The Big Bang Is a Scientific Mystery, and Black Holes Are Devouring the Clues

Theoretical Physicist and Author
Over a year ago

Steven Hawking's protege, Christophe Galfard, says there are only two events in the universe that defy the laws of physics: black holes and the Big Bang, and while scientists try to explain them both, black holes may be eating up crucial evidence that helps explains the Big Bang. Black holes, Galfard explains, may destroy matter that is gravitationally attracted to them such that scientists cannot use it to learn about the early the moments of the universe.

Comparing it to throwing an encyclopedia in a fire, Galfard is concerned that crucial information is being "burned" out of existence by black holes. If that were the only difficulty with understanding where our universe came from, many physicists could rest easier at night. But another fundamental problem, called the "information paradox," confronts any attempt to know how our universe came to be. Simply put, the paradox says that gathering more information on a given topic doesn't necessarily tell you how it came to be — they are two fundamental different events. So even if we had all the data currently being sucked into black holes, we might not be closer to understanding how the laws of physics emerged.

And that, says Galfard, is the ultimate goal of physicists the world over: to understand not just how the universe works, but why it works the way it does, and how it came into being. The much sough-after "theory of everything" would solve these problems and give us a complete understanding. But there is nothing so near a proof of any such theory — only the positing of events, like vibrating strings and multiple universes, says Galfard.

His book is The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond.