Stephen Hawking, the 70 year old greatest living physicist of the universe, has identified his biggest mistake. Only Hawking can get away with saying that, strictly speaking, there are no black holes in our universe.
We have no idea what to do with that information except it destroys the notion of traveling to other universes through these holes. Suck it, inter-galactic travel!
So, apparently, there was a time when Hawking thought that a Black Hole consumes everything that gets too close to it, including information.
That doesn't meant that a Black Hole is consuming Buzzfeed or the Huffington Post because that would be a service to mankind. No, what it means is that Hawking used to believe that Black Holes had such strong magnetic fields that they would destroy all information about whatever fell into them.
Hawking even bet a fellow physicist some seven years ago that he was right.
Hawking is using his very short paper to address what is called the 'black-hole firewall paradox.' This was first suggested by physicist Joseph Polchinski.
Polchinski and his team speculated what would happen to an astronaut once he or she fell into a black hole. At the quantum physics level, the team hypothesized that the astronaut would be oblivious to the outcome until arriving at the Event Horizon, which would be a high energy wall that would burn the astronaut to a cinder immediately.
Einstein's theory of relativity would have seen the astronaut gradually pulled apart by gravitational forces. Hawking sees both relativity and quantum physics as being able to co-exist. He sees highly quantum conditions as existing within a black hole, as well as adherence to relativity within the boundaries.
Hawking, he is the man, does this without even having to do the math. The dude is radical.
In his new paper, essentially, Hawking is saying that black holes don't really exist in our universe in the sense that light and radiation does escape from a black hole, and that information is not destroyed within a black hole but released in a new form.
If anyone had else had said there are no black holes, they would be laughed out of the physicist community, which is probably not much of a loss for anyone except a physicist, but Hawking can get away with it because he is the man.