Parallel universes could solve a big problem with black holes

The black hole firewall paradox has been vexing physicists for years. But if quantum laws lead to the creation of other universes, the headache disappears

When it comes to black holes, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. A black hole, it seems, either destroys information in violation of quantum mechanics or it is enveloped by a blazing firewall, defying Einstein’s general relativity. But a new analysis using the “many worlds” interpretation, which says that each possible outcome of a quantum event exists in its own world, shows that black holes present no such paradoxes.

In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking showed that all black holes give off thermal radiation and eventually evaporate. In doing so, they seemed to be destroying information contained in the matter that fell into them and thus falling foul of a cardinal rule of quantum mechanics: information cannot be created or destroyed.

Some argued that the outgoing “Hawking” radiation preserved the information. But this led to other problems. In 2013,