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Physics + Math

Video: 2.5 Ways to Die in a Black Hole

The Nature of Reality

A new twist on a 40-year-old black hole paradox has physicists puzzling over the fundamental laws of nature. This video demystifies this “information paradox” while exploring different nightmarish scenarios of being swallowed by a black hole: being torn apart, being burnt to a crisp, and being chaotically garbled. Understanding this deadly puzzle could revolutionize how we think about space, time, and the matter that makes up everything in the universe.

Go Deeper
Editor’s picks for further reading

Cosmic Variance: Joe Polchinski on Black Holes, Complementarity, and Firewalls
Go inside the information paradox with physicist Joe Polchinski, one of the authors of the paper that sparked the firewall controversy.

The Nature of Reality: Do Black Holes Destroy Information?
Our primer on the black hole information paradox.

The Nature of Reality: Stephen Hawking Serves Up Scrambled Black Holes”
A look at Stephen Hawking’s proposal to resolve the firewall problem.