No such thing as black holes?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Stephen
Brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking suffers from a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that leaves him almost entirely paralyzed. He speaks through a speech-generating machine, but is still deeply respected by the scientific community for his mind-bending theories on reality.

According to world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, there’s no such thing as a black hole. In a short, but revolutionary paper published online, he argues that black holes don’t permanently trap energy once they swallow it up in their whirling darkness. Instead, these gray holes take energy prisoner, then eject it back into the universe in a garbled and unrecognizable form.

Hawking’s proposal attempts to overturn two clashing theories in physics. Classical theory claims that black holes are rimmed by “event horizons” – boundaries across which light can’t even escape the gravitational pull of the space vacuum. On the other hand, quantum physics claims black holes are actually surrounded by “firewalls” – highly energetic regions which can burn things to a crisp.

Now, Hawking says neither is true. Instead, there’s what he calls an “apparent horizon” – a boundary which changes its shape depending on the energy changes inside of the black hole. This gives rise to a chaotic mess which is able to spew mangled energy back into space.

Other scientists in his field are willing to consider the notion of an “apparent” horizon, however, some say the idea is too simplistic.

Featured image courtesy of Alain R. on Wikimedia. Image of Stephen Hawking courtesy of NASA.