the-black-hole-information-paradox-stephen-hawkings-greatest-puzzle-is-still-unsolved

The Black Hole Information Paradox, Stephen Hawking’s Greatest Puzzle, Is Still Unsolved

The paradox is one that Hawking himself claimed to have a solution to many times, but none of the proposals have held up to scrutiny. The paradox is still unresolved.

With the passing of Stephen Hawking, science has lost not only its most recognizable public figure, but also a remarkable researcher into the nature of black holes. While his final paper may have focused more on some of the existential challenges facing cosmology today, his greatest scientific contributions were in uncovering some incredible quantum truths about the Universe by examining its most extreme objectsblack hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Black holes, once thought to be static, unchanging, and defined only by their mass, charge, and spin, were transformed through his work into ever-evolving engines that had a temperature, emitted radiation, and eventually evaporated over time. Yet this now-accepted scientific conclusion — inferring the presence and properties of Hawking radiation — had a tremendous implication: that black holes provided a way to destroy information about the Universe. black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Despite 40+ years of work on the problem by the world’s brightest minds, the black hole information paradox still remains unresolved. black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole factsblack hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

When a mass gets devoured by a black hole, the amount of entropy the matter has is determined by its physical properties. But inside a black hole, only properties like mass, charge, and angular momentum matter. This poses a big conundrum if the second law of thermodynamics must remain true. Illustration: (NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray (top): NASA/CXC/MPE/S.Komossa et al. (L); Optical: ESO/MPE/S.Komossa (R)) black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

The second law of thermodynamics is one of the most inviolable rules of the Universe: take any system you like, don’t allow anything to enter or leave it, and its entropy will never spontaneously decrease. Eggs don’t spontaneously unscramble themselves, warm water never separates into hot and cold sections, and ashes don’t reassemble into the shape of the object they were before they were burned. All of these would be an example of decreasing entropy, and this doesn’t happen, in nature, on its own. black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Prev1 of 8Next