The cosmological and pop-science icon Stephen Hawking, who died in Einstein’s birthday last March, recently spoke of the grave recently in the form of his latest scientific paper. Suitable for a man on the other side, it’s about how to fly from a black hole.
Removed by its abstract mathematics, the paper is an ode of memory, loss and the oldest of human longing the desire for transcendence. When the convicted figure in Bruce Springsteens “Atlantic City” sings, “Everything dies, darling, it’s a fact, but maybe everything that dies one day will be back.”
Black holes are objects so dense that according to Einstein’s general relativity layer, even light can not fly. 1974 Angry Dr. Hawking these objects, and the rest of the physics, inside. He discovered to his surprise that the random quantum effects that govern the microscopic world would cause black holes to leak and eventually explode and disappear.
In the fullness of time (which in many cases would be longer than the age of the universe), all the mass and energy that had fallen into the hole would come back. However, according to the classic Einstein equations, black holes are the most simple; Their only properties are mass, electrical charge and angular momentum. Every other detail about what is falling in a black hole disappears from the universe’s memory banks. A black hole has no complications – no hair – the saying goes.
So the field of matter and energy that left a black hole would be random, stressed Dr. Hawking in a paper in 1975. If you fell in one and came back out, you would miss all the details that had made you: man or woman, blue eyes or brown, yankee fan or red sox fan. The equation describing that fate is enrolled on Dr. Hawking’s tombstone, in Westminster Abbey, where it will probably end the ages.
It is a form of re incarnation . If nature can forget you can forget something – a death to science’s ability to reconstruct the past or predict the future. “It’s the past that tells who we are,” said Dr. Hawking for a conference in Harvard a few years ago. “Without it, we lose our identity.”
In fact, Dr Hawking kept in his 1975 paper, the paradoxical quantum effects that Einstein once despised and said that God does not play dice, adding an extra forgetfulness to nature. “God does not just play dice,” wrote Dr. Hawking, “but he often throws them where they can not be seen”.
They spoke words to other physicists; It was a fundamental principle that history’s history can be spread backwards, to reconstruct what happened in, for example, the collision of a pair of subatomic particles in a high-energy collider.
The last few years have had a glimpse of hope. Andrew Strominger of Harvard discovered that black holes are more complicated than we thought when we saw from the correct mathematical perspective – the direction of a light beam towards the infinite future. They have what Dr Strominger has called “soft hair” in the form of imaginary rays of light, which can be brushed, stretched, twisted and otherwise arranged by material entering the black hole. In principle, this hair can encode information on the surface of the black hole and record all details as Einstein’s equations exclude.
If this is enough to save physics, even a person falling in a black hole, what Dr Hawking was working for over the years before he died.
“When I wrote my paper 40 years ago, I thought the information would pass into another universe,” he told the Harvard conference. Now he said, it’s on the surface of the black hole. “The information will be redirected when the black hole evaporates.”
Other experts, including Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, have been measured more and say that if soft hair does not solve the information paradox, it can at least help.
In his latest posthumoric report, who pressured a press, Dr. Hawking and his colleagues show how the optimistic idea could work. In addition to Dr Hawking, the paper authors Dr Strominger and Malcolm Perry and Sasha Haco of Cambridge University were.
Dr. Stromings are hopeful that the physicists one day will be able to understand black holes just by reading what is written in this soft hair.
“We did not prove it,” he said in an email. But, he added that they managed to show how all the pieces would fit together: “If our guess is right, this paper will be of key importance. If not, it will be a technical footnote.”
Get from us, including Dr. Hawking, ever hoped to solve the information paradox would take back our parents, dinosaurs or Joe DiMaggio from what was expected in Atlantic City. Somewhere along the way, we have all made a kind of accommodation with the idea that our personal timelines will end, but we take some comfort in knowing that we will remember, and that our genes and books and names will continue.
Some astronomers now say that even this pale version of salvation can endanger. A mysterious force, called dark energy, speeds up the expansion of the universe. Someday, these experts say that if the expansion continues so that the galaxies fly faster and faster, the rest of the universe will be permanently out of sight for us, and we will be forever in sight. It would be like we were surrounded by a black hole, where all our information and memory disappeared.
Our little bubbles in Winter Street can always remember Aretha and Cleopatra and Shakespeare and Hawking. But will the rest of the universe perhaps remember us?