Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel fearlessly released an article in Forbes saying that Stephen Hawking ‘lied’ about how black holes really decay.
Way back in 1974, one of the best scientists to ever grace the earth, Stephen Hawking, introduced the Hawking radiation. It is his take on the radiation given off by black holes that result from the interchanging of randomly created particles and anti-particles within the black hole space just near the event horizon, the inescapable area of a black hole. However, what Hawking wrote in his famous book, A Brief History Of Time, a slightly inaccurate description of such a phenomenon. This has become the basis for much of physics studies for years.
Basically, the visual picture that Hawking was trying to convey is that every particle of matter that is drawn closer to the event horizon can never return - even light, or space itself. In the sense of quantum physics, on the other hand, the law of conservation states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It implies that there is no total absence of something. Even in the deterioration of an entity, it will always leave traces. The unpredictability of these entities will cause their energy fields to decline, and when that happens, according to quantum field theory, the lowest level of energy that a quantum field can attain equates to a non-existence of particles. Even in nothingness, there is, and always will be something. This phenomenon occurs all throughout space.
According to Hawking, both particles and anti-particles randomly vanish and reappear within the black hole and far outside of it. The only area where that is not the case is in the event horizon, where either particle or anti-particle is pulled into the black hole, and/or one escapes and carries energy with it. This is, to Hawking, how black holes decay, and how radiation is produced. Hence, Hawking radiation.
But, according to theoretical astrophysicists, that is not the case. Hawking radiation is comprised of photons, or a particle of electromagnetic radiation. They are basically electrical fields that float around space. And that they are emitted from outside the area of the event horizon, not from it itself.
Hawking supports this claim from a mathematical perspective, comparing a zero-point energy between somewhere in space and inside a black hole; which cannot be applied to physical reality. In all actuality, the bent space surrounding a black hole is also a source of radiation because of the forces that are being enacted, the matter being stretched in all directions. The radiation results in a decrease in the size of the event horizon.
The takeaway here is that a black hole’s death is not attributed to the random tendency of the so-called ‘particles and anti-particles’ to vanish out of existence, but rather with the tendency of matter to be conserved at all costs, the radiation they produce overwhelms the black hole’s event horizon and reduces its size.
This is not meant to discredit Stephen Hawking from his enormous contributions to science. Instead, it is intended to clear up a rather confusing concept of one of the most interesting celestial entities to exist in the vast universe, the black hole. Here is another article that supports Siegel’s claim on Hawking radiation.