Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hawking has a new idea about black holes, that to me

makes damn little sense.
Hawking’s proposal is an attempt to answer a problem that has tormented physicists about what happens to things when they go beyond the event horizon, where even light can’t get back. The information about the object has to be preserved, scientists believe, even if the thing itself is swallowed up — and that paradox has puzzled scientists for decades.

My problem with that: The information about the object has to be preserved, scientists believe,
Why?  Yes, I know: "Quantum mechanics, things work differently on that level!"  Which still leaves me in the dark.  Why would the 'information about the object' need to be preserved instead of simply going into the hole with the physical?

Now Hawking has proposed that the information is stored on the boundary, at the event horizon. That means that it never makes its way into the black hole, and so never needs to make its way out again either.
Stored?  How and why?  Is this something required by current theory, so they're trying to save it, or what?

Ah, another article on it, which contains this:
...These things cannot be lost, according to the way we think the universe works, and physicists generally believe that they aren't really lost. But where does the information go when the black hole that's absorbed it goes kaput?

It's brainy stuff, but without an explanation for the apparent paradox, some of the most basic laws we think exist in the universe are at stake. At a public lecture in Stockholm on Monday, Hawking implied that our concept of time itself could fall apart if black holes proved to be exempt from such laws.
Ah, there we go.

The problem there is 'our concept of time' and 'such laws' are just that: OUR concept, and 'laws' here actually means 'How we understand things to work, based on what we've currently found.  Or in some cases, we've played with numbers and said Eureka!"  And a lot of people really don't like the idea that said understanding is either wrong, or incomplete enough to make real problems.  Or so it seems to me.

Yes, I'm quite away that my level of knowledge of this is low, and I'm probably missing some "This is why you're wrong, you clod".  Still.


Toastrider said...

Don't feel too bad. Scientists have theorized for years about black holes. They really are a spot where normal physics shits its pants.

I think what Hawking is getting at is that the mass, the energy of a body that passes the event horizon of a black hole has to go -somewhere-. By the laws of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed.

That being said, though, when you get into quantum mechanics, things just tend to go a little haywire. My favorite examples involve vacuum fluctuations (which somehow, spontaneously generate matter and energy where none were before), barrier tunnelling (if your atoms line up JUST RIGHT, you can pass through a solid object), and of course relativity (the faster you move, the slower time moves for you). And people think evolution is crazy?

Firehand said...

The possibilities in all this are endless, in large part because of the 'what we think is how things work breaks down' mess. For instance, 'it has to go somewhere!' Sounds nice; why? Maybe it simply becomes part of the mass of the hole itself, and the hole doesn't actually grow because of something we have no idea of.

Bleah. I've been reading bits & pieces of this for years, and it explains why so many high-level physicist types are the way they are.

Pawpaw said...

Even Hawking once said that our concept of time is based on entropy, which is the manner in which disorder increases. A black hole compresses mass, bends gravity and light.

The man is scary smart, but he's an ass, based on what I know of his life. I think he's just trying to keep himself relevant.