Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Hawking’

“Black holes don’t exist” – Hawking applied to climate

February 3, 2014

Stephen Hawking’s recent paper is causing much consternation as Geraint Lewis describes in  The Conversation.

But could it be that it is Hawking’s non-existent black holes – located at the bottom of the oceans – which have swallowed up all the heat predicted by climate models and which has gone missing?

Grey is the new black hole: is Stephen Hawking right?

Over the past few days, the media has cried out the recent proclamation from Stephen Hawking that black holes, a mystery of both science and science fiction, do not exist.

Such statements send social media into conniptions, and comments quickly degenerate into satirical discussions of how you should never believe anything scientists say, as they just make it up anyway.

S. W. Hawking, Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes, arXiv:1401.5761v1

Abstract: It has been suggested [1] that the resolution of the information paradox for evaporating black holes is that the holes are surrounded by firewalls, bolts of outgoing radiation that would destroy any infalling observer. Such firewalls would break the CPT invariance of quantum gravity and seem to be ruled out on other grounds. A different resolution of the paradox is proposed, namely that gravitational collapse produces apparent horizons but no event horizons behind which information is lost. This proposal is supported by ADS-CFT and is the only resolution of the paradox compatible with CPT. The collapse to form a black hole will in general be chaotic and the dual CFT on the boundary of ADS will be turbulent. Thus, like weather forecasting on Earth, information will effectively be lost, although there would be no loss of unitarity.

But while Geraint Lewis considers whether “black” is actually “grey”, I think it is no more complicated than a zero-sum game of arcane physics. Whereas zero divided by zero may be indeterminate it seems to me that zero multiplied by zero must be a double zero.

Apart from the obvious that a “black hole” – by its very naming – must therefore mean a double-dose of nothingness it is worth noting that Hawking – being the ultimate authority for Sheldon Cooper – distinguishes between “apparent horizons” which are not real “event horizons” and that he compares the chaos of collapse to a black hole to “weather forecasting”!!

Or did he mean “climate forecasts” and “climate modelling”? After all the hidden heat could well have been swallowed up into the fathomless pit of climatic black holes.

Maybe the abstract should read:

Chaotic climate and the black holes of climate modelling

It has been suggested that the resolution of the climate paradox for hidden heat is that the oceans are surrounded by firewalls, bolts of outgoing radiation that would destroy any infalling climatologist. Such firewalls would break the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and seem to be ruled out on other grounds. A different resolution of the paradox is proposed, namely that climate models produces apparent warming but the warming is a negative warming where heat is lost. This proposal is supported by the reality of the hiatus in global temperatures and is the only resolution of the paradox compatible with CS (common sense). The collapse to enter the new glacial will in general be chaotic and the approach of such a condition will be turbulent. Thus, like weather forecasting on Earth, information will effectively be lost, although there would be no loss of unitarity.

Higgs Boson may not have been found after all. Just a PR exercise?

July 12, 2012

Is this some new way to ensure that funding continues?

First some very high profile publicity to announce some fantastic new discovery – which then gradually gets debunked over the next few months but at a much lower level of interest. But the initial high-profile announcements probably help to maintain the perceptions necessary to ensure funding. The low profile debunking does not register. It seems to be getting to be a habit for CERN.

Last September the CERN PR apparatus went into overdrive with the announcements that FTL neutrinos may have been found. FTL particles were announced with great fanfare only to be debunked later. And by November the story had died but the publicity had no doubt helped to bolster the perception that CERN is important.

A few days ago the CERN PR operations went into full swing. Advance warnings of an “Important Announcement” were disseminated widely. Background information was spread to all the media. Physicists around the world were interviewed about what the Higgs Boson was and what the discovery would mean. It was not long before the new “discovery” was being hailed as the most important scientific discovery of the 21st Century, and on par with Copernicus’s discovery that the sun is the center of our solar system”.  And now just one week later it appears that whatever was found may not be the Higgs Boson and may not even be a separate particle at all.

I am naturally cynical about the extravagant trappings that sometimes surround “big science” but lately CERN’s PR seems more impressive than any physics they do:

CERN PR in action: Rolf Heuer, CERN Director General (C), Fabiola Gianotti, ATLAS experiment spokesperson (L), and Joe Incandela, a spokesman of the CMS experiment, look at a screen during a scientific seminar to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva July 4, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Hawking, God, creation and gravity

September 2, 2010

There have been headlines today regarding Stephen Hawking’s new book The Grand Design (co-written by US physicist Leonard Mlodinow) to be published on 9th September.

 

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

Image via Wikipedia

 

“God did not create the Universe”

is the BBC headline.

Citing the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, he said: “That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.” He adds: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. ….Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist…..It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

But if The Big Bang and  all the subsequent creation events flow naturally and inevitably from the law of gravity, what still remains is to explain where the law of gravity came from or from what it flows naturally and inevitably……….

No matter how much more is discovered by science we will still have the space of the “unknown unknowns” (a la Rumsfeld) where we do not even know what questions are feasible – let alone what question to ask.


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