Black Holes

Now that I am an erudite subscriber to digital cable (with the Premier Package no less), I may consume content mere mortals are unable to obtain.

One such show that I happened to land on as I waded through the wide (though shallow) lake of entertainment choices dealt with Stephen Hawking and his Information Paradox Theory. This was on the Science channel.

Before I delve into this, I should mentione that I am, by no means, a physicist. In fact, one of my poorest academic performances, which happened in undergrad, was in an Astrophysics course. I passed, yet even with a 20 point grading scale, I scored the lowest ‘D’ possible. What can I say? I was an English major. Any class that didn’t involve analyzing or writing prose or poetry (or journalism) interested me as much as an oak tree is interested in blackberry jam.

The Information Paradox is a theory Hawking both proposed and unsuccessfully attempted to refute 30 years later. It deals with an analysis of matter or information about matter, as it relates to how it behaves when confronted by a black hole.

It helps to understand what a black hole is before looking at the theory further. However, that requires referencing Einstein’s theory of relativity as well as a nod to Quantum Mechanics, both of which any dolt can look up on Wikipedia. For that matter, just look up Black Holes.

What Wikipedia seems to refer to as leaked ‘Hawking Radiation’ relates to this Information Paradox. Essentially Hawking’s idea was that Black Holes eventually simply disappear. But, since the immense gravity of Black Holes draw matter into it, there is a problem. What happens to the matter when the Black Hole disappears? Hawking said that the matter also disappears. The paradox is that one of the fundamental tenets of science is that matter (or the information about that matter) cannot be destroyed.

Later, Hawking would attempt to explain that in fact the matter doesn’t disapper. Instead, and bear with me here as I attempt to explain what sounds like gibberish, you see there are multiple realities and in some of those alternate realities the Black Hole does not exist.

Therefore, when you take all the possible realities into one reality and sum it all up, the non-existence of black holes in certain realities cancel out the existence of black holes in other realities. What it means is that in those realities where the Black Hole does not exist, the matter was never sucked in and so never destroyed. In the end, when you look at all possible realities, the matter is never destroyed.

Alternate universes aside, the interesting thing is that the Law of Conservation of Mass/Matter does not actually apply in special relativity, which makes possible the idea of a Black Hole to begin with, so my sense is that the Information Paradox Theory is baseless, since it’s not really a paradox at all since mass defects are possible in special relativity. So even if one turns to non unitary time evolution as a solution to the paradox, its still a red herring. The answer is 42.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered the Disney film ‘The Black Hole’ to do further… uh ‘research’. Anthony Perkins. The robot Maxmillian. The coolest film put out by the Disney Corporation predating Touchstone Pictures.


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