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The Taub Faculty of Computer Science Events and Talks

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John Smolin (IBM Watson at Yorktown Hights, NY)
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Tuesday, 20.05.2008, 14:30
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Taub 6
The black hole information loss paradox has plagued scientists since Hawking's discovery that black holes evaporate thermally in contradiction to the unitarity expected by quantum mechanics. I will explain just what the problem is, and show that one of the central presumptions of the debate is incorrect.

It had been thought that (obviously) either all the information must remain in the black hole until it has completely evaportate OR it must leak out earlier. However, using recent results in quantum information theory, we argue there is a third possibility: the amount of information that must remain in the black hole until the final stages of evaporation can be very small, even though the amount already radiated away is negligible.

Quantum effects mean that information need not be additive: a small number of quanta can "lock" a large amount of information, making it inaccessible. When this small number of locking quanta are finally emitted, the full information (and unitarity) is restored.

Only if the number of initial states is restricted will the locking mechanism leak out information early.