A group of people unboiled an egg. When the egg is boiled it will cause the molecule in the egg to twist around one another. The technique is questionable in a kitchen, but it shows the reversibility of physics. One of the deepest features of the laws of physics is the ability to run both ways. What was done will be undone if you reverse everything. The clock's information is always kept up to date. The egg unboiler was so nifty because it was easy to undoing a process in a complex system.
Black holes are a worrisome exception. If a star collapses under it's own weight, it's gravity will intensify without limit. You can't go back if you jump into one. You can't split them if they're combined. A black hole is almost completely invisible to the naked eye. It's not possible to tell what fell in. Information doesn't seem to be preserved by the black hole. This irreversibility, first appreciated by physicist David Finkelstein in 1958, was the earliest idea of the black hole information paradoxes. Physicists' understanding of the world was marked by the paradoxes. There are many reasons to seek a grand unified theory of nature, but the information paradox is their most specific motivation, and it has guided their way when they have little else to do.
More than 60 years after the puzzle began to appear, physicists are hopeful that a solution will be found. The most progress in decades has been made by a group of theorists in the year leading up to the Pandemic. The idea that black holes are not permanent was strengthened. Physical theory is compatible with itself. Proponents of the work admit that it is a starting point for a full explanation of black holes.
Most of the progress physicists have made over the years has consisted of realizing the problem is harder than they thought. The original work left gaps. Physicists knew that it wasn't the full story because it didn't include quantum effects. Stephen Hawking included those effects in the work that made him a household name in the 70's. Black holes release energy slowly, according to his calculations. It doesn't help that this emission doesn't carry any information about what happened. The trickle of particles makes the situation worse. On a summer's day, the black hole empties itself of energy and becomes a puddle. It is wiped out of existence, even though it is imprisoned. A general unease was raised into a crisis for physics.
Don N. Page was a graduate student at the time. He showed that a black hole can't wait until it dies to reveal its secrets. The black hole should still be governed by the ordinary laws of physics because it will have shrunk only modestly from its original size. Physicists can't just pin the whole problem on unknown physics, it signals an inconsistency within the best-established theories. The Ohio State University's Samir D. Mathur showed that slight changes to the calculations wouldn't work. There's something missing.
The key element in Page's and Mathur's analyses was quantumentanglement, a special kind of correlation that particles can have even when no force or other influences link them. Physicists can ask whatanglement means for black holes, even though it's a mystery. If the black hole is to preserve information, the particles that fall into one must be kept together. The linkages can't be transferred to the outgoing particles without causing other troubles according to an influential study by Ahmed Almheiri and his colleagues.
Black holes can be reversed, but theorists' confusion is the only way to go. The unification of physics has been spun off by studying the paradoxes. Black holes imply that space has a limited capacity to hold material and that you can only pack it tightly before it collapses. Storage capacity scales up with the area of the region. It looks like space is two-dimensional. It has an illusory quality that we are usually unaware of, but that becomes evident in a black hole.
One of the most fascinating and baffling ideas in modern theoretical science is the idea of the hologram. At least one of the spatial dimensions we experience is not fundamental to nature, but comes from quantum dynamics. The AdS/ CFT is the best version of the holographic principle. The universe is thought of as a snow globe. The bulk is encased within a two-dimensional boundary. The boundary is considered to be more fundamental and the bulk to emerge from it. The shadow world of the boundary is similar to the bulk world. The shadows of the planets and stars dance on the boundary if the planets are in the bulk.
Over the years, scientists have refined this dichotomy. Physicists are able to match parts of the 3-D space to parts of the 2-D space. On the other side, they can associate physical quantities. The area of surfaces is related to the amount of quantumentanglement in the most advanced version of this correspondence. The same quantities are hidden, giving theorists a glimpse of nature's unity.
The ingredients were in place for theorists to make a new attack on the black hole information paradoxes. They were able to show how information could be escaped from black holes in the way Page had prescribed. In Almheiri's article, you can read more about this breakthrough. Black holes can be reversed after all. The authors worked in two parallel teams to double check that the outgoing radiation bears the information that the black hole gives out. They didn't rely on the AdS/ CFT duality. The same mathematical techniques were used by them instead. Page argued that the resolution of the paradoxes should not be dependent on AdS/CFT.
The teams said so. The geometry of spacetime undergoes a dramatic transition when a black hole is built up. wormholes that look like the spacetime portals of science fiction are among the convoluted shapes that spacetime takes on. The inside of the black hole is connected to the outside world through these wormholes. It fits nicely into existing physics. Black holes are not an internal contradiction within current theories.
Even by modern physics, these calculations were difficult. Skeptics still poked holes in the argument despite the fact that they were impressed. By the time the debate was over, the Pandemic hit and science went into a state of lock down. At the end of the year, in-person meetings resumed. Proponents and skeptics have yet to really engage with one another, according to some physicists. Suvrat says that it is possible that there is more splintering of the field as a result of the Pandemic.
The setup of the two teams is highly contrived according to the critique. The same can be said of most theoretical models but this one makes idealizations that are not at all innocent. It supposes that gravity shuts off when it's too far away. That assumption changes the nature of the force so that it doesn't say much about gravity in the real world.
The new work suggests a nonlocal effect, one that doesn't travel through space but jumps from one place to another, to extract information from the black hole. It's not surprising that that happened. Black holes need nonlocal effects to make sense, according to physicists. Some skeptics think the new analyses are implausible.
The information paradoxes are advocated by both Raju and Mathur. Information doesn't need to leave a black hole because it's already out. He says that gravity has a long tail that prevents information from being bottled up. Outside of the black hole there are quantum fields. There is a lot of information in this area. According to mathur, true black holes never form. The exotic physics of string theory is awakened when a star begins to collapse. A fuzzball is a star that collapses and leaves a very compact one. Information travels out on the light of this little star.
Critics also critique these ideas and their variations. Both Mathur and Raju disagreed with each other. Black holes are still up for debate. Figuring out new puzzles is better than figuring out old ones. A number of paradoxes of black holes have been noted in the last few years. Their interior volume should grow because of their stretchy space. Expansion would violate the principle of equilibrium. The interior needs to be stable because of unsuspected physics.
Black holes are chaotic and featureless. Computer simulations and laboratory experiments can be used to study this aspect of black holes. Experiments are looking at the same chaotic dynamics in material systems as if they were black holes. It takes exquisite precision to bring the system back to its starting point.
Black holes may be a part of the universe. Physicists hope that insights about black holes will offer up secrets of the universe because our universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. You can read more about this idea in the article.
Physicists are happy black holes are hard to figure out. The solution must be profound if the problem is difficult.