Certain Black Holes Might Erase your Past

February 25, 2018
2 minutes read
Certain Black Holes Might Erase your Past

Entering a black hole would be impossible to survive… or would it? A mathematician suggests that certain black holes might obliterate your past.

Equations of the theory of relativity suggest that certain black holes can erase the past conditional of the observer. Also they could have an infinite number of possible futures. Mathematician Peter Hintz from the University of California at Berkeley proves it.

Physicists have made such claims in the past. They have invoked strong cosmic censorship to explain it away. That is, something catastrophic – typically a horrible death – would prevent observers from actually entering a region of spacetime.

It was physicist Roger Penrose that first proposed this principal 40 years ago. It takes on the Universe of the philosophical principle of determinism — determinism of the future, because we cannot change the past.

However, mathematical calculations show that for some specific types of black holes in a universe like ours, which is expanding at an accelerating rate, it is possible to survive the passage from a deterministic world into a non-deterministic black hole, says UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Peter Hintz.

What kind of life would be in space, without the past, where the future has an infinite number of options, is not clear. But the finding does not mean that Einstein’s equations of general relativity are wrong, said Hintz.

“No physicist is going to travel into a black hole and measure it. This is a math question. But from that point of view, this makes Einstein’s equations mathematically more interesting. This is a question one can really only study mathematically, but it has physical, almost philosophical implications, which makes it very cool,” Hintz and his colleagues published a paper describing these unusual black holes in January 2018 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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