Thought Experiments


Live Webcast: Falling Into A Black Hole

How would it feel to fall into a black hole? Would you cruise pleasantly toward your doom, only feeling the deadly tug-and-crunch long past the point of no return? Or would you slam headlong into a scorching wall of fire at the black hole’s event horizon? It might sound the like the plot of the latest summer blockbuster, but this question turns out to have profound implications for physics.

On Wednesday, September 25 at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT, the Kavli Foundation will be hosting a live webcast on this question, known as the firewall paradox, with four of the top researchers in the field, Raphael Bousso (U.C. Berkeley), Juan Maldacena (Institute for Advanced Study), Joseph Polchinski (U.C. Santa Barbara) and Leonard Susskind (Stanford University). Members of the public are invited to submit questions via email, and you can watch the webcast here or on the Kavli Foundation site.

Want to read up in advance of the event? Try the following primers:

Nature News: Fire in the hole!

The New York Times: A Black Hole Mystery Wrapped in a Firewall Paradox

Slate: New York Times Wants to Fight Einstein, Einstein Declines

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Kate Becker

    Kate Becker is the editor of The Nature of Reality, where it is her mission to blow your mind with physics. Kate studied physics at Oberlin College and astronomy at Cornell University, and spent seven years as senior researcher for NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

    • Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry

      I don’t wish to jump these speakers, but I’ve listened to this topic from other astronomers—and they say that time stops at the event horizon, But I would ask, If that is so, then for an overweight neutron star falling into its terminal hole, the core is already closer than a Schwarzschild radius mass, so time would already be stopped inside, and the last of the outside falling in would slow and take a trillion years to get in…so it never really creates a ‘hole’ but a ‘plug’…Yet, however so, a black hole where time has stopped, or not, would still be just a mass; and f=ma…