Stephen Hawking recently passed away. I’ll repeat below my post from 2014, then add a comment.
Stephen Hawking is one of the creators of black hole theory using relativistic physics. (Actually, it would have been possible to come up with a black hole theory using the old Newtonian physics, but nobody ever bothered to.) Hawking has actually become quite the celebrity from his work, and he even appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s one of the most easily recognized scientists in the world.
photo by Doug Wheller
Now Hawking has rethought it and declared black holes do not exist. A standard feature of science fiction has vanished, as if it had fallen into . . . well, we’ll think of something. Easy for Hawking to say—sorry I was wrong about what’s made me famous over the past few decades, next I’ll invent some other impossible things for you yokels to believe in.
Telling some people who are really into black hole cosmology that black holes do not exist is like telling a child that Santa Claus does not exist. Or like having the projector fail during a Star Wars premier before an audience full of geeks.