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Scientists have debated for years about what happens to matter when it goes into a black hole. It has been thought that all black holes suck in everything that is caught by the immense gravitational pull, disappearing afterwards, without leaving a trace of what was once before. Though, due to new work done by scientists, a new theory has been surmised to come to the fact that matter is actually not destroyed inside the void of a black hole.
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking was the scientist who originally projected the theory that matter is destroyed once it enters a black hole. According to Hawking, considering black holes emit X-ray and gamma ray radiation, it is only innate that they would exhaust their size through radiation depletion and evaporate. The phenomenon which is the evaporation of black holes is called Hawking radiation, which extends outside of the event horizon. The event horizon is the point at which gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. Inside this area, particle-antiparticle radiation is emitted in the form of X-rays and gamma rays, jutting out from both ends of a black hole. The entity evaporates when the particle-antiparticle pair forms and the escapes, as one of the particles erases some of the mass.
Forty years ago, Hawking proposed the theory, “information loss paradox,” the theory that that black holes had the capability of radiating particles, and the energy lost in the process would lead to the disappearance of the entity. He further concluded that the particles emitted by a black hole would not provide any evidence into what may be inside because of no quantum correlation with particles that had not been gravitationally sucked in by the entity. Therefore, any information within the confines beyond the event horizon would be completely lost once the cosmic destroyer evaporated.
Though, the rules governing quantum mechanics, more importantly, the conservation of matter law therein, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This law means that energy is the only constant in the Universe, and that matter is the transfer point of energy both in and out of a “solid” particle. This law contradicts Hawking’s theory that black holes destroy matter. Therefore, Hawking admitted he was incorrect, and stated it is, in fact, possible for information to get away from black holes. However, the query to yet be answered is the way in which information can be discharged.
According to a new study published in Physical Review Letters, scientists have found that information is not lost forever once it is sucked in by a black hole. Dejan Stojkovic, an associate professor of physics at the University of Buffalo, explained particle interactions can be the answer to finding out what happens beyond the event horizon. Moreover, the interactions between particles emitted by black holes can reveal characteristics of how the entity formed and the characteristics of the matter and energy within. Stojkovic stated he and his team found that entropy from the matter from deep inside a black hole can be acquired from beyond the entity through quantum particle-antiparticle interaction. He stated the one thing that needs to be done is to observe the interaction of particles, such as gravitational attraction. As one of the four fundamental interactions in the Universe, gravitational interaction is the weakest of them all.
Although this idea may seem old and rudimentary, this study is the newest revelation of its kind that equates this idea into a mathematical equation. At first, many scientists believed that quantum connections of different particles are much too small to have a correlation that would give them any useful information, considering the gravitational interaction, on the atomic scale, is the weakest interaction between matter and energy. Though, according to the study, particles interactions have complex developments, large enough that they may be able to alter the outcome. Therefore, the study’s new data may be the answer to the long fought over notion that may lead to the understanding that black holes to do destroy matter.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Phil Plait – Flickr License
Photo by NASA, Dana Berry/Skyworks Digital – Flickr License