Black Holes Cannot Lead To Other Places In The Universe, Claims New Study

Artist impression of a Wormhole. Image Credit: Rost9/

Artist impression of a Wormhole. Image Credit: Rost9/

Could black holes be tunnels to other locations in space-time? Could they be wormholes connecting different regions of the universe? A new study gives a resounding no to these questions.

Black holes are complicated beasts. They have consistently broken our physics and studying them has opened our eyes to the limitations of our knowledge. One crucial problem is the Information Paradox. Matter can’t escape black holes so, simplistically, once something gets in, its information is lost forever.

That’s a big no-no in physics. The Information Paradox was one of the areas that the late Stephen Hawking focused on. His, and others’, work led to the understanding that black holes evaporate and that information is somehow preserved. Understanding exactly how that takes place could provide crucial insight in the quest for unifying quantum mechanics with a theory of gravity.

One of the ways that herculean task is being attempted is with string theory. String theory posits that the fundamental components of the universe are vibrating strings. So far there’s no evidence that this is the ultimate theory of nature but its ability to find solutions to major open questions in physics has been appealing to many.

When it comes to the Information Paradox, there have been multiple proposals on how to solve that in string theory, including the idea that black holes are wormholes, a hypothetical construct very popular in sci-fi. Wormholes are a proposed connection to two different points in space-time but there’s no evidence that they exist.

A different theory instead sees black holes in string theory as “fuzzballs”, messy constructions that radiate energy (and thus information). Black holes, in this view, are not mostly empty with their whole mass contained in a singularity at its center. They are complex stringy structures.

“What we found from string theory is that all the mass of a black hole is not getting sucked into the center,” Professor Samir Mathur from Ohio State University explained in a statement. “The black hole tries to squeeze things to a point, but then the particles get stretched into these strings, and the strings start to stretch and expand and it becomes this fuzzball that expands to fill up the entirety of the black hole.”

Professor Mathur, who amongst others, put forward the idea of black holes as fuzzballs 18 years ago, put both the fuzzball hypothesis and the wormhole paradigm to the test. Publishing their paper in the Turkish Journal of Physics, Mathur and colleagues pretty much concluded the wormhole approach doesn’t work.

“In each of the versions that have been proposed for the wormhole approach, we found that the physics was not consistent,” Mathur said. “The wormhole paradigm tries to argue that, in some way, you could still think of the black hole as being effectively empty with all the mass in the center. And the theorems we prove show that such a picture of the hole is not a possibility.”

The study is certainly intriguing but there is still a huge debate whether string theory is the correct way to explain reality. So black holes might be even weirder than wormholes and fuzzballs. Or not.

Related Posts

‘Black widow’ neutron star found to be heaviest known pulsar after it devoured neighbour

Artist impression of a pulsar. Image Credit: MichaelTaylor/ Neutron stars are among the densest objects in the Universe, the result of supernovae explosions. The only thing denser is black holes,…

Read more

A Supermassive Black Hole Appears To Have Gone Missing

This composite image of Abell 2261 shows galaxies in the cluster (optical), hot gas (pink) pervading the cluster (X-ray), and the large elliptical galaxy in the center of the cluster….

Read more

Astronomer Finds New Way To Find Mysterious Planet 9, If It Exists At All

Given where it is speculated to be, Planet Nine would be an icy world. Image credit: Pe3k/ An astronomer has outlined a new way of finding the elusive Planet Nine,…

Read more

Black Hole Breakthroughs Win 2020 Nobel Physics Prize

Artist impression of a black hole. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, and Andrea Ghez for…

Read more

How A Supermassive Black Hole Can Kill Its Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is similar in mass to the Milky Way, but it has almost ceased star formation, while the Milky Way is still hard at it. Now we might…

Read more

JWST Views Galaxy Collision Causing Spectacular Burst Of Star Formation

IC 1623B is a merging pair of galaxies, one of which is hidden in the optical wavelengths, but exceptionally bright in the infrard where the JWST operates. Image credit: ESA/Webb,…

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *