Black Hole Mystery – Hawking’s New Concept
Physicist Stephen Hawking has probably done more than any living person to stir public knowledge and interest in something
scientists have dubbed “black holes” in deep space.
is commonly accepted among astronomers that black holes exist. Many of them are heavily involved in studying this unexplained
phenomenon, locating where they are, and attempting to explain them.
background, a black hole is exactly what the name implies . . . a vast black void in space in which nothing appears to exist.
Yet astronomers, aided by powerful new tools like the various space telescopes that not only look deeper into the universe
than man has ever accomplished in the past, but are capable of studying such things as X-ray and infrared wavelengths, have
proven that something unseen but very powerful exists within those strange areas of blackness.
are discovering that great amounts of energy are spewed from these areas. They also know that the movements of stars, solar
systems and even galaxies appear to be influenced by whatever exists within these “black holes” of space.
because of Hawking’s work, we have come to believe that black holes may be the remnants of massive stars that have burned
out and where the force of gravity causes it to collapse in on itself. The great weight
of the star’s outer layers thus implodes its core. At this point the star goes invisible, reaching a point of such infinite
density that nothing can escape its pull, even light.
theory, which has evolved over the past 200 years, since British physicist John Michell suggested the existence of “dark
stars” with gravity strong enough to trap light and prevent the stars around them to be seen from far away. American
physicist John Wheeler is credited for coining the term “black holes.”
discoveries have astounded physicists because they have identified black holes in space that are so massive they could almost
encompass galaxies. They are usually all massive in size, and some scientists theorize that they are so powerful that they
grow by swallowing up all of the stars, planets, moons and space junk that gets within their field of gravity. They have thus
been described as cosmic vacuum cleaners, sucking up everything in their path.
is happening, the phenomenon is then defying Einstein’s theories of relativity that govern space and time. Hawking has
devoted much of his life attempting to solve this problem.
theory suggests that space-time is like a large rubber mat that can be curved by the presence of matter. Hawking said collapsed
stars can become so heavy that they create a bottomless hold in this mat that nearby particles also fall into. Once they enter
the hole there is no longer space or time, and nothing within the hole ever escapes.
was Hawking’s old theory. Last March, during an appearance before scientists at Bovard Auditorium, University of Southern
California, Hawking said he has discovered that particles can slowly leak out of black holes and that these churning masses
of black energy may not be the eternal prisons once thought.
agreed that the vacuum concept of black holes seems to conflict with a fundamental idea of science known as determinism. That
is a way of saying that scientists can utilize knowledge about the current state of the universe to predict the future and
reconstruct what happened in the past. That black holes absorb matter and then emit something different appears to defy determinism.
said he believes he has found a resolution to this conflict in the ideas of Richard Feynman, who says quantum theory involves
considering all possible alternative histories. And this perspective, he says, supports the idea that if you fall into a black
hole, you might just emerge in another universe.
great thinker has spent a lifetime thinking about something that Gene Roddenberry dreamed up in his popular Star Trek television
screen plays and movies. He called them worm holes.