Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Susskind Quashes Hawking in Quarrel over Quantum Quandary

California Literary Review has a rather interesting interview with Leonard Susskind on his argument with Stephen Hawking over the nature of "information" and how it is lost (or not) when it enters a black hole. This debate was highlighted in Susskind's book "The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics", which was the main reason for the CLR interview with Susskind, I would think.

I think the whole issue can be summed up in this particular question and answer.

Why was this so important?

Well it’s probably not important for curing cancer, or knocking down enemy missiles, or speeding up your computer. But it is important to the future of physics and cosmology. The universe is controlled by two fundamental laws: Einstein’s gravity theory (the General Theory of Relativity) and Quantum Mechanics. Stephen argued very convincingly that the two (GTR and QM) were on a collision course. Gravity and Quantum Mechanics were just plain incompatible. One or the other would have to give, at least by Hawking’s logic.

Stephen was wrong, but his astonishing question has changed the history of physics, and there is much more to come.

Yup! There's definitely more to come...


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