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Resolution of the black hole information paradox

  1. Aug 5, 2009 #1
    What is the resolution of the black hole information paradox?
    According to quantum theory, information — whether it describes the velocity of a particle or the precise manner in which ink marks or pixels are arranged on a document — cannot disappear from the universe. But the physicists Kip Thorne, John Preskill and Stephen Hawking have a standing bet: what would happen if you dropped a copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica down a black hole? It does not matter whether there are other identical copies elsewhere in the cosmos. As defined in physics, information is not the same as meaning, but simply refers to the binary digits, or some other code, used to precisely describe an abject or pattern. So it seems that the information in those particular books would be swallowed up and gone forever. And that is supposed to be impossible. Dr. Hawking and Dr. Thorne believe the information would indeed disappear and that quantum mechanics will just have to deal with it. Dr. Preskill speculates that the information doesn’t really vanish: it may be displayed somehow on the surface of the black hole, as on a cosmic movie screen....
    what do u people have to say about this ...???
    i want to see ur views..
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2009 #2
    I believe Hawking conceded the bet.

    from wikipedia:

    In 2004, Hawking announced that he was conceding the bet, and that he now believed that black hole horizons should fluctuate and leak information, in doing so he provided Preskill a copy of an encyclopedia on baseball. Hawking later stated, "I gave John an encyclopedia of baseball, but maybe I should just have given him the ashes." Kip Thorne declined to concede the bet at that time. As of 2008[update], Hawking's argument that he has solved the paradox has not yet been accepted by the community, and a consensus has not yet been reached that Hawking has provided a strong enough argument that this is in fact what happens.

    Essentially I see it this way. Classical general relativity does not concern it's selves with the microscopic degrees of freedom of the gravitational field in the same way as thermodynamics is ignorant of the microscopic degrees of freedom. We know now that the thermodynamics of a gas is a statistical effect due to coarse graining the large number of microscopic degrees of freedom. We should take the same attitude with black hole thermodynamics so when we have the correct theory of quantum gravity we will understand that information is not lost.
  4. Aug 6, 2009 #3


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