Hawking: information lost in black holes could be stored in alternate universes

Hawking at KTH Royal Institute of Technologt

Stephen Hawking revealed his latest idea about where he believes lost information wind up after being sucked into a black hole — in alternative universes. Photo: Adam af Ekenstam

“If you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out,” said Stephen Hawking tonight in a public lecture in Stockholm while revealing his latest idea that black holes offer a possible passage to another universe.

The legendary scientist and author said tonight that he has discovered a mechanism “by which information is returned out of the black hole.”

“I will describe it in my conference talk tomorrow morning.” Hawking said, referring to the Hawking Radiation Conference being held at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. 

The conference, which was organized by UNC physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton,  is dedicated to finding a solution to one of science’s notoriously difficult questions: what happens to the information about the physical state of things that are swallowed up by black holes? Is it retrievable? The laws of quantum mechanics demand that it should be; but that presents a problem, or paradox, for our current understanding of black holes.

Hawking said he has been working on supertranslations with Malcolm Perry and Andrew Strominger, and that his findings suggest the possibility that missing information could be stored in alternate universes.

“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. So although I’m keen on space flight, I’m not going to try that.

“The message of this lecture is that black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly come out in another universe.”

He’ll expand on this tomorrow during the conference at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

24 thoughts on “Hawking: information lost in black holes could be stored in alternate universes

  1. John Talley

    I am a big fan of professor Hawking.I have a theory that states black holes gather energy from the universe and cause a big bang in another space and time therefore build a alternate universe.

  2. Anonymous

    I like your theory that black holes create gather energy and create other universes, I sometimes think of the universe as a liquid in a vial and heated up with syringes in inserted to gather matter, the epicenter of a black hole is just a giant syringe and some scientists lab somewhere

  3. Paul Bobbins

    Could there be another explanation for red shift on distant obJects. Is it always speed and distant that dictate this effect

  4. Allex

    Didn’t Hawking not too long ago state that he wasn’t even sure blackholes actually existed at all?
    Sounds like he’s clinging to anything possible to stay relevant.
    Ie: he won’t expand on this “theory” unless you attend my next speaking engagement.
    Maybe it’s time we stop listening to this has been and look to more contemporary Physicists.

    Btw: what reputable journalist uses the word “ain’t” to me as soon as I saw that all credibility was lost.

  5. David Callahan Post author

    Regarding the use the of term “ain’t”. It’s Professor Hawking’s own words. He used the term “ain’t”, which is quoted and attributed to him.

  6. Anonymous

    Black hole may be a tunnel to recycle the aged universe to renew it into a new one. Universe has its own life – growth, aging, recycle or transformation.

  7. Nina

    Complete bool shit. Mathematically not strong fantasy covered by “Interstellar” styled cartoons. The real physics should be able check its predictions, having at the same time highly repeatable observations. I don’t understand, why they make out of different kind of speculations an important event

  8. David Fried

    Could one disappear into a black hole and come out to another universe with one’s body i.e. lung , heart, brain intact – retaining all the information in one’s mind?

  9. Al D

    We see no evidence that energy from another universe is entering ours at a specific point. I suspect that observation to be the same from inside any alternate universe, if such things exist. However, it is possible that energy entering black holes or singularities is being evenly distributed into alternate universes. That would explain the dark energy expanding our spacetime. Energy doesn’t get any more evenly distributed than that.

    Because of dark energy, we can’t rule out the possibility of alternate universes and we can’t claim that the amount of energy within a universe is finite per the conservation of energy law. We just don’t know what percentage of reality our universe is or how complicated or multi-dimensional reality is. We can deduce that reality itself (everything in existence) is finite and eternal per the conservation of energy law. That law, if correct, tells us reality’s energy is NOT infinite. A physicist can’t believe in the conservation of energy law and believe there is an infinite amount of energy within reality. If you believe nothing can emerge from nowhere and that something had to have always been in existence in order for anything to exist, you believe in the conservation of energy law like I do.

  10. Al D

    I’d like Hawking and especially “something from nothing” Lawrence Krauss to ponder my previous post and find fault with it.

  11. Gerold

    I think as cell biologist: Maybe the black holes have a function in the universe, like the proteasome in the living cell (smallest living unit).There is a proteasome, a Protein tunnel that destroys all entering proteins into single components (amino acids) and this components leave the tunnel on the other side and then get used to generate new Proteins.

  12. Avattoir

    John Talley, American-born HEP physicist Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute in southern Ontario province, Canada, has written extensively about this. Smolin has theorized that black holes AOT function as nurseries for new universes.

  13. Avattoir

    David Fried: No.
    I think you’re referring to the idea that ‘information cannot be destroyed’. That is a relatively recent extension of Newton’s laws.
    Quantum theory, in particular its most successful iteration, Quantum Field Theory or QFT, suggests that the sort of ‘information’ involved in such a law may operate only at quantum level, thus not at the level of the ’emerged’ state which we see daily.
    That is, the sort of information that’s preserved in or from matter sucked into a black hole may involve only the various characteristics, like the mass, spin, helicity, angle, momentum, etc., of subatomic particles.
    Alternatively, the only emerged state information capable of being preserved in material once sucked into black holes would lie in the remnants of quantum entanglement arising in emergence. The current thinking is that such ‘remnant’ information is stripped – must be stripped – from material as it’s torn apart on entering a black hole, and if that sort of previous history supra-atomic information is preserved at all, it’s only perserved on the event horizon surrounding each black hole.
    One way in which it may be helpful to visualize this is what we actually do know of what spews outward from black holes on their rendering of supra-atomic emerged matter: partical photon-spectrum radiation, in particular gamma rays and x-rays.
    Matter sucked into a black hole is subjected to ridiculously powerful forces, starting with accumulated gravity (gravity being a relatively weak force as generally distributed thru our universe, but an increasingly powerful force as more and more matter comes together). Those forces in essence tear apart the matter, reducing it from organic objects, molecules and atoms, into subatomic particles (and perhaps even beyond that, into pure energy plasma).
    The application of those forces in the process of sucking matter into a black hole itself in effect further ‘informs’ all that matter into a new form that’s significantly scrambled from the forms the matter was in when sucked in.
    Once sucked into a black hole, ‘reading’ or otherwise recognizing that prior state of information is loosely analogous to unscrambling eggs.
    Indeed, since the event horizon itself reflects the actions brought to bear on material in the course of the reductive force of the black hole it surrounds, even the information preserved in the event horizon as to the prior emerged states may well be too scrambled to decode.
    IOW the information is preserved but it’s incomprehensible gibberish.

  14. Wordsmith

    My comment is not so much scientific as it is semantic. The term “information” implies something is organized enough to be comprehended (i.e. comprehensible). If you take away the organization, you no longer have the information. To me it is not meaningful to say “information is preserved, but it’s incomprehensible gibberish,” since incomprehensible gibberish is the exact opposite of information.

    Would it not be better to say that the elements that were once organized and therefore provided “information” have now been dis-organized and therefore no longer provide information? The elements that previously provided the information are themselves not destroyed and continue to exist in some form, but not in an organized form. My analogy would be the letters (tiles) on a Scrabble board. While on the board they form something organized and therefore comprehensible (words), but when scooped off the board and placed back in their velvet bag, the tiles still exist, even though the previous information the tiles provided is no more.

  15. G Jonsson

    Let’s send a probe into a black hole and find out what actually happens. Maybe we have got some suitable small black holes nearby, or CERN could create one big enough. This wouldn’t be a manned mission though.

  16. Bernardo

    In response to Nina’s comment :”Complete bool shit. Mathematically not strong fantasy covered by “Interstellar” styled cartoons. The real physics should be able check its predictions, having at the same time highly repeatable observations. I don’t understand, why they make out of different kind of speculations an important event”

    I’m not quite sure if you fully understood what happened to the astronaut who fell into the black hole in the movie Interstellar, he didn’t reach a new universe, nor a parallel, alternate, or anything close to those mentioned, he reached a high-dimension “state” or “room”, which allowed him to move in space-time physically just as if he moved in his very own house, hence, professor Hawking didn’t inspired his idea on “Interstellar styled cartoons”. Now, there are a couple issues in this sentence of yours: “The real physics should be able check its predictions, having at the same time highly repeatable observations” the real physics you are talking about are the physics which have been proposed back in the early twentieth century and it has been almost a century since those “predictions” where stipulated, we were able to confirm most of them barely this last decade. So think twice when you try to have an opinion on a subject of such an important matter lady.

  17. Gerry

    In a universe of such complexity, and concepts with such astounding implications, it seems that focusing on grammar really just AIN’T relevent. The credibility issue mentioned in a previous post become moot in a time where we are actually creating metal that is lighter than air, invisibility cloaks, tractor beams, teleportation, bionic body parts and clones -not to mention controlling machinery with our minds! (Stuff thought only to exist in the imagination of 12 -year olds, trekkies, fiction writers and lunatics!) Of course it is credible! And even if it AIN’T today….it will be tomorrow or 1OO years from now. And those scrabble pieces…well in some other universe they came out spelling BEAM ME UP SCOTTY, LIVE LONG AND PROSPER..!

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