Black holes have a reputation for being hopeless vortexes of destruction, but what would really happen if you fell into one? According to Stephen Hawking, you might end up in another universe.
That’s the celebrated physicist’s latest answer to the so-called “information paradox” — the conundrum that black holes appear to swallow matter, which, according to the laws of quantum mechanics, is totally batshit insane and not possible. At a public lecture in Stockholm this week, Hawking offered these comforting words to any would-be deep space travellers: “If you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.”
According to Hawking’s new theory, described in a blog post by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, there are two ways this terrible situation could end: one, you become permanently stuck in a two-dimensional hologram on the black hole’s edge. Two, you bust right through into another universe.
“The existence of alternative histories with black holes suggests this might be possible,” Hawking said. “The hole would need to be large and if it was rotating it might have a passage to another universe. But you couldn’t come back to our universe.”
Personally, I’m OK with this turn of events. Sure, winding up in some other universe where the laws of physics are different and all the bonds between all the atoms in your body suddenly break would really suck, but I’ll still take that over getting compressed into an infinitesimally small spec of mass for the rest of eternity. [KTH via The Guardian]
Top image: Artist’s concept of a black hole, via Wikimedia