Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Rethinking the origins of the universe

  1. Sep 24, 2014 #1
    Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape.
    And as if they weren’t bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.
    By merging two seemingly conflicting theories, Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in the College of Arts and Sciences, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place. The work not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe.
    “I’m still not over the shock,” said Mersini-Houghton. “We’ve been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about.”
    For decades, black holes were thought to form when a massive star collapses under its own gravity to a single point in space – imagine the Earth being squished into a ball the size of a peanut – called a singularity. So the story went, an invisible membrane known as the event horizon surrounds the singularity and crossing this horizon means that you could never cross back. It’s the point where a black hole’s gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape it.
    The reason black holes are so bizarre is that it pits two fundamental theories of the universe against each other. Einstein’s theory of gravity predicts the formation of black holes but a fundamental law of quantum theory states that no information from the universe can ever disappear. Efforts to combine these two theories lead to mathematical nonsense, and became known as the information loss paradox.

    Papers at link.

    So, what do we think, on to something ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2014 #2
  4. Sep 24, 2014 #3
    The papers are what matter.
  5. Sep 24, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    A time honored tradition in science is observation trumps math. No amount of mathematical proof is sufficient to refute observational evidence. The choice is clear - either Mersini-Houghton's 'proof', or the mountain of evidence supporting the existence of black holes is suspect.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook