Earlier this week, famed physicist Stephen Hawking gave a brief talk at a conference at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. In it, Hawking outlined some ideas that could resolve a paradox of black hole theory. Information entering a black hole may not be truly lost, he suggested. Instead, that information could still exist in a sort of hologram on the black hole’s event horizon. But this doesn’t mean you should design your next information-storage service around the use of black holes. “For all practical purposes, the information is lost,” Hawking said—that is, it exists “in a chaotic and useless form.” Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll of CalTech says that there’s no way to test Hawking’s thought experiment, but that once fleshed out further, it could be a new way of thinking about how the quantum world might function.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer