Stephen Hawking has come up with another theory about the most perplexing objects in the cosmos: black holes could be gateways to another universe and that means there may be a way out if you're trapped inside them.
In a speech for about 1,000 people at Harvard University, the 77-year-old renowned physicist discussed the groundbreaking theory, saying that black holes do not keep physical information about anything it absorbs. He tackled something that got the audience excited - things can get out of black holes, both from the outside and probably through another universe.
"If you feel you're in a black hole, don't give up. There's a way out," Hawking said.
Does this mean black holes are not eternal prisons as previously thought? Black holes have long been branded as such, as these are parts of space so dense that nothing, not even light, could go out. Over the decades, early theories have focused on what scientists believed - black holes retain virtually no information about the stars they were formed from.
In 1974, Hawking came up with what was dubbed the Hawking Radiation, a new theory that shocked the world of physics. He posited that black holes thermally create and emit subatomic particles until they lose all their energy and evaporate entirely. This means that black holes are not entirely black and nor do they last forever.
"What happens to all the particles that fell into the black hole?" Hawking asked. He then said that these particles could not just come out when the black hole vanishes, adding that the information about what went inside the black hole - aside from the amount of rotation and total amount of mass - would appear to be lost.
Hawking explained that if the information about the bodies that form black holes is not lost, then black holes contain much information that is hidden from the outside world. However, if the information is indeed lost, then it would change the way we think about science.
Dubbed as the information paradox, Hawking's new theory challenges the scientific rule that information on a system belonging to a specific time can be used to understand its state at another time.
"For more than 200 years, we have believed in the science of determinism, that is that the laws of science determine the evolution of the universe," Hawking said.
If the information did disappear inside black holes, it could be hard to predict the future since a black hole could emit any collection of particles, Hawking added, saying that it's all "a matter of principle" - if the predictability of the cosmos gets lost in black holes, the same could happen in other situations, even history.
"The history books and our memories could just be illusions. It is the past that tells us who we are. Without it, we lose our identity,” Hawking added.
Hawking and colleagues are currently studying what they call "supertranslations" to understand more about the information black holes hold.
Photo: Curfax Zimminy | Flickr