We long ago surrendered our dreams of Bradbury’s rainy Venus and Burroughs’ canal-riven Mars to the advances of science. Is the same thing on the verge of happening to science fiction’s tales involving black holes?
Alert SFWA – Condition Red!
Black holes have been appearing in sf stories for a long time. A conversation with Stephen Hawking decades ago led Larry Niven to write a story involving quantum black holes, 1975 Hugo winner “The Borderland of Sol.”
But on his 70th birthday this month, Hawking said he regards his idea that information was destroyed by black holes as his “biggest blunder.”
Also, Hawking’s unpublished work “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes” (available from the arXiv preprint service) reportedly declares that “there are no black holes.”
Hawking’s basic theory already supposed black holes are not immortal, because they leak particles via “Hawking radiation” over time. Lately he has been at work trying to reconcile what two competing theories that explain basics about the universe have to say about black holes. Discovery.com phrases the effort this way —
It all boils down to a conflict between two fundamental ideas in physics that control the very fabric of our Universe; the clash of Einstein’s general relativity and quantum dynamics. And it just so happens that the extreme environment in and around a black hole makes for the perfect “fight club” for the two theories to duke it out.
Black holes have not been read out of the cosmology, but their behavior may be less absolute than Hawking originally argued.