By Bob Fredericks
Stephen Hawking’s decades-old black-hole theory has been confirmed by another scientist — and that may finally land the renowned physicist on the short list for a Nobel Prize.
Hawking — whose life with his former wife and struggle with motor neuron disease were dramatized in the 2014 movie “The Theory of Everything” — calculated back in 1974 that tiny particles should be able to rob black holes of a minuscule fraction of their energy and then escape.
That means that the black holes would slowly evaporate over time, spewing out all the dust, light and passing stars they had swallowed in a trickle of heat.
Conventional wisdom at the time said that black holes were places where gravity pulled so hard that nothing could get out, including light.
The development could open up a bizarre vision of the universe in which black holes can cough themselves into nothingness, Hawking said during recent lectures on the BBC and at Harvard.
“This raises a serious problem that strikes at the heart of our understanding of science,” he said.
Richard Dawkins Foundation