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科学美国人60秒:关于黑洞信息悖论的问题,解决了吗?

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Tulika Bose: This is 60-Second Science. I'm Tulika Bose.

这里是 60 秒科学。我是图利卡·博斯。

You probably already know what a black hole is, but have you ever heard of the black hole information paradox? I'm here with Clara Moskowitz, our space and physics editor who just edited a big, special issue for Scientific American on black holes. Hey, Clara.

你可能已经知道什么是黑洞,但你听说过黑洞信息悖论吗?现在和我一起的是克拉拉·莫斯科维茨(Clara Moskowitz),她是我们的空间和物理编辑,刚刚为《科学美国人》编辑了一篇关于黑洞特刊。嘿,克拉拉。

Clara Moskowitz: Hi, thanks for having me.

嗨,谢谢你的邀请。

Tulika Bose: So, Clara, what are we here to talk about today?

那么,克拉拉,我们今天要讨论什么?

Clara Moskowitz: We're here to talk about the black hole information paradox, which has been a problem in physics for a long time. Basically black holes seem to break the rules of physics. And part of the reason why is because we have to use two different theories to describe them. And the two theories do not get along.

我们要讨论的是黑洞信息悖论,这是物理学中长期存在的一个问题。基本上,黑洞似乎打破了物理规则。部分原因是因为我们必须使用两种不同的理论来描述它们。而这两种理论并不兼容。

On the one hand, we have quantum mechanics, which describes the world of the very small atoms and particles. On the other hand, we have general relativity, which describes things that are very big, very massive, very large, and most things in the world don't require both theories. They're either big or they're small black holes are both black holes are the densest things in the entire universe.

一方面,我们有量子力学,它描述了由微小原子和粒子组成的世界。另一方面,我们有广义相对论,它描述的是大尺寸,大质量,大规模的事物,而世界上大多数事物都不需要同时满足这两种理论。它们要么很大,要么很小,而黑洞却两者兼有。

And they take up very little space, but they have so much mass. You really need both theories. And yet when you try to combine quantum mechanics and general relativity, everything goes crazy.

黑洞占用的空间很小,但质量却很大。所以真的需要两种理论来解释。然而,当你试图将量子力学和广义相对论结合起来时,一切都变得疯狂起来。

Tulika Bose: How can two rules of physics not apply?

两条物理定律怎么会不适用呢?

Clara Moskowitz: Each one works perfectly in its own realm. So quantum mechanics does very well describing everything that's, that's subatomic, everything that we can't see, that's very small, and general relativity works perfectly to describe very big things like the motions of planets, but we almost never have to combine them in one example, except for black holes. Black holes take up very little space, but they have so much mass that general relativity and quantum mechanics equally apply. And yet when you try to combine the two theories, they don't work together.

每个理论都在自己的领域中完美地运作。量子力学可以很好地描述所有亚原子的东西,所有我们看不到的,非常小的东西。广义相对论可以完美地描述非常巨大的东西,比如行星的运动。但我们几乎不需要把这两种理论结合到一个例子中,除了黑洞。黑洞占据的空间很小,但它们的质量很大大,以至于广义相对论和量子力学同样适用。然而,当试图将这两种理论结合起来时,发现它们并不能一起运作。

Tulika Bose: How exactly do they not work together?

这两种理论到底怎么不一起运作呢?

Clara Moskowitz: Basically, when you try to combine them the equations break, they give infinities, they just don't produce answers or calculations that you can use that you can work with.

基本上,当尝试将它们组合在一起时,方程会破裂,会给出无穷大的数,反正不会产生您可以使用的答案或计算结果。

And it's a sign that something is missing. We don't fully understand something. And the thing that we don't fully understand is gravity. So quantum mechanics has been made to work very well with every other theory, and every other force of nature. Quantum mechanics can describe electromagnetism and the strong and the weak force that works inside atoms, but it can't describe gravity.

这是一种遗漏了什么东西的迹象。我们还有一些事情没能理解。我们还不完全了解的是引力。因此,量子力学可以用来解释其他所有理论和自然力。量子力学可以描述电磁力以及在原子内部起作用的强弱力,但它不能描述引力。

And yet with black holes, you have something that's teeny tiny, and yet the gravity is super strong. And when we try to describe what's going on in them, We can't, we don't have a theory to tell us everything about how a black hole works, and we really don't understand what's going on inside them.

然而对于黑洞,虽然微小,但引力却非常强。当我们试图描述黑洞内部的情况时,我们没有一个理论来告诉我们黑洞是如何运作的,我们真的不知道它们内部的情况。

Tulika Bose: How long have we known about this paradox?

我们知道这个悖论有多久了?

Clara Moskowitz: So this paradox dates back 50 years, and the story basically starts with Steven Hawking in 1974. He discovered that black holes leak. They let out radiation over time, particle by particle. They get smaller and smaller and smaller, and eventually they completely disappear. Sounds weird, but, okay. The problem is that if black holes can disappear, so can all the information about what fell into.

这个悖论可以追溯到 50 年前,故事基本上要从 1974 年的史蒂文·霍金说起。他发现了黑洞泄漏。随着时间的推移,黑洞会一个粒子一个粒子地释放辐射。它会变得越来越小,最终完全消失。听起来很奇怪,但是,就是这样。问题是,如果黑洞可以消失,那么所有关于坠入黑洞的信息也会消失。

And that is a huge problem because that breaks the laws of physics. According to quantum mechanics, information can never be destroyed. You might think information is destroyed all the time, when you shred an invoice or burn a book, for instance. But according to physics, if you had complete knowledge of the book ahead of time of every atom and every molecule within the book, then you could follow each atom and molecule through the burning process to see where they all ended up and everything would be fine.

这是一个大问题,因为它违反了物理定律。根据量子力学,信息永远不会被摧毁。例如,当你撕碎一张发票或烧毁一本书时,你可能会认为信息是会被销毁的。但是根据物理学,如果你提前对书中的每个原子和每个分子都有完整的了解,那么你可以通过燃烧过程跟踪每个原子和分子,看看它们最后去了哪里,一切都还能恢复如初.

But black holes aren't like this. If a black hole is destroyed, it's completely destroyed and there's no way to access the information that it once held. And that can't be, that's a paradox.

但黑洞不是这样的。如果一个黑洞被摧毁,它就会被彻底摧毁,并且无法访问它曾经拥有的信息。这不可能,这是一个悖论。

Tulika Bose: Wow. But obviously there's new information and new research. Can you tell me about it?

哇。但显然有新的信息和新的研究。你能跟我们讲讲吗?

Clara Moskowitz: Right. So for 50 years, scientists have been puzzling over this issue and trying to figure out what's going on and whether there's a way to save the information that's inside black holes.

对。所以 50 年来,科学家们一直对这个问题感到困惑,并试图弄清楚发生了什么,以及是否有办法保存黑洞内部的信息。

And finally, in the last few years, they've had a major breakthrough. The breakthrough involves several, very mind bending concepts. One of them is wormhole, which is bridges in space time. These, these are shortcuts in space time that connect two very distant points. And the other has to do with the weird rules of quantum mechanics.

终于,在过去的几年里,他们取得了重大突破。这一突破涉及几个非常令人费解的概念。其中之一是虫洞,它是时空的桥梁。虫洞是连接两个非常遥远的点的时空捷径。另一个概念与量子力学的奇怪规则有关。

According to quantum mechanics, everything that can happen. Does happen. So a particle, for instance, doesn't just travel along a straight line from point a to point B. Instead it takes all of the possible paths that could connect point a and point B. It circles up, it loops down, it twists around before arriving at point B and all of those things happen S.

根据量子力学,一切都可能发生。确实会发生。例如,一个粒子不仅仅沿着一条直线从 a 点移动到 B 点。相反,它会沿着所有可以连接 a 点和 B 点的可能路径。在到达B点之前,它会向上盘旋、向下循环、扭曲旋转,所有这些都会发生。

Well, when you apply this concept to black holes, it means that you have to consider all of the possible arrangements of space, time within black holes. All of them are simultaneously real. And one of the possible arrangements of space time is a wormhole. So these are these weird theoretical bridges shortcuts in space and time.

当把这个概念应用到黑洞上时,就意味着必须考虑黑洞内所有可能的时空排列。所有这些都并非是凭空想象。时空的一种排列可能是虫洞。所以这些奇怪的理论桥梁是空间和时间的捷径。。

And there's a chance that the inside of a black hole is connected to the inside of another black hole through a wormhole. Well, you have to take this possibility. This chance into account physicists recently figured out. And when they did everything changed the equations that they used to describe the entropy in black holes, basically a description of the amount of disorder gave a totally different answer and they pointed to a solution for a way that information could escape black holes.

黑洞内部有可能通过虫洞与另一个黑洞内部相连。好吧,我们必须接受这种可能性。物理学家最近也发现了这个可能性。当他们尝试了这个可能性,一切都改变了。他们用来描述黑洞熵的方程,基本上,描述无序熵量给出了一个完全不同的答案,他们指出了一种解决方法--信息可以逃离黑洞。

And this way is called an island. Now of all the weird things we've talked about already, this is the weirdest. This is the idea that deep within black holes, there's a special region called an island. And this region is both inside the black hole and also outside the black hole at the same time. And that the information that's within the island, since it's inside and outside, can escape the black hole's destruction and is never truly destroyed, even if the black hole evaporates away completely and disappears. And this seemed to resolve the paradox.

这条路被称为岛。在我们已经讨论过的所有奇怪的事情中,这是最奇怪的。这种观点认为,在黑洞的深处,有一个特殊的区域,叫做岛。而这个区域既在黑洞内部,又在黑洞外部。因为岛既在内部又在外部,所以这个岛内部的信息可以逃脱黑洞的破坏,而且永远不会被真正摧毁,即使黑洞彻底蒸发消失。这样似乎解决了之前的悖论。

So there are a lot of questions still to be answered. Everything's not totally settled and not all physicists agree that this is the solution.

但还有很多问题需要回答。一切都没有完全解决,也不是所有的物理学家都同意这是解决方案。

But it definitely does seem to point way forward toward resolving the paradox, showing how information can escape from black holes and pointing us toward a future where we can describe black holes finally, with a consistent physical theory.

但它似乎确实为解决这个悖论指明了方向,展示了信息是如何从黑洞逃脱的,并为我们指明了一个未来,在将来,我们最终会用一个一致的物理理论来描述黑洞。

Just in case you wanna know more about some of these really mind bending concepts that we've been talking about check out the September issue of Scientific American, where we have a bunch of articles describing in detail, all of these new ideas, along with a really cool video that draws it out for you, if you're a visual person and want to see what these things might look like.

如果您想了解更多关于我们一直在讨论的这些真正令人费解的概念,请查看9月份的《科学美国人》,我们有一系列文章详细描述了所有这些新想法,以及如果你是一个喜欢观看视频的人,想看看这些事物可能是什么样子的话,我们还提供了一个非常酷的视频。

Tulika Bose: Thanks for listening for 60-Second Science. I'm Tulika Bose.

感谢收听科学美国人——60秒科学,我是图利卡·博斯。

Tulika Bose: This is 60-Second Science. I'm Tulika Bose.

You probably already know what a black hole is, but have you ever heard of the black hole information paradox? I'm here with Clara Moskowitz, our space and physics editor who just edited a big, special issue for Scientific American on black holes. Hey, Clara.

Clara Moskowitz: Hi, thanks for having me.

Tulika Bose: So, Clara, what are we here to talk about today?

Clara Moskowitz: We're here to talk about the black hole information paradox, which has been a problem in physics for a long time. Basically black holes seem to break the rules of physics. And part of the reason why is because we have to use two different theories to describe them. And the two theories do not get along.

On the one hand, we have quantum mechanics, which describes the world of the very small atoms and particles. On the other hand, we have general relativity, which describes things that are very big, very massive, very large, and most things in the world don't require both theories. They're either big or they're small black holes are both black holes are the densest things in the entire universe.

And they take up very little space, but they have so much mass. You really need both theories. And yet when you try to combine quantum mechanics and general relativity, everything goes crazy.

Tulika Bose: How can two rules of physics not apply?

Clara Moskowitz: Each one works perfectly in its own realm. So quantum mechanics does very well describing everything that's, that's subatomic, everything that we can't see, that's very small, and general relativity works perfectly to describe very big things like the motions of planets, but we almost never have to combine them in one example, except for black holes. Black holes take up very little space, but they have so much mass that general relativity and quantum mechanics equally apply. And yet when you try to combine the two theories, they don't work together.

Tulika Bose: How exactly do they not work together?

Clara Moskowitz: Basically, when you try to combine them the equations break, they give infinities, they just don't produce answers or calculations that you can use that you can work with.

And it's a sign that something is missing. We don't fully understand something. And the thing that we don't fully understand is gravity. So quantum mechanics has been made to work very well with every other theory, and every other force of nature. Quantum mechanics can describe electromagnetism and the strong and the weak force that works inside atoms, but it can't describe gravity.

And yet with black holes, you have something that's teeny tiny, and yet the gravity is super strong. And when we try to describe what's going on in them, We can't, we don't have a theory to tell us everything about how a black hole works, and we really don't understand what's going on inside them.

Tulika Bose: How long have we known about this paradox?

Clara Moskowitz: So this paradox dates back 50 years, and the story basically starts with Steven Hawking in 1974. He discovered that black holes leak. They let out radiation over time, particle by particle. They get smaller and smaller and smaller, and eventually they completely disappear. Sounds weird, but, okay. The problem is that if black holes can disappear, so can all the information about what fell into.

And that is a huge problem because that breaks the laws of physics. According to quantum mechanics, information can never be destroyed. You might think information is destroyed all the time, when you shred an invoice or burn a book, for instance. But according to physics, if you had complete knowledge of the book ahead of time of every atom and every molecule within the book, then you could follow each atom and molecule through the burning process to see where they all ended up and everything would be fine.

But black holes aren't like this. If a black hole is destroyed, it's completely destroyed and there's no way to access the information that it once held. And that can't be, that's a paradox.

Tulika Bose: Wow. But obviously there's new information and new research. Can you tell me about it?

Clara Moskowitz: Right. So for 50 years, scientists have been puzzling over this issue and trying to figure out what's going on and whether there's a way to save the information that's inside black holes.

And finally, in the last few years, they've had a major breakthrough. The breakthrough involves several, very mind bending concepts. One of them is wormhole, which is bridges in space time. These, these are shortcuts in space time that connect two very distant points. And the other has to do with the weird rules of quantum mechanics.

According to quantum mechanics, everything that can happen. Does happen. So a particle, for instance, doesn't just travel along a straight line from point a to point B. Instead it takes all of the possible paths that could connect point a and point B. It circles up, it loops down, it twists around before arriving at point B and all of those things happen S.

Well, when you apply this concept to black holes, it means that you have to consider all of the possible arrangements of space, time within black holes. All of them are simultaneously real. And one of the possible arrangements of space time is a wormhole. So these are these weird theoretical bridges shortcuts in space and time.

And there's a chance that the inside of a black hole is connected to the inside of another black hole through a wormhole. Well, you have to take this possibility. This chance into account physicists recently figured out. And when they did everything changed the equations that they used to describe the entropy in black holes, basically a description of the amount of disorder gave a totally different answer and they pointed to a solution for a way that information could escape black holes.

And this way is called an island. Now of all the weird things we've talked about already, this is the weirdest. This is the idea that deep within black holes, there's a special region called an island. And this region is both inside the black hole and also outside the black hole at the same time. And that the information that's within the island, since it's inside and outside, can escape the black hole's destruction and is never truly destroyed, even if the black hole evaporates away completely and disappears. And this seemed to resolve the paradox.

So there are a lot of questions still to be answered. Everything's not totally settled and not all physicists agree that this is the solution.

But it definitely does seem to point way forward toward resolving the paradox, showing how information can escape from black holes and pointing us toward a future where we can describe black holes finally, with a consistent physical theory.

Just in case you wanna know more about some of these really mind bending concepts that we've been talking about check out the September issue of Scientific American, where we have a bunch of articles describing in detail, all of these new ideas, along with a really cool video that draws it out for you, if you're a visual person and want to see what these things might look like.

Tulika Bose: Thanks for listening for 60-Second Science. I'm Tulika Bose.


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