Black holes swallow up everything, and nothing escapes. This property, the most iconic characteristic of these mysterious space phenomena, had its first major challenge this week when Techonion professor Jeff Steinhauer posted the results of an experiment. He simulated a black hole in the lab.
The idea that perhaps black holes do let some particles escape has been around for a long time now, since 1974 when Stephen Hawking’s calculations using quantum methods showed that black holes actually “radiate” particles back into outer space, and eventually disappear entirely. Due to the difficulty of calculating this delicate radiation through the depths of space, Hawking Radiation has remained a theory in the 42 years since, but Steinhauer’s new experiment may bring it closer than ever to being proven.