A lot of theories that Stephen Hawking put forwards were difficult to prove. Back in 1974, Hawking theorized that black holes are emitting a form of radiation known as Hawking radiation. Almost fifty years after his theory was put forward, a team of researchers has managed to furnish experimental evidence that proves Hawking’s theory.
Almost all of us know that black holes can virtually suck in everything including light. However, to say that nothing ever escapes a black hole is far from the truth. Why? Because if that was right; the black holes would break the laws of thermodynamics. Everything in the universe has to radiate heat, and black holes are not above this. The mechanism of radiating the heat remained a mystery until Hawking came along.
Hawking put forward the theory that the radiation was happening because of an effect that was related to quantum mechanics. The theory was difficult to prove since scientists didn’t have a black hole readily available for carrying out tests. However, a team of scientists made use of intricate setups for simulating the effects of a black hole in the lab. Thanks to one of those setups, the team was able to observe Hawking radiation firsthand.
Simulating black holes is not as scary as it seems. These experiments usually involve a laser light that is used in conjunction with optical fibers or water or sound waves that make their way via specially designed tanks. For this particular experiment, the researchers made the laser travel through an optical fiber in a particular way thus were able to simulate the edge of a black hole. Although in such experiments, no light is able to escape the fiber – similar to an actual black hole. However, the team was able to get some radiation out by stimulating the entire setup using another laser.
This does validate the theory of Stephen Hawking about Hawking radiation. Similar to other science projects though; there is always room for doubt. The experiment will have to be repeated and enhanced before we can draw a conclusion that is absolute. However, for now, we can all agree that Hawking was right about Hawking radiation.