There are a lot of bizarre theories about black holes. Black holes gobble up everything that gets too close, even light, they can cause time to slow down, they contain entire universes, etc.
But here’s something about black holes you might not have heard: They simply don’t exist.
That’s the contention of Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton, a theoretical physicist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In a new paper submitted to the non-peer-reviewed (red flag!) online research paper repository ArXiv, she offers what she calls proof that it’s mathematically impossible for black holes ever to form.
The paper suggests a possible resolution of the so-called “black hole information loss paradox,” in which Einstein’s theory of relativity predicts that black holes should form but quantum theory says no “information” can ever permanently disappear from the universe.
In the conventional view, a black hole forms when a dying star collapses under the force of its own gravity to become a singularity. The gravity within the region surrounding this singularity is so intense that not even light can escape, hence the term black hole.
According to Mersini-Houghton however, a collapsing star sheds mass as it shrinks–so no black hole ever forms. Instead, the star stops collapsing at a finite radius…and its core explodes.
If Mersini-Houghton is correct, long-held theories about the origin of the universe may need to be revised. But not everyone is buying this new claim. Dr. David Garfinkle, a professor of physics at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and an expert on singularities and gravitational fields said the following:
“We don’t know enough about…the singularity to say whether [Messini-Houghton’s] picture is correct. Even if it is correct, it is very misleading to describe it as showing that ‘black holes don’t exist.’ There is a lot of astronomical evidence for objects that behave just like the black holes predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.”
Another problem with the new theory is the difficulty of claiming that ‘black holes don’t exist’ without first explaining the observational evidence we have for black holes.