For years, some scientists contended that black holes swallow everything, including the information associated with the particles they suck up, and that this information can never be recovered. The problem with this idea – the chief proponent of which was the legendary Stephen Hawking – is that it violated a law of quantum mechanics.

A few years ago, Hawking changed his mind, but his contemporaries weren’t necessarily convinced of his solution. Now Penn State University’s Abhay Ashketar and his colleagues say they’ve come up with a more complete description of how information that falls into a black hole can still be retained. Physicists seem mixed on Ashketar’s solution, though most appear to believe it is a promising approach.

The work will be published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Via Physics World