Carlo Rovelli: Where does the stuff that falls into a black hole go?

What happens to matter in a black hole? The question has spawned many paradoxes, and in an extract from his latest book, physics superstar Carlo Rovelli proposes an answer

Space 28 October 2020

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The universe is full of things we had never foreseen or imagined, none more so than black holes

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THERE is something paradoxical in what we know about black holes. They have now become “normal” objects for astronomers. Astronomers observe them, count them and measure them. They behave exactly as Einstein’s theory predicted a century ago, when no one dreamed that such peculiar objects could actually exist. So, they are under control. And still, they remain utterly mysterious.

On the one hand we have a beautiful theory, general relativity, confirmed in spectacular manner by astronomical observations, which …

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