The Hole in the Black Hole Story: Researcher Says Black Holes Don’t Exist
Black holes are a staple in science fiction and it seems they may have to stay in the realm of science fiction. One physics professor from University of North Carolina claims that black holes do not exist. A rather large hole in the concept of the well-known space phenomenon has been found by a theoretical physicist, asserting that black holes are unlikely to come into being in the first place.
In a paper submitted to the online research repository ArXiv, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton of the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hills contended the idea of the existence of black holes. She is offering a proof that it is mathematically impossible for black holes to ever form. Mersini-Houghton offers so-called exact numerical solutions that supposedly address the information loss paradox in the black hole existence controversy.
Mersini-Houghton subscribes to the idea that Hawking radiation is produced when a star collapses under its own gravity. Hawking radiation is named after physicist Stephen Hawking who, back in 1974, used quantum mechanics to show that black holes emit radiation. Mersini-Houghton, however, describes a new scenario. For her, the emission of Hawking radiation also means that the collapsing star loses mass. This shedding of mass leads to shrinking supposedly making the collapsing star lose the density to become a black hole. Under these conditions, a singularity is not achieved and neither is an event horizon formed. For a black hole to exist, a dying star has to swell first and explode.
The Black Hole Story
A black hole is said to be a region of spacetime that comes after the collapse of a star. It is characterized by an extremely high gravitational field. This immensely powerful gravitational field is so strong that it prevents everything, even light, from escaping the “hole.” It is associated with the theory of general relativity, which predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole.
A black hole is already known to have no locally detectable features but it is identified or separated from other parts of space by a boundary called the event horizon. Because of its ability to restrain everything, including light, black holes are considered the ideal black body. It does not even reflect light. Traditional scientific knowledge identify black holes through its interaction with matter in space and with electromagnetic radiation.
Even before Mersini-Houghton’s contention, there have already been conflicting theories on the existence of black holes. Einstein’s theory of gravity supports the existence of black holes. However, a fundamental quantum theory has an opposing view as it espouses the idea that nothing in the universe can ever disappear. Hence, the very presence of a black hole, an occurrence with no known physical properties except for its manifestations originating from a massive object (a dying star) is very much against the idea that nothing can disappear.
Reactions from Other Physicists
Mersini-Houghton’s assertion that black holes don’t exist has been met with skepticism. Even she is shocked by her own findings. There are even those who express that they are not convinced. Dr. Max Tegmark, a physics professor at MIT, in an email interview with Huffington Post, said that he is not convinced by the proposition. Tegmark said that “it’s great to see numerical calculations being done but the results disagree with many published findings, and this might be because of incorrect assumptions.” Tegmark adds that “one can’t claim ‘black holes don’t exist’ without first explaining all the observational evidence we have for black holes.”’’
Another physics professor from Oakland University in Rochester, Dr. David Garfinkle, shares Tegmark’s sentiments saying that “we don’t know enough about…the singularity to say whether Messini-Houghton’s picture is correct…even if it is correct, it is very misleading to describe it as showing that ‘black holes don’t exist.’” Garfinkly thinks that one physicist’s mathematical conclusion is not enough to override the plethora of evidences for objects that support the idea that black holes indeed exist.
Eventually, there will come a time when NASA or some other space agency finally finds a conclusive evidence regarding the existence of black holes. Until that time comes, black holes remain a dark space mystery that begs to be solved.