Professor Chris Adami of Michigan State University may have solved Stephen Hawking’s black hole mystery. For years physicists worldwide have been trying to solve the mysteries of black holes — fascinating objects with a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape them.
Discussion about the behavior of black holes was recently re-energized when Hawking wrote that event horizons do not exist. Although he’s a world-renowned expert on these enigmatic objects, over the years Hawking has edited his theory and continues to investigate black holes with great enthusiasm and passion.
One of several mysteries in the debate about the behavior of black holes is what takes place with information — matter or energy and their features at the atomic and subatomic level — in black holes.
“In 1975, Hawking discovered that black holes aren’t all black. They actually radiate a featureless glow, now called Hawking radiation,” Adami posited. “In his original theory, Hawking stated that the radiation slowly consumes the black hole and it eventually evaporates and disappears, concluding that information and anything that enters the black hole would be irretrievably lost.”
However, this theory produced a basic problem, called the information paradox. Now, Adami thinks he’s solved the puzzle.
“According to the laws of quantum physics, information can’t disappear,” Adami noted. “A loss of information would imply that the universe itself would suddenly become unpredictable every time the black hole swallows a particle. That is just inconceivable. No law of physics that we know allows this to happen.”
According to Adami, the information is held in the stimulated emission of radiation, which must occur with the Hawking radiation. Stimulated emission makes the black hole glow in the information it consumed.
“Stimulated emission is the physical process behind LASERS (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Basically, it works like a copy machine: you throw something into the machine, and two identical somethings come out.
“If you throw information at a black hole, just before it is swallowed, the black hole first makes a copy that is left outside. This copying mechanism was discovered by Albert Einstein in 1917, and without it, physics cannot be consistent,” Adami explained.
Although physicists will undoubtedly spend countless hours attempting to determine whether Adami has actually solved the puzzle, the MSU professors says that “Stephen Hawking’s wonderful theory is now complete.”
Additional details about Adami’s work are available in the journal journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.