Developing the black hole picture

University of Alberta professor Don Page discusses Stephen Hawking?s latest theory about black holes.

Suzette Chan - 29 May 2014

(Edmonton) The man who once won a $1 wager with Stephen Hawking is betting that his mentor's recent statement about black holes is on the right track.

University of Alberta professor Don Page famously disagreed with Hawking on the fate of information that enters a black hole. (Science journalist Sheilla Jones, who earned her MSc in Physics under Page's supervision, wrote about the bet in her review of Leonard Susskind's book, The Black Hole War).

Famed for his ideas about black holes, Hawking submitted a paper early this year that included the statement that "there are no black holes." He was responding to a new theory that suggests that black holes have a firewall that destroys information as it falls into them. (In the paper, Hawking wrote: "The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes - in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.")

This spring, Page travelled to England to meet with Hawking and others further develop the theory. He told the University of Alumni publication New Trail: "I don't think he has the full answer yet."

Meanwhile, Page's has submitted own paper on the subject of firewalls, "Excluding Black Hole Firewalls with Extreme Cosmic Censorship."

For Page's explanation of the science behind this story, see "Did Hawking say 'no black holes'? Well, not technically" in the Spring 2014 edition of New Trail.