Gravity Be Not Proud

The discovery that black holes emit particles and might eventually evaporate threw theoretical physics into chaos. Here’s why.

Part 4 of a four-part series on exploring black holes. Part 1 is here, followed by Part 2 and Part 3.

In the 1960s, a young physicist named Stephen Hawking had a big problem: He was going to die. He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—which is almost invariably fatal within a few years of the onset of…