A bold new experiment has suggested that contrary to popular belief, information trapped inside of a black hole may one day be recovered through the use of quantum mechanics.
While black holes are generally believed to crush everything within their paths, as intense amounts of gravity suck debris into these vast gaping monsters, the study of physics has likewise asserted that information should normally never be able to escape from these black holes. However, as Live Science reports, quantum mechanics may be able to teach physicists a thing or two about the complicated nature of black holes.
“In quantum physics, information cannot possibly be lost. Instead, information can be hidden, or scrambled among subatomic, inextricably linked particles,” Kevin Landsman, a physics graduate student at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) at the University of Maryland in College Park, noted.
Landsman and fellow co-authors of a new study have demonstrated that by simply using a model of a black hole, they were able to glean more information on how fast information gets scattered once it reaches the inside of these objects. This new research not only holds plenty of useful theories about black holes themselves, but may also help with the creation of quantum computers, as it turns out.
Black holes are fairly easy to understand and are simply objects created out of the deaths of stars that have become supernovas. Because they have such a strong gravitational pull, all debris close to them eventually gets sucked in, disappearing seemingly forever once it reaches the black hole’s event horizon.
While quantum mechanics holds that no information can ever fully be lost or destroyed, including information held within particles, the rules of relativity are quite different, and point to information trapped within black holes as being lost forever.
Physicists who have tried to their hardest to work through these conflicting scientific theories have so far all fallen prey to what is known as the black hole information paradox. However, with their new research, Landsman and the co-authors of this new study have developed another approach to try and resolve this problem.
“One can recover the information dropped into the black hole by doing a massive quantum calculation on these outgoing particles,” Norman Yao, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, explained.
While particles within a black hole have been “scrambled” quantum mechanically, which should theoretically make it quite impossible to recover the information held within these particles, physicists believe an entangled particle may hold the key to passing on information.
Since testing this theory out on an actual black hole would be quite out of the question, physicists in this case have based their calculations on a quantum computer using entangled qubits and also set up a basic model of three atomic Ytterbium nuclei, and then analyzed what happened when they were all entangled.
The new study in which physicists demonstrated that quantum mechanics may be the key to retrieving lost information trapped within black holes has been published in Nature.