No Escape From Black Holes?

Stephen Hawking Points to a Possible Exit


Science Section, June 6, 2016, The New York Times

No Escape From Black Holes? Stephen Hawking Points to a Possible Exit

By Dennis Overbye (Illustration by Brian Stauffer)

In this fascinating article about gravitational equations and how the universe works, "null infinity" and information that may or may not be lost in a black hole, the phonograph's vinyl record is used to help explain what's going on.

The following is an excerpt from the article by Dennis Overbye that includes "the wavy grooves in a vinyl record" as a way for non-scientists to understand a supertranslation's pattern and "clue pointing the way out of black holes."

The complete article can be read at this link:

“Null infinity is where light rays go if they are not trapped in a black hole,” Dr. Strominger tried to explain over coffee in Harvard Square recently.From this point of view, you can think of light rays on the surface of a black hole as a bundle of straws all pointing outward, trying to fly away at the speed of, of course, light.

Because of the black hole’s immense gravity, they are stuck. But the individual straws can slide inward or outward along their futile tracks, slightly advancing or falling back, under the influence of incoming material. When a particle falls into a black hole, it slides the straws of light back and forth, a process called a supertranslation.

That leaves a telltale pattern on the horizon, the invisible boundary that is the point of no return of a black hole — a halo of “soft hair,” as Dr. Strominger and his colleagues put it. That pattern, like the pixels on your iPhone or the wavy grooves in a vinyl record, contains information about what has passed through the horizon and disappeared.