Black Hole Evaporation: Theoretical Study Proves Stephen Hawking Partially Right

New theoretical research by Radboud University’s Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom and Heino Falcke has shown that Stephen Hawking was right about black holes, though not quite. Due to Hawking radiation, black holes will eventually evaporate, but the event horizon is not as crucial as once believed. Gravity and the curvature of space-time also cause this radiation. This means that all large objects in the universe, such as the remnants of stars, will eventually evaporate. Using a clever combination of quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity, Stephen Hawking argued that the spontaneous creation and annihilation of pairs of particles must occur near the event horizon (the point beyond which there is no escape from gravitational force). of a black hole).

A particle and its antiparticle are created very briefly from the quantum field, after which they immediately annihilate. But sometimes one particle falls into the black hole, and then the other particle can escape: Hawking radiation. According to Hawking, this would eventually result in the evaporation of black holes. In this new study, researchers from Radboud University reviewed this process and investigated whether or not the presence of an event horizon is really crucial. They combined techniques from physics, astronomy and mathematics to examine what happens if such pairs of particles are created in the vicinity of black holes. The study showed that new particles can also be created well beyond this horizon. Michael Wondrak says: “We show that, in addition to the well-known Hawking radiation, there is also a new form of radiation.”

Van Suijlekom says: “We show that well beyond a black hole, the curvature of spacetime plays an important role in the creation of radiation. The particles are already separated there by the tidal forces of the gravitational field.” Whereas previously it was thought that radiation without the event horizon was not possible, this study shows that this horizon is not necessary. Falcke says: “That means that objects without an event horizon, such as the remnants of dead stars and other large objects in the universe, also have this type of radiation. And, after a very long period, that would lead to everything in the universe eventually evaporating, just like black holes. This changes not only our understanding of Hawking radiation, but also our view of the universe and its future.” The study has been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters, and in the meantime, a version of the paper can be read on the arXiv preprint server.