Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Stretchy strings make `fuzzy' black hole give up its secrets," by Stephen Battersby. New Scientist, 13 March 2004, pages 10-11.

This article discusses recent calculations by a physicist at Ohio State, Samir Mathur, that use string theory ideas to shed new light on understanding of black holes. Stephen Hawking's work on black holes says that any energy falling into a black hole will cause emission of so-called Hawking radiation, which carries no information about what went into the hole. Using string theory, Mathur has calculated that there may be a way for that information to be emitted after all. Whether this new calculation reflects reality is difficult to say. "The best test of Mathur's idea in the short term may be to work through the maths and see whether it really does make quantum mechanics work for black holes," the article says.

--- Allyn Jackson