Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Black holes mangle matter and energy, but cricket IS better !

I had recently mentioned Hawking's retraction of his claim that a black hole destroys everything that enters it. He has now presented his work at a conference on GTR.

A footnote to this story is the famous bet that Hawking and Kip Thorne (of CalTech) had with John Preskill (also at CalTech). The terms of the bet were:

"information swallowed by a black hole is forever hidden and can never be revealed."
Preskill bet against that theory.

The forfeit is an encyclopedia, from which Preskill can recover information at will.

Since Hawking lost the bet, he owed Preskill an encyclopedia:

He presented Preskill a favored reference work "Total Baseball, The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia" after having it specially flown over from the United States.

"I had great difficulty in finding one over here, so I offered him an encyclopedia of cricket as an alternative," Hawking said, "but John wouldn't be persuaded of the superiority of cricket."

However, the matter does not appear to be resolved:

But Preskill says that Hawking's new take on quantum gravity rests on shaky mathematical foundations, and is unlikely to be embraced by the physics community. "I am sceptical about whether he has found a fully satisfactory resolution to the problem," he says.

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