SCIENCE FOCUS: What is Hawking radiation?

  • Alastair Gunn

Press/Media: Expert comment

Period16 Mar 2022

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitleWhat is Hawking radiation?
    Media name/outletScience Focus
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionThe idea of Hawking radiation is based on the fact that empty space isn’t actually empty. This is perhaps a difficult concept to grasp. Although empty space contains no mass, no particles or quanta of energy, the quantum fields which define them still exist in the vacuum of space.

    The usual explanation is that these fields, because they are not required to have zero energy, can create pairs of ‘virtual particles’, normally a particle-antiparticle pair that quickly annihilate each other. But near a black hole, the explanation goes, it is possible for one of those particles to disappear inside the black hole and be lost forever, while the other one escapes as Hawking radiation.
    PersonsAlastair Gunn


  • Hawking radiation
  • physics