Prof Stephen Hawking: 'There are NO black holes' – they're GREY!

New paper may solve galactic firewall riddle


Brit uber-boffin Prof Stephen Hawking has quietly published a new paper proposing a radical rethink of the nature of black holes, which have been a major part of his life's work.

Hawking's paper [PDF], Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes has been submitted for peer review and attempts to apply both basic gravitational theory and quantum theory into a unified system.

In an interview with Nature today, Prof Hawking said that, under classical gravitational theory, there was no way for matter or energy to escape from the event horizon of a black hole: any astronaut venturing into one would be pulled out spaghetti style until he or she was crushed by the immense gravitational field.

That's using the classical gravitational theory. In 2012, physicist Joseph Polchinski of the Kavli Institute in California predicted that quantum effects would instead cause the event horizon to be a seething mass of high-energy particles – or a "firewall," as his team dubbed it – which would burn anything venturing inside to a crisp.

So, today, Prof Hawking's new idea seeks to reconcile these concepts. In his paper, he proposed there's actually no event horizon as such, just an "apparent horizon" made up of space-time that's fluctuating too wildly to have a fixed boundary as such – leading to a grey hole, if you will, instead.

"The absence of event horizons means that there are no black holes – in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity," the professor wrote. "There are however apparent horizons which persist for a period of time. This suggests that black holes should be redefined as metastable bound states of the gravitational field." ®


Other stories you might like

  • LGBTQ+ folks warned of dating app extortion scams
    Uncle Sam tells of crooks exploiting Pride Month

    The FTC is warning members of the LGBTQ+ community about online extortion via dating apps such as Grindr and Feeld.

    According to the American watchdog, a common scam involves a fraudster posing as a potential romantic partner on one of the apps. The cybercriminal sends explicit of a stranger photos while posing as them, and asks for similar ones in return from the mark. If the victim sends photos, the extortionist demands a payment – usually in the form of gift cards – or threatens to share the photos on the chat to the victim's family members, friends, or employer.

    Such sextortion scams have been going on for years in one form or another, even attempting to hit Reg hacks, and has led to suicides.

    Continue reading
  • 5G C-band rollout at US airports slowed over radio altimeter safety fears
    Well, they did say from July, now they really mean from July 2023

    America's aviation watchdog has said the rollout of 5G C-band coverage near US airports won't fully start until next year, delaying some travelers' access to better cellular broadband at crowded terminals.

    Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement this month that its discussions with wireless carriers "have identified a path that will continue to enable aviation and 5G C-band wireless to safely co-exist."

    5G C-band operates between 3.7-3.98GHz, near the 4.2-4.4GHz band used by radio altimeters that are jolly useful for landing planes in limited visibility. There is or was a fear that these cellular signals, such as from cell towers close to airports, could bleed into the frequencies used by aircraft and cause radio altimeters to display an incorrect reading. C-band technology, which promises faster mobile broadband, was supposed to roll out nationwide on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US's networks, but some deployments have been paused near airports due to these concerns. 

    Continue reading
  • IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails
    Just days after being ordered to provide messages, Big Blue opts out of public trial

    Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month.

    The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees."

    Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that IBM executives had directed managers to get rid of older workers to make room for younger ones.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022