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Physics + MathPhysics & Math

Stephen Hawking Serves Up Scrambled Black Holes

A paper by Steven Hawking has physicists debating the true nature of black holes and the fate of infalling matter.

ByGreg KestinThe Nature of RealityThe Nature of Reality

Toast or spaghetti?

That’s the question that physicists have been trying to answer for the last year and a half. After agreeing for decades that anything—or anyone—unlucky enough to fall into a black hole would be ripped and stretched into spaghetti-like strands by the overwhelming gravity, theorists are now contending with the possibility that infalling matter is instead incinerated by a “toasty” wall of fire at the black hole’s horizon. Now, Stephen Hawking has proposed a radical solution: nixing one of the most infamous characteristics of a black hole, its event horizon, or point of no return.