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Carlo Rovelli: Where does that stuff go that falls into a black hole?

What happens to matter in a black hole? The question has raised many paradoxes, and in an excerpt from his latest book, physics superstar Carlo Rovelli suggests an answer

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October 28, 2020

By Carlo Rovelli

The universe is full of things we had never foreseen or imagined, nothing more than black holes

Mark Garlick / Scientific Photo Library

There is something paradoxical about what we know about black holes. They have now become “normal” objects for astronomers. Astronomers watch them, count them, and measure them. They behave exactly as Einstein’s theory predicted a century ago, when no one dreamed that such special objects could actually exist. So you are under control. And yet they remain extremely mysterious.

On the one hand, we have a beautiful theory, general relativity, which is spectacularly confirmed by astronomical observations that …