Stephen Hawking Proposes New Idea about Black Holes

November 2, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. argue / ˈɑr gyu / (v.) – to reason out against something
Example:  Experts argue about whether or not there is life in Mars.

2. retrieve / rɪˈtriv / (v.) – to get something that was taken
Example: It is not easy to retrieve objects in outer space.

3. alternate / ˈæl tərˌneɪt / (adj.) – referring to something that is not the usual
Example:  Some people wonder if there is an alternate planet where humans could live.

4. prison / ˈprɪz ən / (n.) – a place where people are kept as punishment for crime
Example:  Some people want the worst criminals to be sent to prison in outer space.

5. expand / ɪkˈspænd / (v.) – to increase the size or volume of something.
Example:  The boy wishes to expand his knowledge about the universe.


Read the text below.
British physicist [FIZ-uh-sist] Stephen Hawking [STEE-vuh n HAW-king] has just proposed a new idea about black holes.

A black hole is a place in space where the gravitational pull is too high that it doesn’t even allow light to get out. It is formed when a star collapses upon itself. Scientists have long wondered if a star disappears when it gets trapped in a black hole and if the black hole disappears.

Many scientists argued that information is lost forever once it gets trapped in a black hole, while some believe that it can still be retrieved because of the laws of quantum mechanics. The laws state that all processes can be reversed, so it is impossible that a black hole takes objects in but does not let them out.

Hawking proposed his idea at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm [STOK-hohm]. According to a report by Wired magazine, he said that anything that falls in a black hole can escape because it does not exactly get inside. When an object falls inside a black hole, some of its information stays on the black hole’s boundary, called the event horizon. While the object appears to have disappeared, it is possible that it could still be retrieved.

However, Hawking said that once something is in that alternate universe, it would not be possible to return to our universe. Hawking also mentioned that the point of all this was that black holes are not the eternal prisons that many have previously thought. Rather, objects that are sucked inside the black hole may still possibly get out of it or come out in an alternate universe.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you feel about Hawking’s proposal?
·         In your opinion, how can the understanding of space help improve human life?

Discussion B

·         Did this article contribute to your knowledge about black holes? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think this article is newsworthy?

November 2, 2015