What happens when you fall into a black hole? Ask the experts, live


What would happen to you if you fell into a black hole?

Four physicists who write scientific papers about this kind of thing will discuss the current falling-into-black-hole theories, and you can join in the conversation online, right here, beginning at noon PDT.

A black hole is the super-dense result of a dead star that has a gravitational field so strong not even light can escape its pull.

All kinds of strange things are said to happen in and around black holes. They alter time. They eat stars. They could turn people into spaghetti.



Let me explain.

For decades, the general consensus among theoretical physicists was that if you fell feet-first into a black hole, the gravitational pull on your feet would be so much stronger than on your head that it would stretch you out like one long, thin noodle.

But recently, some physicists have proposed a new theory that suggests a person falling into a black hole would, at some point, meet a wall of fire and get burned up on the spot. This is the “firewall” argument.

Why a wall of fire? And is that human spaghetti idea really a possibility?

These are the kinds of questions you can put to the four physicists participating in the Google Hangout organized by the Kavli Foundation: Raphael Bousso of UC Berkeley, Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., Joseph Polchinski of UC Santa Barbara and Leonard Susskind of Stanford University.

The event will be moderated by science journalist Bruce Lieberman, who told the Los Angeles Times he will do his best to keep the conversation as down-to-earth and easy to understand as a conversation about black holes can be.

If you have any questions about black holes and what would happen if you fell into them, feel free to send them to the experts. Write to them at

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