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In 1997, the physics theorists Kip Thorne, Stephen Hawking and John Preskill made a public bet on the outcome of the black hole information paradox, usually referred to as the Thorne–Hawking–Preskill bet.

Thorne and Hawking argued that since general relativity made it impossible for black holes to radiate, and lose information, the mass-energy and information carried by Hawking Radiation must be "new", and must not originate from inside the black hole event horizon. Since this contradicted the idea under quantum mechanics of microcausality, quantum mechanics would need to be rewritten.

Preskill argued the opposite, that since quantum mechanics suggests that the information emitted by a black hole relates to information that infell at an earlier time, the view of black holes given by general relativity must be modified in some way.

The winner of the bet would receive an encyclopedia of his choice from the loser(s).

In 2004, Hawking announced that he was conceding the bet, and that he now believed that black hole horizons should fluctuate and leak information, in doing so he provided Preskill a copy of an encyclopedia on baseball. Kip Thorne declined to concede the bet at that time. As of 2004, Hawking's argument that he has solved the paradox has not yet been accepted by the community, and a consensus has not yet been reached that Hawking has provided a strong enough argument that this is in fact what happens.

See also

* Hawking radiation

Astronomy Encyclopedia

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