back to article Black hole radiation could provide insight into quantum gravity

The evaporation of black holes could provide a way to what’s known as the “loop quantum gravity” theory. Loop gravity is one of the many theories proposed as a way to unite general relativity with quantum mechanics, but it’s not easy to test; as Aurélien Barrau of the French National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics …


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  1. flibbertigibbet

    Bravo again Richard

    Yet again you have produced an exemplary piece of science reporting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree...

      And not only that, he didn't add any spelling mistakes to the original press release!

      That's the important thing in science reporting - don't question, just paste.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Prof! Slight correction!

    "particles and antiparticles, the antiparticle falling into the black hole and causing it to lose mass"

    Actually, either of the particle and antiparticle call "fall in", so the black hole would be seen to emit particles and antiparticles in equal amounts (except if there were some mechanism that would be biased to one side or the other, who knows).

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Yes But

      With out re-aquainting myself with the theory ,since its widely quoted as a mechanism for black hole evaporation, then by definition more anti-particles should fall in than particles. Otherwise the BH mass would stay constant.

      So Im assuming that Hawking also theorised the mechanism you mention.

    2. Paul Mitchell

      Yes there is in deed a mechaism that biases the positrons lower down the gravity well than the electrons (which I don't understand myself).

      Hence the black hole loses mass as positrons rain down on it, and electrons are emitted as Hawking radiation.

      1. The last doughnut

        So the black holes builds up a positive charge and as the electromagnetic force is way stronger than gravity, the radiation promptly stops.

        Can someone please refute this Hawking tosh without further delay??

        1. Chemist

          "Can someone please refute this Hawking tosh without further delay??"

          What you have just said has nothing whatsoever to do with Hawkings !!!!!

    3. Ru


      Firing antimater into a black hole will not cause it to lose mass, for example; the total mass-energy of the black hole will still increase. It is the particle that escapes that is the important one.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    In science we trust

    May all their black holes radiate in a predicted and observable manner!

  4. Robert E A Harvey

    Now, all we need is to observe it

    There's not some instrument we can build in a giant circular tunnel under Switzerland is there? One will be going spare in a couple of years.

  5. Antoine Dubuc

    Miles Mathis as the much needed reboot button

    Physics has become Windows.

    Time for a reboot again...

    1. Tim Parker

      @Antoine Dubuc


      Wow - most of that is not even wrong.

      I'm particularly taken with his justification for the vehemence of his attacks, namely the supposed hubris of the scientists we mentions. Dramatic irony near it's finest I feel...

  6. mhenriday
    Thumb Up

    Note the last paragraph

    in which Professor Barrau (who, by the way, sports a nice ponytail, like our Minister of Finance here in Sweden) «adds that there may even be signatures observable in the universe’s microwave background radiation». That would really be fantastic - more or less on a par with the observation of the Higgs bosun expected/hoped to come from CERN during the coming year....


  7. Filippo

    Observing Hawking radiation

    We really need to start making those black holes in the LHC...

  8. JDX Gold badge


    Then can only make micro-holes in the LHC (if they could at all) so we still need to send a probe to find a real one!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your hole...


      If you need help finding one point your sat nav here >>>>> Sagittarius A*

      If you have quick feet and don't stray close you can be back in say ~52,00 years. Let us know how you get on ;)

  9. All names Taken

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Birthday Dr Hawkin dude!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It there no attractive force between matter and antimatter ?

    Maybe it is just me but I'd have expected more antimatter particles to drop across the event horizon of a black hole made from matter, whilst their associated matter particles have a better chance of drifting away.

    And once in the black hole the antimatter particle can annihilate whatever matter particle it first finds there, shrinking the black hole.

    1. Justicesays

      The article is slightly misleading

      The decay mechanism is not that the anti-particle falls into the hole and annihilates something inside. The energy of the annihilation would stay in the hole (duh) and the overall mass/energy of the hole increase.

      The (proposed) mechanism is that virtual particle/anti-particle pairs are formed by vacuum energy fluctuations, and close to a black hole one of the virtual particles can be whisked off into the black hole before they both disappear back into "nothingness". Because of preservation of charge, spin etc the other particle then has to become real, and the energy "debt" of the creation of this particle passes to the black hole, reducing its overall mass/energy. As its random which of the two fall in the overall charge of the black hole will stay constant +- minute fluctuations .

      Or at least, this is the standard english language explanation given, the actual theory uses mathematical tranforms of the vacuum in the presence of a black hole AFAIK to get the result "energy comes out of black holes" and particle/anti-particle quantization of the vacuum is in there somewhere.

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