacena believe that entanglement may be linked to wormholes – shortcuts in space and time. Such a theory could solve the firewall problem and bring order to a decades-long mystery that has now been turned on its side with the discovery that black holes do not exist in the way astronomers have thought.
By Alex Lemieux