Stephen Hawking’s Final Scientific Paper Is Out: “Black Hole Entropy And Soft Hair”


Stephen Hawking’s final scientific paper has been eventually released by physicists who have been working with the late cosmologist on his efforts to understand what happens to information when objects fall into black holes.

The Guardian reported that the work tackles something that theoretical physicists are calling the information paradox and it was completed in the days before Hawking passed away.

His colleagues have written the work at the Cambridge and Harvard universities, and it has been posted online.

“Malcolm Perry, a professor of theoretical physics at Cambridge and a co-author on the paper, Black Hole Entropy, and Soft Hair, said the information paradox was “at the center of Hawking’s life” for more than 40 years,” according to The Guardian.

It all started with Einstein 

The origins of the puzzle go way back to 1915 when Einstein published his theory of general relativity.

He also made predictions about black holes, claiming that they can only be defined by mass, charge, and spin.

60 years later, Hawking also added that black holes also have a temperature. Objects lose heat into space and the ultimate fate of a black hole is to evaporate out of existence.

The issue was what happens to all information contained in the black hole as quantum physics demands that information is never lost.

“The difficulty is that if you throw something into a black hole, it looks like it disappears,” said Perry. “How could the information in that object ever be recovered if the black hole then disappears itself?”

The physicists have shown that a black hole’s entropy may be recorded by photons that surround its event horizon which is the point at which light cannot escape the intense gravitational pull. This sheen of photons is called soft hair.

“What this paper does is show that ‘soft hair’ can account for the entropy,” said Perry. “It’s telling you that soft hair is doing the right stuff.”

You can read the complete article here and go to Hawking’s work here.


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