The picture of gravitational collapse provided by classical general relativity cannot be physically correct because it conflicts with ordinary quantum mechanics. For example, an event horizon makes it impossible to everywhere synchronize atomic clocks. As an alternative it has been proposed that the vacuum state has off-diagonal order, and that space-time undergoes a continuous phase transition near to where general relativity predicts there should be an event horizon. For example, it is expected that gravitational collapse of objects with masses greater than a few solar masses should lead to the formation of a compact object whose surface corresponds to a quantum critical surface for space-time, and whose interior differs from ordinary space-time only in having a much larger vacuum energy [1]. I call such an object a “dark energy star“. —Dark Energy Stars (arXiv.org e-Print archive)

According to *Nature*, this means “black holes ‘do not exist’“.

Of course I don’t understand any of the physics involved, but this is a printout of a paper delivered at a conference. It hasn’t undergone peer-review.

*Related*

I just skimmed through this article. It seems that the author is trying to rectify a classical physics problem. There are places in the equations where we divide by zero (singularities). How do we try to understand what this means? Can we even understand this? The original idea was that there is a place (the event horizon of a black hole) which acts as a curtain, preventing us from seeing into the place where the singularity exists. This paper claims that this event horizon is a second type of singularity, so if we can see it, then we should be able to see the naked singularities. His thought experiment is interesting, but I don’t know enough about Bose-Einstein condensates to follow it completely. By the way, I’m a mathematician, although I do play a physicist in my imagination sometimes :)

Thanks, Josh…that’s one of the many things I love about the blogosphere — I got to borrow a piece of your mind to help me understand something that sparked my intellectual curiosity.