Heartburn for black holes

The dispute continues on how the “surface” of a black hole is made of as a tangle of cosmic strings. According to Samir Mathur of Ohio State University, who proposed the theory of “fuzzball” a decade ago, it is not at all an impenetrable “wall of fire”, as recent studies claim.
More than a decade ago, Samir Mathur, Indian-born physicist and professor at Ohio State University, used the principles of string theory to prove that the black holes are actually tangled cosmic strings. This theory – which provides the black hole with a defined surface, albeit “irregular” – has interesting implications, the kind that Earth may already be falling into a black hole without being noticed. But, above all, the so-called “theory of fuzzball” has helped to resolve some inconsistencies in the way that physicists try to describe the black holes.


Credit: Alain Riazuelo (CNRS), 2008.

In recent months, a group of researchers has developed the ideas of Mathur, concluding that the “gomitolone” – in short: the black hole in this view – has a frayed surface and indistinct but, on the contrary, sharp and lethal, as could be, in the eyes of a hypothetical attacker, a wall of fire around a garrison. The reference is to the recent theory of the firewall, that in the vicinity of the event horizon – which corresponds to the “capture zone” of the black hole – an observer would experience temperatures gradually higher. A transition zone highly scalding, then, but also very embarrassing, because would undermine other cornerstones of physics
These days the scientific controversy fuzzball fireball-up again with a new article that Samir Mathur has just deposited in free arXiv waiting to find a real publisher. In his new study, the scientist disputes the theory firewall, proving mathematically that the black holes are not necessarily as harbingers of doom as it is customary to paint them. Or rather, you might even consider them the same way as the benevolent machine … make photocopies. Indeed, Mathur and his team believe that when the matter touches the “surface” of a black hole turns into a hologram, an almost perfect copy of itself that continues to exist as before.
In a nutshell, the fact that the copy is “perfect” or “near-perfect” is the axis on which turns the discussion between, respectively, and advocates against the theory firewall. A dispute that goes some way to resolve the paradox of information, or the loss of information that would occur whenever the matter crosses the border of a black hole, leading to a decrease in entropy of the Universe and, in substance , contradicting thermodynamics.

samirBut a dispute flavor epistemological since according Mathur, concerns drastically whether physicists can or cannot accept the fact that the black holes, as well as the rest of the universe, are imperfect.

“A perfect black hole cannot exist because every black hole is different,” says Mathur based on the belief that the matter swallowed a black hole is not destroyed, but must become part of the black hole itself. It is as if, says researcher using a biochemistry metaphor, a new gene sequence was inserted into its DNA. This means that every black hole is a unique product of matter, which eventually runs into it. Even the black holes, one might say, are what they eat: the question is whether and how to digest.


Samir Mathur

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