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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

If you feel, you are in a black hole - don't give u- ~ there is way : Hawking

This man was born on 8th  January 1942 (300 years after the death of Galileo) in Oxford, England. His parents' house was in north London, but during the second world war, Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies.  He  wanted to study Mathematics, although his father would have preferred medicine. Mathematics was not available at University College, so he pursued Physics instead. After three years and not very much work, he was awarded a first  class honours degree in Natural Science.   He  has twelve honorary degrees; was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. 

A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying. Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. Black holes can be big or small. Scientists think the smallest black holes are as small as just one atom.

The man described is Stephen Hawking who is giving advice to depression sufferers: 'If you feel like you are in a black hole, don't give up - there is a way out'.  The famed Scientist made his comments at the Royal Institution in London on the eve of his 74th birthday.  Professor Stephen Hawking alluded to depression in a lecture when he told his audience it is possible to escape from a black hole of despair. Speaking at the Reith lecture in London, Professor Hawking said: Black holes ain't as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. 'Things can get out of a black hole...so if you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up - there's a way out'.  'Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up - there's a way out.'

Speaking to a group of scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in August, Professor Hawking talked about finding a solution to one of science’s most difficult questions. What happens to the information about the physical state of things that are swallowed up by black holes. and is it retrievable?  The laws of quantum mechanics demand that it should be, but that presents a paradox for our current understanding of black holes, known as the 'information paradox.' ‘This has been an outstanding problem in theoretical physics for the last 40 years...no satisfactory resolution has been advanced,’ he said.

‘I propose that the information is stored not in the interior of the black hole as one might expect, but on its boundary - the event horizon,’ he said. In fact, his theory suggests that information lost in black holes could be stored in alternative universes. His daughter Lucy, 46, told the audience that her father's stubbornness and laughter have kept him alive.  'He has a very enviable wish to keep going and the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going. 'But not just to keep going for the purposes of survival but to transcend this by producing extraordinary work - writing books, giving lectures, inspiring other people with neurodegenerative and other disabilities.'

Answering a question from the audience, Professor Hawking said he had learnt to appreciate what he had. 'Although it was unfortunate to get motor neurone disease, I have been very fortunate in almost everything else. 'I have been lucky to work in theoretical physics at a fascinating time and it' s one of the few areas in which my disability was not a serious handicap. 'It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life may seem because you can lose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and life in general.'

Professor Hawking also discussed this theory that black holes aren't 'eternal prisons', first proposed in August. He said it may be possible to fall into a black hole and come out in another universe. 'The hole would need to be large and if it was rotating it might have a passage to another universe' the physicist said.  The talk was initially scheduled for November but had to be cancelled because Professor Hawking was unwell. The lectures will be broadcast in two instalments on BBC Radio  on 26 January and 2 February – reports Mailonline.

Last August last year, Stephen Hawking tantalised the world by saying he'd worked out a solution to the “black hole paradox”.  The black hole paradox wouldn't have arisen if not for his own work, in a now 40-year-old paper that proposed “Hawking radiation”. Hawking radiation is a special case: if a virtual particle comes into existence on one side of the event horizon, and its twin on the other side, one will fall inwards and the other one escape. The escaping particle steals a tiny bit of the black hole's mass with it; if you waited a sufficiently ridiculous number of billions of years, the black hole itself would boil away into space. But the information dropping in is destroyed. Physics writes, for example, that the “soft hair” theory focuses on one specific kind of information – information that describes charge particles. To generalise from this paper, in other words, we need a theory that can describe other kinds of information.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a specific disorder that involves the death of neurons.  The man spoken about in para 1 above, suffers from a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of ALS  that has gradually paralysed him over the decades.  In his early days, speech became slightly slurred;  the diagnosis of motor neurone disease came when Hawking was 21, in 1963; at that  time, doctors gave him a life expectancy of two years.  In the late 1960s,  his  physical abilities declined: he began to use crutches and ceased lecturing regularly.  As he slowly lost the ability to write, he developed compensatory visual methods, including seeing equations in terms of geometry.  Immobilised and organs not functioning, he uses programmes, using a switch he selects phrases, words or letters from a bank of about 2500–3000 that are scanned; lectures were prepared in advance and were sent to the speech synthesiser in short sections to be delivered. Even that could not last, as in 2005 he lost the use of his hand and began to control his communication device with movements of his cheek muscles,  with a rate of about one word per minute. One cannot read any further of the sufferings. .. … ….and this man has the strength to teach people about not falling into depression !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Jan 2016

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