What happens to the information after it crosses the event horizon of a black hole? There have been suggestions that engineering wormholes might help us solve this vexing problem – but the math has been tricky, to say the least.
In new research, an international team of physicists has come up with a workaround to better understand how black hole collapses avoid breaking the fundamental laws of quantum physics (more on that in a bit).
Although very theoretical, the work suggests that there are things we are likely to miss in our quest to solve general relativity with quantum mechanics.
“We discovered a new geometry of space-time with a wormhole-like structure that has been overlooked in conventional calculations,” Physicist Kanato Goto says: from Cornell University and RIKEN in Japan.
“The computed entropy using this new geometry gives a completely different result.”
The black hole information paradox is one of the unresolved tensions between Einstein’s theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Under general relativity, the event horizon of a black hole is considered the point of no return. Everything beyond that critical point is relentlessly covered in a black hole’s gravitational well, and no speed in the universe, not even the speed of light in a vacuum, is sufficient for the escape velocity. It’s gone, that’s it. busty. Irreversible.
This happens, according to the theory, as a result of the black hole interfering with the wave-like properties of surrounding particles, causing it to glow at a temperature that gets hotter as the black hole becomes smaller.
Ultimately, this glow should make the black hole shrink to nothing.
“This is called black hole evaporation because the black hole is shrinking, just like evaporating water droplets,” Goto explains.
Since the ‘flare’ is unlike what happened in a black hole in the first place, it might seem that whatever was inserted into an evaporating black hole is gone forever. But according to quantum mechanics, information cannot simply disappear from the universe. Many physicists have discovered the possibility that this information is somehow encoded Hawking radiation.
Goto and his team wanted to explore this idea mathematically by calculating unable to Hawking radiation around a black hole. This is a measure of perturbation in the system, and can be used to diagnose information loss in Hawking radiation.
according to 1993 . paper By physicist Don Page, if the turbulence is reversed and the entropy drops to zero as the black hole disappears, the lost-information paradox should be avoided. Unfortunately, there is nothing in quantum mechanics that allows this reversal to occur.
Enter a wormhole, or at least a mathematical replica of one under very specific models of the universe. This is a connection between two regions of a curved sheet of space-time, somewhat similar to a bridge across a valley.
Thinking of it this way in conjunction with black holes gives us a different way to calculate the entropy of Hawking radiation, Goto says.
“A wormhole connects the inside of the black hole and the radiation to the outside, like a bridge” he explains.
When the team performed their calculations using the wormhole model, their results matched the page entropy curve. This suggests that information beyond the event horizon of a black hole may not be lost forever at all.
But, of course, there are still some questions remaining. Until these questions are answered, we cannot consider the black hole information paradox to be definitively resolved.
“We still don’t know the underlying mechanism of how information is transmitted away by radiation,” Goto says. “We need a theory of quantum gravity.”
The search was published in Journal of High Energy Physics.
“Web maven. Infuriatingly humble beer geek. Bacon fanatic. Typical creator. Music expert.”