For the longest time, scientists firmly believed that once something fell into a black hole, it would be quite literally impossible for it to get back out. Now, for the first time, new research shows that this may not be the case entirely.

To understand this arguably groundbreaking news about black holes, you must first understand what is known as the “black hole information paradox.” This paradox stems from calculations suggesting that any physical information that falls into a black hole permanently disappears, which in itself violates a core concept of modern physics. This is that the value of a wave function at one point in time should also determine its value at any other time. Simply put, information cannot be destroyed.

Some physicists who study black holes have even gone as far as to say that the simple fact that black holes exist shows that there are other layers to reality itself. This type of thinking is formed from the fact that black holes behave in ways that don’t make sense with traditional physics. The very nature of space-time itself begins to break down as you look deeper and deeper into black holes.

Scientists now believe that black holes of great age no longer retain every bit of physical information that falls into them. In fact, they believe that the mechanism that prevented all of that information from escaping is actually reversed.

As Quanta put it, “If you jump into one, you will not be gone for good. Particle by particle, the information needed to reconstitute your body will reemerge.” This has been a popular theory among string theory believers for some time, but this is the first time there has been some evidence to support it.

Information would be able to slowly seep its way out of the grasp of a black hole through gravity itself. However, the math only checks out with a bit of quantum physics sprinkled in as well. This thinking adds a new aspect to black holes — a quantum halo.

A quantum halo effect added to black holes would allow them to interact with their surroundings via small fluctuations in space-time, ultimately allowing information to escape exceptionally slowly. So slowly, in fact, that if you fell into a black hole, by the time all of your information finally escaped, nothing would be alive in the entire universe.

While this is great progress in the quest to solve the black hole information paradox, it is far from a complete solution. In order for this new theory to check out, changes need to be made to the notion of locality, a monumental task.

Via Quanta Magazine

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