Hawking tells peers about the Black Hole in his physics theory

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The Independent Online

The most famous living scientist yesterday admitted he would have to pay the price for recanting one of his theories about black holes.

The most famous living scientist yesterday admitted he would have to pay the price for recanting one of his theories about black holes.

At a conference in Dublin, Stephen Hawking revealed a bet he had made with an American physicist, John Preskill, who had never accepted the British scientist's contention that information could not be lost from black holes. Yesterday Professor Hawking admitted he had changed his mind.

The loser was to provide the winner with an encyclopedia of his choice, Professor Hawking explained, and Professor Preskill wanted a baseball encyclopedia. "I had great difficulty in finding one, so I offered him an encyclopedia of cricket, but John wouldn't be persuaded of the superiority of cricket."

In 1975, Professor Hawking calculated black holes lose mass by radiating energy in the form of "Hawking radiation". He believed that after something fell into a black hole it was lost for ever.

But yesterday, he said: "I think I have solved a major problem in theoretical physics." He said he had ruled out his earlier belief that people could use black holes as portals to travel to other universes.

Black holes are believed to be among the most destructive phenomena, because their gravitational pull captures everything that comes within reach so not even light can escape.

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