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Black Holes, Singularities, and Information Loss

Richard P. Dolan

Abstract

In the inflaton spacetime model, spacetime singularities are not possible, either inside
black holes or anywhere else. Inside a black hole is a tiny core of super-dense matter.
Therefore, the information loss paradox that is the subject of much controversy among
physicists does not exist. There is a form of complementarity, since an observer outside a
black hole does not see the same thing as an observer inside.

Black holes are dead stars that have collapsed under the gravitational attraction of their
own mass. The matter density at the center of a black hole is extremely high. Some say it
is infinite and the center of a black hole is a singularity. The density is so high that a
horizon forms outside of the black hole where the escape velocity exceeds the speed of
light. Nothing that falls through the horizon can escape, even light. Thus, a black hole is
really black—nothing inside can be seen from outside the horizon.

In 1974, Stephen Hawking showed that the temperature of a black hole is not absolute
zero as it was previously assumed, and that black holes radiate energy like black bodies.
Eventually, a black hole will evaporate. However, the temperature is inversely
proportional to the mass of the black hole so that very large black holes have exceedingly
low temperatures, much lower than the current temperature in space, which means they
are currently absorbing energy rather than radiating it.

In 1976, Hawking concluded that the information content of whatever falls into a black
hole is irretrievably lost from the universe. The Hawking radiation, he said, is purely
thermal and contains no information other than temperature. The infalling matter goes
down the singularity along with its information content. Leonard Susskind, Gerard t’
Hooft and other physicists realized that this would violate the unitarity that is
fundamental to quantum mechanics. They insisted that there could be no loss of
information and have been trying ever since to prove that the information comes back out
in the Hawking radiation. The controversy is not yet settled.
It is generally agreed that getting rid of the singularity would solve the information loss
problem, although it does not show what happens to the information.

Inflaton Spacetime Model

In the inflaton spacetime model (Physics Essays, 19, 370 and here), singularities are
impossible, so the black hole information loss problem does not exist. Spacetime consists
of quantum entities called points, which are mixtures of fermionic and bosonic points. It
is indistinguishable from a spacetime consisting of two coupled fields, one fermionic and
the other bosonic. Obeying Bose-Einstein statistics, the bosonic points seek the same
quantum state, dragging the coupled fermionic points with them. This is gravity.
However, the fermionic points obey Fermi-Dirac statistics and cannot occupy the same
state. This is degeneracy pressure. The result is a quantum lattice of fermionic points
pilled together by gravity but held apart by degeneracy pressure. Each fermionic point is
confined to a Planck-scale cell bounded by other fermionic points. The positions of these
points are subject to quantum fluctuations. There is a ground state of lowest energy
corresponding to empty space. If the energy of a point is above the ground state, a
particle exists at that point.

Black holes form when stars exhaust their fuel and are too large to be held up by the
degeneracy pressure of their electrons or neutrons. They then undergo gravitational
collapse, forming a dense core surrounded by a horizon located at the point of no return
for matter and energy falling in. The theory of General Relativity says that the core is a
singularity, a point of zero size and infinite mass density. However, General Relativity
does not apply to Planck-scale physics. In the inflaton spacetime model, the maximum
theoretical mass density, assuming that all fermionic points are stationary and in an
excited state, is the Planck density. A singularity cannot form as long as the fermionic
points are held apart by degeneracy pressure. Degeneracy pressure for points is much
stronger than for particles. Since space is undergoing an accelerating expansion, it is
possible that at some time in the far distant future space may become large enough for its
gravity to overcome its degeneracy pressure just as it does for black holes, in which case
it will collapse to a singularity. However, unless the entire universe collapses, no isolated
singularity can ever form at any point. Therefore, we can conclude that there is no
singularity in any black hole, and no information is lost.

Black Hole Evaporation

If there is no singularity, the core of a black hole is simply a very dense amalgamation of
all of the matter that has fallen through the horizon. It just consists of particles that are
very close together. Their positions are still subject to quantum fluctuations, that is, they
have position wave functions. Naturally, these position wave functions are sharply
peaked in the region around the center of the black hole, but there is always some
nonzero probability that any given particle could be found at any finite distance from the
center, even beyond the horizon. In other words, the particles inside a black hole can
tunnel through the gravitational barrier, enormous as it is, and escape from the black hole.
Given enough time, some say 1068 years or so for a solar-mass black hole, a black hole
will evaporate. What looks like Hawking radiation from outside the horizon is quantum
tunneling to an inside observer. The larger the black hole, the smaller the tunneling
probability and the longer it takes for the black hole to evaporate. For Hawking radiation,
larger black holes have lower Hawking temperatures and therefore radiate at slower rates.
Thus, with respect to evaporation, the views of observers outside black holes are
consistent with those of inside observers. But the Hawking radiation is not devoid of
information. It contains all of the information that has ever fallen into the black hole.

Black Hole Core Size and Density

Jacob Bekenstein realized that black holes must have entropy and calculated that the
entropy of a black hole is proportional to the area of the horizon, not to the volume
enclosed by the horizon. This surprised everyone because it is counterintuitive. Entropy is
a measure of information. One would expect that the amount of information contained in
a lump of stuff would be proportional to the volume of the lump. In the inflaton
spacetime model, there is no need to give up this intuitive notion. If we conjecture that
the information content of a black hole is proportional to the volume of the core, then
Bekenstein’s conclusion simply means that the volume of the core must be proportional
to the area of the horizon. This actually makes a lot of sense. Let’s look at a black hole
whose mass M is nmPl, where mPl is the Planck mass. The horizon radius is

rH = 2GM/c2 = 2nGmPl/c2.

Expressing G in terms of the Planck mass and length, we find that the horizon area is

AH = 4πrH2 = 16πn2lPl2,

where lPl is the Planck length. In other words, the horizon area is equal to a certain
number of Planck areas (the Planck length squared).

Bekenstein showed that the horizon area increases by one Planck area for each bit of
information falling into the black hole, that is, the number of bits of information equals
the number of Planck areas on the horizon. Now, what if we assume that the core
contains the same number of Planck volumes, lPl3, as the horizon contains Planck areas.
Then the entropy, or information content, of the black hole is proportional to both the
core volume and the horizon area. The core volume is

Vc = 16πn2lPl3,

and the core mass density is

ρc = mPl/16πnlPl3,

or one Planck mass per 16πn Planck volumes.


Notice that the core density decreases as the mass nmPl increases. This is consistent with
the basic definition of mass in the inflaton spacetime model: for a particle that is not a
composite of other particles, mass is the inverse of the position uncertainty of the particle.
As the mass of a black hole increases, the core volume also increases, so the position
uncertainty of any given particle increases and the average mass that any Planck volume
can represent decreases. Thus, the core volume must increase by a greater factor than the
mass.

Now let’s calculate the core size and density for a two-solar-mass black hole. The
numbers we’ll need are:

mass of the sun = 1.989 × 1033 g


mPl = 2.1768 × 10-5 g
lPl = 1.6160 × 10-33 cm.

For a mass twice the sun’s mass, n = 1.83 × 1038 and n2 = 3.34 × 1076. Then the volume
of the core of this black hole is:

Vc = 7.08 × 10-21 cm3

The core radius rc is about 1.2 nanometers! The core density is an enormous 2.8 × 1053
g/cm3!

By comparison, the horizon radius is almost 6000 kilometers.

Black Hole Complementarity

Black hole complementarity was conceived by Leonard Susskind to explain the black
hole information paradox. He noted that an observer outside a black hole never sees
anything fall in. That observer can’t see anything past the horizon because nothing can
escape from the inside. Everything that falls in appears to remain at the horizon,
becoming spread out over the horizon area. The horizon appears to be a very hot
amalgamation of matter and energy that, of course, radiates energy, which cools as it
escapes from the gravitational pull of the black hole, ultimately reaching the Hawking
temperature as seen by the distant observer. On the other hand, an observer falling into
the black hole sees nothing at the horizon, only empty space. Inside the black hole, this
observer, given a powerful enough microscope, might see the tiny core slowly
evaporating by quantum tunneling. Neither observer would see any loss of information.
Susskind noted that the two observers’ views are complementary in the same way that the
particle and wave views of a photon or an electron are complementary. Both situations
satisfy Bohr’s principle of complementarity. In the case of the photon, you can only
observe it as either a particle or a wave, never both at once. Therefore there is no
contradiction between the two views. In the case of the black hole, the inside and outside
observers can never communicate with each other, so the two views never contradict each
other.
While black hole complementarity is still somewhat controversial, and while most
physicists believe that black holes contain singularities, there seems to be no way to
disprove complementarity, and it seems to me to be correct.