The most recent revealation of Hawking was in Hawking radiation conference held in KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The title of the posting of Bee
telling about what might have been revealed is "Hawking proposes new idea for how information might escape from black holes". Also Lubos
has - a rather aggressive - blog post about the talk. A collaboration of Hawking, Andrew Strominger and Malcom Perry is behind the claim and the work should be published within few months.
The first part of posting gives a critical discussion of the existing approach to black holes and Hawking gravitation. The intention is to demonstrate that a pseudo problem following from the failure of General Relativity below black hole horizon is in question.
In the second past of posting I will discuss TGD view about blackholes and Hawking radiation. There are several new elements involved but concerning black holes the most relevant new element is the assignment of Euclidian space-time regions as lines of generalized Feynman diagrams implying that also blackhole interiors correspond to this kind of regions. Negentropy Maximization Principle is also an important element and predicts that number theoretically defined black hole negentropy can only increase. The real surprise was that the temperature of the variant of Hawking radiation at the flux tubes of proton Sun system is room temperature! Could TGD variant of Hawking radiation be a key player in quantum biology?
Is information lost or not in blackhole collapse?
The basic problem is that classically the collapse to blackhole seems to destroy all information about the matter collapsing to the blackhole. The outcome is just infinitely dense mass point. There is also a theorem of classical GRT stating that blackhole has no hair: blachole is characterized only by few conserved charges.
Hawking has predicted that blackhole loses its mass by generating radiation, which looks like thermal. As blackhole radiates its mass away, all information about the material which entered to the blackhole seems to be lost. If one believes in standard quantum theory and unitary evolution preserving the information, and also forgets the standard quantum theory's prediction that state function reductions destroy information, one has a problem. Does the information really disappear? Or is the GRT description incapable to cope with the situation? Could information find a new representation?
Superstring models and AdS/CFT correspondence have inspired the proposal that a hologram results at the horizon and this hologram somehow catches the information by defining the hair of the blackhole. Since the radius of horizon is proportional to the mass of blackhole, one can however wonder what happens to this information as the radius shrinks to zero when all mass is Hawking radiated out.
What Hawking suggests is that a new kind of symmetry known as super-translations - a notion originally introduced by Bondi and Metzner - could somehow save the situation. Andrew Strominger has recently discussed the notion. The information would be "stored to super-translations". Unfortunately this statement says nothing to me nor did not say to Bee and New Scientist reporter. The idea however seems to be that the information carried by Hawking radiation emanating from the blackhole interior would be caught by the hologram defined by the blackhole horizon.
Super-translation symmetry acts at the surface of a sphere with infinite radius in asymptotically flat space-times looking like empty Minkowski space in very distant regions. The action would be translations along sphere plus Poincare transformations.
What comes in mind in TGD framework is conformal transformations of the boundary of 4-D lightcone, which act as scalings of the radius of sphere and conformal transformations of the sphere. Translations however translate the tip of the light-cone and Lorentz transformations transform the sphere to an ellipsoid so that one should restrict to rotation subgroup of Lorentz group. Besides this TGD allows huge group of symplectic transformations of δ CD× CP2 acting as isometries of WCW and having structure of conformal algebra with generators labelled by conformal weights.
What are the problems?
My fate is to be an aggressive dissident listened by no-one, and I find it natural to continue in the role of angry old man. Be cautious, I am arrogant, I can bite, and my bite is poisonous!
- With all due respect to Big Guys, to me the problem looks like a pseudo problem caused basically by the breakdown of classical GRT. Irrespective of whether Hawking radiation is generated, the information about matter (apart from mass, and some charges) is lost if the matter indeed collapses to single infinitely dense point. This is of course very unrealistic and the question should be: how should we proceed from GRT.
Blackhole is simply too strong an idealization and it is no wonder that Hawking's calculation using blackhole metric as a background gives rise to blackbody radiation. One might hope that Hawking radiation is genuine physical phenomenon, and might somehow carry the information by being not genuinely thermal radiation. Here a theory of quantum gravitation might help. But we do not have it!
- What do we know about blackholes? We know that there are objects, which can be well described by the exterior Schwartschild metric. Galactic centers are regarded as candidates for giant blackholes. Binary systems for which another member is invisible are candidates for stellar blackholes. One can however ask wether these candidates actually consist of dark matter rather than being blackholes. Unfortunately, we do not understand what dark matter is!
- Hawking radiation is extremely weak and there is no experimental evidence pro or con. Its existence assumes the existence of blackhole, which presumably represents the failure of classical GRT. Therefore we might be seeing a lot of trouble and inspired heated debates about something, which does not exist at all! This includes both blackholes, Hawking radiation and various problems such as firewall paradox.
There are also profound theoretical problems.
- Contrary to the intensive media hype during last three decades, we still do not have a generally accepted theory of quantum gravity. Super string models and M-theory failed to predict anything at fundamental level, and just postulate effective quantum field theory limit, which assumes the analog of GRT at the level of 10-D or 11-D target space to define the spontaneous compactification as a solution of this GRT type theory. Not much is gained.
AdS/CFT correspondence is an attempt to do something in absence of this kind of theory but involves 10- or 11- D blackholes and does not help much. Reality looks much simpler to an innocent non-academic outsider like me. Effective field theorizing allows intellectual laziness and many problems of recent day physics will be probably seen in future as being caused by this lazy approach avoiding attempts to build explicit bridges between physics at different scales. Something very similar has occurred in hadron physics and nuclear physics and one has kind of stable of Aigeias to clean up before one can proceed.
- A mathematically well-defined notion of information is lacking. We can talk about thermodynamical entropy - single particle observable - and also about entanglement entropy - basically a 2-particle observable. We do not have genuine notion of information and second law predicts that the best that one can achieve is no information at all!
Could it be that our view about information as single particle characteristic is wrong? Could information be associated with entanglement and be 2-particle characteristic? Could information reside in the relationship of object with the external world, in the communication line? Not inside blackhole, not at horizon but in the entanglement of blackhole with the external world.
- We do not have a theory of quantum measurement. The deterministic unitary time evolution of Schrödinger equation and non-deterministic state function reduction are in blatant conflict. Copenhagen interpretation escapes the problem by saying that no objective reality/realities exist. Easy trick once again! A closely related Pandora's box is that experienced time and geometric time are very different but we pretend that this is not the case.
The only way out is to bring observer part of quantum physics: this requires nothing less than quantum theory of consciousness. But the gurus of theoretical physics have shown no interest to consciousness. It is much easier and much more impressive to apply mechanical algorithms to produce complex formulas. If one takes consciousness seriously, one ends up with the question about the variational principle of consciousness. Yes, your guess was correct! Negentropy Maximization Principle! Conscious experience tends to maximize conscious information gain. But how information is represented?
In the second part of the posting I will discuss TGD view about blackholes and Hawking radiation.
For pdf version of the text see the article TGD view about black holes and Hawking radiation.
For a summary of earlier postings see Links to the latest progress in TGD.