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Stephen Hawking died today (March 14), leaving behind a massive legacy of work as an astrophysicist, science communicator, activist, and figure of pop culture admiration. And on the day of his death, a question he raised and worked on until the last years of his life remains unanswered: Can information really be lost to the universe?

Hawking’s most famous paper, “Black Hole Explosions?,” published 44 years ago in 1974, took a hatchet to the whole notion of black holes as physicists had previous understood them. And it was Hawking’s first whack at that basic question.

“Classically, a black hole should be ‘perfectly cold’ in the sense that it absorbs everything but emits nothing. This is how they were understood in the early 1970s,” Robert McNees, a physicist at Loyola University in Chicago, wrote in an email.

A black hole like that would radiate energy no matter could escape escape from it. It would just… exist, cold, silent, and eternal. Hawking’s paper made the black holes alive ­— and possibly mortal.

“When Stephen considered quantum mechanical effects in the mid-70s, he discovered that black holes should, in principle, radiate as if they were thermal objects with a temperature,” McNees told Live Science. “If they radiate energy then their mass will decrease. And he found that as this happens, as they shrink, their temperature goes up and they radiate even faster.”

Eventually, perhaps, the black hole would disappear entirely, or shrink to a little nubbin. Without fully reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics in a robust theory of “quantum gravity” (what physicists call a “theory of everything”), the final stage of that black hole evaporation remains a mystery.

“The problem is that, according to his calculations, the radiation is perfectly thermal. It doesn’t retain any information about the state of the material that formed the black hole, and this would violate a fundamental rule in quantum mechanics,” McNees wrote.

Quantum physics requires that the whole future and past of every particle should be, in principle, possible to figure out and link through a series of chained, causal, probabilistic events. But if a black hole release an undifferentiated soup of particles with their information — their histories — unrecoverably erased, then that requirement is fundamentally broken.

“[Physicists call this] the ‘black hole information paradox,’ and attempts to resolve it have driven much of the work in quantum gravity since it was first articulated,” McNees wrote.

Hawking was already an accomplished physicist by 1974. And many brief biographies imply that, following the publication of his 1988 popular science book “A Brief History of Time,” his most important scientific work was behind him. But Hawking continued to produce significant and controversial scientific papers until as recently as this decade, wrangling with the paradox he introduced decades earlier.

The most dramatic late-career paper Hawking wrote suggested the black holes as they’ve classically been understood don’t exist at all.

In “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes,” published in 2014, he suggested that the “event horizon” around black holes, the point beyond which even light could not escape, doesn’t really exist. Instead, he wrote, there’s simply an “apparent” horizon of trapped light, which could fade away and allow the light to escape.

“The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can’t escape to infinity,” Hawking wrote.

He also suggested some fundamental conceptual problems with a number of features physicists had attributed to black holes, like “firewalls” around their boundaries that destroy observers who try to enter.

That wasn’t Hawking’s final word on science. As recently as 2016, Hawking published a paper with the University of Cambridge physicist Malcolm Perry and Harvard University physicist Andrew Strominger called “Soft Hair on Black Holes.”

The research team argued that black holes are surrounded by “soft” or zero-energy particles, which they call hair. That hair, they wrote, stores the lost information of particles emitted by black holes on “holographic plates” beyond the black holes’ boundary regions. So the information, while displaced, is never truly lost.

“A complete description of the holographic plate and resolution of the information paradox remains an open challenge, which we have presented new and concrete tools to address,” they wrote.

Even near the end of his life, Hawking remained very much a working scientist, presenting ideas that advanced his field, and ideas his colleagues rejected.

“It’s my impression that the 2014 paper is not widely accepted. The 2016 paper, on the other hand, which is work with Perry and Strominger, is a direction that people are still actively working on,” McNees wrote.

“The black hole information paradox has been one of the defining questions for people working on quantum gravity. And, as it remains unanswered, I think it remains the most interesting question that [Hawking] raised.” (Ack: LiveScience/ Stephen Hawking Never Answered His ‘Most Interesting’ Scientific Question/Rafi Letzter of March 14,2018)

He was a visionary alright. I am more concerned with the question that remains unanswered:  the Information Paradox which the existence of black holes threw up shall be vigorously followed yet more riddles grist for the mills namely Scientific Inquiry..

Information can never be lost the idea was first proposed by Einstein. We have black holes, white holes, worm holes. These are all highways, back alleys, hyper loops for information to be sent across. Only problem for Science is that they do not know the addressee. May be out there is a Celestial Post office and one sitting there with a seal ready, Address Unknown, Return to Sender.

Benny

 

 

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Our universe expands and the unit of measurement used to describe the expansion is called the Hubble Constant, after 20th Century astronomer Edwin Hubble. There is also an orbiting space observatory named after him. Recently Prof Riess, who is based at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, (was one of three scientists who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics) made news. He avers that a mathematical discrepancy in the expansion rate of the Universe was now “pretty serious”, and could point the way to a major discovery in physics. Be that as it may while that is being fixed something else shall come up creating yet ‘another rethink and fix’ and it shall go on till kingdom come. Many more discoveries shall follow but not find what is the real culprit. There is a bug in the system.

In my opinion the whole theoretical Physics being governed by what man sets parameters and trying to prove an hypothesis contains a bug and it shall not go away. It is similar to the US politics. There is a clear indication of Russia having meddled in the 2016 election. It is vital for the nation’s existence how and why it occurred. Instead of getting to the bottom what are we seeing? Those who stand to benefit from calling off the national Inquiry as ‘witch hunt’ are crying foul. So by politicizing it the parties are trivializing a serious probe. Similarly scientific probes without fixing the role of God in the equation shall find many dazzling features of our cosmos. String theory, black holes, white holes, spooky science and what have you. Rational mind of man is that bug and he is fixing it in time, which is not how God’s laws work. His Time is tied to the time of man and it is what faith means. While studying the Book of Genesis we need remember that there is a ladder similar to *cosmic ladder which is used in calculation of the Hubble Constant.

*To calculate the Hubble Constant, Prof Riess and others use the “cosmic ladder” approach, which relies on known quantities – so-called “standard candles” – such as the brightness of certain types of supernova to calibrate distances across space.

Benny

 

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A lifetime of seeking knowledge in order to fix the Big Picture as one whole, that is my intellectual life in a nutshell. Nothing was excluded. Art, literature, the Bible and science every aspect of knowledge was fodder for my curiosity. I read all I could but great many I discarded for my intuition showed what to seek and what to get rid of. I have set all that stayed with me in these two volumes and it is available through Amazon.com

My two books Now You Know: Man and Nature and Mind and Matter are available.

Now You Know: man and nature https://www.createspace.com/7449242

Now You Know: mind and matter https://www.createspace.com/7559795

benny

 

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“Truth is the last frontier that is left for science to reach; but what is it?”
Science has answered great many but Truth in absolute sense remains still elusive. It is not for want of trying.  Even though scientists have managed to quantify how much dark matter lurks in distant galaxies, astronomers have been hard-pressed to figure out how much of the mysterious stuff lies within our own. Measuring anything is hard when you’re inside of it,” As the Astrophysicist James Bullock said, “It’s kind of like trying to figure out what kind of house you live in without ever leaving your house.”
Is the mind of man really keen to know the truth?
Truth of mind of man how he has so far applied reveals the problem. We live in the Anthropocene Age: our blue planet as a result has become a plastic planet. Global warming and devastating  hurricanes hitting one after the other reveal the planet earth in distress. Yet do we face the truth of our own mismanagement? As to our belief systems the  less said is the better. What we need ask is : how big is mind and to what it is fixed?  Now You Know: mind and matter continues what science can do and what it cannot. Aim of the author is to present before the reader a fair idea of the Big Picture in 364 entries.
My second volume is ready for release.
benny

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My book Now You Know: Man and Nature is available. Second volume Mind and Matter shall be released shortly.

This book along with Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible covers everything about the Big Picture from the stand point of man as a social being and as a Christian.

https://www.createspace.com/7449242

benny

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An electron by itself is unobservable but as an entity it exists only in conjunction with proton and neutron. My body is a conglomeration of atoms recycled and reconstituted from anywhere in cosmos,- and so many super nova must have elapsed before I could come finished to the intent and purpose of my life on the earth. Space and time exist for me from anywhere and also nowhere.

Timelessness exists at one level, which for me holds a mystery as well as mystery of life that heeds to the tyranny of time. Whereas every part of my existence was conceived at the exercise of will, in the union of ovum and sperm as impersonal as well as was conceived in the mind of God before the worlds began.

Of what use is a dead watch? Earlier I had an analogous watch that served me well. Since it was beyond repair I had to lay it aside. It still is useful. Twice a day the hands still show correct time. This makes me realize how time tricks us and on account of my finite state I go along with the illusion.

This is taken from my proposed book Now You Know: man and nature. Everything you want to know of the Big Picture is in it.

benny

 

 

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Euclid’s axiom: Two parallel lines in a plane shall never meet. When one watches in real time two railway tracks making two parallel lines in front  we create a picture plane and  we see the lines merge at a vanishing point. It is imaginary but that is perspective. Our mind plays tricks and optical illusion is as a result. The famous vase-face illustration  is on a picture plane. When one notices a vase another may as well settle for faces on either side.

When we look up we see the sun, light of which takes eight minutes to impinge on our retina. What does it mean? We are looking into the past. We don’t even notice. It is the present but past is addressing us; similarly genetic information we carry within is setting our future as well. By fifty mortality kicks in and we begin to think more of death that we never gave a thought earlier. Give a few more decades and when the funeral hearse takes its final journey are not reduced to a notice in the obit page?

Law of entropy states atoms tend to loosen up from objects so an apple left alone becomes ripe over ripe and in the end it is mush. It speaks of time. Smash atoms and you can produce fundamental particles. There comes a point you cannot go further. At one level we are timeless!. In short we delude ourselves to think of our world in terms of days months or years. There is a mysterious timelessness which envelop our  conscious world. Dreams and visions clue us in and yet do we give heed to these? Delusional man who make much of now imagines it is meant for making the hay while the sun shines. It was thus 2008 ripped apart his smug complacency to show how deceived he was. Did he learn the lesson for good? Those who go on making hay merely because the sun shines overhead will get to eat lot of it.

‘Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.’

 

benny

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