Monthly Archives: March 2012

Meet the Indian who took on Stephen Hawking: PTI

Black Holes are exact mathematical solution of  Einstein’s General Relativity (GR). However, it is admitted by most of the GR experts that many exact GR solutions are not realizable. Nonetheless, most of the GR experts believe that, the black hole solutions must be real particularly because there are evidences of existence of massive astrophysical compact objects (which cannot be Neutron Stars or Pulsars). In 1977, Stephen Hawking used semi-classical gravity (a very tentative and crude form of Quantum Gravity) to conclude that black holes can radiate albeit by an incredibly small rate.

Meanwhile, during 1998-2002, for the first time in history, I claimed that, GR actually does not allow formation of finite mass black holes; and those exact BH solutions are illusory because the integration constant representing BH mass is actually zero.
I also insisted that for continued collapse, no exact BH or exact Event Horizon can form though the collapsing object can asymptotically become a zero mass BH by radiating out its entire mass-energy.

Then in 2004, Hawking too came too the conclusion that there cannot be exact black holes or exact Event Horizons. He of course used Quantum Gravity considerations which never become clear to anybody. After all, 30 years ago, he used Quantum Gravity to conclude that exact black holes can form and radiate. In this backdrop PTI produced the following report. It got widely transmitted the world over; and newspapers and websites featured it.

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August 03, 2004 09:33 IST
Last Updated: August 03, 2004 10:06 IST

An Indian theoretical physicist  who questioned the existence of black holes and thereby challenged Stephen Hawking of Britain at last feels vindicated. But he is sad.

Abhas Mitra, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai, was perhaps the first and the only scientist who had the guts to openly challenge Hawking of Cambridge University who is regarded by many as the modern-day Einstein.

For over 30 years Hawking and his followers were perpetuating the theory that black holes — resulting from gravitational collapse of massive stars — destroy everything that falls into them preventing even light or information to escape.

Mitra, four years ago, in a controversial paper in the reputed journal, Foundations of Physics Letters, showed that Hawking’s theory was flawed. He proved black holes couldn’t exist because their formation and existence flouted Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Except a handful, the majority of mainstream scientists dismissed Mitra’s conclusions even though, till now, no scientist has contradicted him in writing. Mitra invited several notable black hole theorists including Hawking and Jayant Narlikar of India to criticise his work but no one replied.

Naturally, Mitra now feels vindicated following Hawking’s own admission two weeks ago at a conference in Dublin, Ireland, that there isn’t a black hole “in the absolute sense.”

In essence, Hawking’s “new” black holes never quite become the kind that gobble up everything. Instead, they keep emitting radiation for a long time — exactly what Mitra showed in his paper.

Hawking’s about-turn has vindicated Mitra. But, in retrospect, he feels sad about the treatment he got at home while trying to take on Hawking all by himself.

Too “embarrassed” to be associated with a man who challenged Hawking, even Mitra’s close colleagues avoided him and he became an outcast. To add insult to injury, BARC authorities removed Mitra from the theoretical physics division on the excuse that this division was meant only for those doing “strategic research.”

“The ironic element in this whole exercise,” Mitra told  PTI, “is that the person who actually dared to show that there cannot be any black holes was completely ignored both by the academicians and the media.”

A black hole is characterised by an imaginary boundary called the “event horizon” that shuts everything within. But in 1976 Hawking introduced quantum mechanics into the problem and claimed that black holes do radiate energy — although at a low rate — and ultimately vanish into nothingness.

The vanishing act, however, destroys all the trapped information as well – directly conflicting with the laws of quantum physics that say that information can never be completely wiped out. This is the “information loss paradox” associated with black holes that, in a way, was created by Hawking’s own work.

One logical resolution of this paradox would have been to realise that black holes did not exist. But Mitra says that such sweeping, yet logical thinking “was never undertaken by either party involved in this prolonged debate and they kept on debating effectively to make the paradox more popular and perpetuating.”

It was then that Mitra published his seminal paper showing that gravitational collapse of massive star can at best produce an “Eternally Collapsing Object” but not an “event horizon” or a black hole in the strict sense. “Since no event horizon is formed, there is no paradox at all in the first place,” Mitra argued.

In a subsequent work Mitra showed that the “Eternally Collapsing Objects” that he proposed are actually the massive compact objects now referred to as Black Hole Candidates (BHCs).

Motivated by Mitra’s work, American physicists Stanley Robertson and Darryl Leiter have confirmed in 2002 that BHCs have intense magnetic fields as predicted by Mitra and therefore are not real black holes which cannot have magnetic field.

Mitra says that in the light of new developments, “the supposed black holes are not really black holes and it would be intellectual dishonesty to still call them as black holes and keep the debate alive.”

Though his own colleagues had sidelined Mitra after his first paper, he is solaced by the encouraging e-mails he had received from several physicists around the world.

One from Salvatore Antoci, University of Padova, Italy, a noted relativist says: “Let me express to you my great joy in seeing your much-disputed paper eventually accepted for publication by Foundations of Physics Letters. Convincing the community of relativists about the mythical nature of black holes will remain a tremendous task, but it is a little less desperate thanks to your success.”

Peder Norberg, of the Department of Physics, Durham University, UK, said he carefully read through Mitra’s paper and found “that most of the results presented there are more than impressive” while Stanley Robertson, a relativist of South Oklahoma State University, USA said: “On first becoming acquainted with your work, I was dubious, thinking it unlikely that something as profound as belief in the existence of black holes could become erroneously established in the literature. In the meanwhile, I have found no errors in your work. It is fascinating.”

The only Indian who praised Mitra’s work was relativist Pankaj Joshi of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.

The BARC scientist recalls the episode in the 1930s when Subramanian Chandrasekhar’s work on the upper mass limit of white dwarfs was considered incorrect by celebrated astrophysicists like Sir Arthur Eddington even though no one could precisely point out any error in Chandra’s work.

Ref: http://ia.rediff.com/news/2004/aug/03hole.htm

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Press Trust of India Report on No Blackhole (2001)

This is a reproduction of the PTI report on the paper

“Non-occurrence of Trapped Surfaces & Black Holes in Spherical Gravitational Collapse: An Abridged Version”

Abhas Mitra, Foundations of Physics Letters, Vol. pp. 13, 543-579 (2000) | Article

It got published in December 2000 and it was on the internet for the past two years. This was a very special paper because for the first time it claimed that the Trapped Surfaces of Hawking & Penrose cannot form at all in order that the collapsing material continues to behave like matter rather than as light or fictitious tachyons. During these two years, it got widely noted by the scientific world and Press Trust of India reported it. This report, a text of which is reproduced below, got published in many news portals, most notably in Rediff, and many newspapers.

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Black holes don’t exist, says BARC scientist

A Bombay scientist has sought to disprove the existence of ‘black holes’ in the universe — the concept that fascinated physicists for more than 200 years.

Dr Abhas Mitra, a senior scientist and an astrophysicst of Theoretical Physics Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Bombay, claimed that he has disproved the concept of black holes, which are supposed to be objects so compact that from which even light can not escape.

Mitra has pointed out in his paper, ‘Non-occurrence of trapped surfaces and black holes in spherical gravitational collapse’ in the current issue of the journal ‘Foundations of Physics Letters’ that just removing the ‘subtle errors’ in the earlier work of famous physicists J R Oppenheimer and H Snyder had led to the ‘rejection’ of formation of black holes.

Mitra claimed that his results could help in understanding several currently unexplained astrophysical phenomena including cosmic gamma ray bursts.

Mitra has also shown that one of the crucial assumptions made by the renowned scientists like Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose and others that of formation of ‘trapped surface’ which traps light is actually not allowed

by Albert Einstein’s generalised collapse equation as the local speed of the collapsing fluid ‘does not exceed the speed of light’.

Mitra said he has reconfirmed Einstein’s results from two different considerations –the first being the GCE and the second the behaviour of material particle which acts like a photon (light) on the so called event horizon, the boundary of supposed black hole.

Mitra said with his results it may be easier to understand many observed astrophysical phenomena.

Mitra’s paper has shown that the presence of physical surfaces endowed with magnetic fields help in understanding phenomenon such as ‘jets’ found to be ejected from many galactic centres or stellar mass compact objects.

He said since the finite mass or black holes suggested by many physicists has no magnetic field many cosmic phenomena are not properly understood using black hole paradigm.

However, Mitra has suggested that the eternally collapsing objects (astroballs) in the universe have a large to ultra high magnetic field which may help in clearing several queries of the astrophysicists.

One of the early proponents of the idea of black holes was the French mathematician P S Laplace and the modern concept of black holes is supposed to have been consolidated by the work of American physicists Oppenheimer and Snyder who studied in 1939 the collapse of a highly idealised fluid ball having no pressure and density gradient.

Then in 1960s, Hawking, Penrose and others formed the so-called singularity theory which further consolidated the notion of black holes.

Mitra has further pointed out that irrespective of the correctness of his main derivatives, the derivations using Kruskal coordinates and ordinary or Schwarchild coordinates had revealed that there cannot be any finite mass black hole and technically, the EH itself must be the singularity of a zero mass black hole.

Quoting Einstein’s general theory of relativity that space-time is like a rubber sheet which gets stretched due to the presence of massive bodies or any other form of energy, Mitra explained that ‘zero mass black hole state is never realised in any finite time’.

As the body collapses, its tidal gravitational pull tends to become infinite even though its gravitational mass decreases due to emission of radiation, Mitra said adding that the GTR as singularity free was always cherished by Einstein.

“Einstein never believed in the existence of black holes and most of his peers and proponents of black holes thought that Einstein was unable to fully appreciate his own theory,” Mitra added.

Original Link: http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/dec/22barc.htm

Black Holes or Balls of Quark Gluon Plasma: Nature India (2010)

This is the text of the Science News published in Nature India on April 01, 2010 Featuring the Peer Reviewed Paper:

Black holes or balls of Quark Gluon plasma?

“ Radiation pressure supported stars in Einstein gravity: eternally collapsing objects”

by Abhas Mitra & N.K. Glendenning, Monhly Notices Royal  Astronomical  Society, 369, 492 (2006) | Article

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Indian theoretical astrophysicist Abhas Mitra who has been questioning the existence of black holes (BHs) says his theory — contrary to the likely misinterpretation — is really “not in conflict with the basic mathematical notion of  BH.”

A black hole, according to its advocates, results from gravitational collapse of a massive star. Its pull of gravity is so strong that nothing — not even light — can escape. It is surrounded by an imaginary boundary called the ‘event horizon’ that shuts everything within.

But Mitra at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai had been arguing that under Einstein’s general theory of relativity gravitational collapse of a star cannot result in a finite mass BH as defined [1].

The radiation emitted by the collapsing star would get trapped by its ever increasing self-gravity and ultimately the outward pressure of this trapped radiation would counter balance the inward pull of gravity arresting the catastrophic collapse. This, Mitra says, is ‘akin to a leaking balloon whose contraction stops as self-gravity plugs the leak by forcing the molecules of the gas to move in closed circular orbits.’

what results, according to Mitra, is not a true BH but a

‘radiation pressure supported extremely relativistic star (RRPSS).’

Incidentally, noted astrophysicists Sir Fred Hoyle and Nobel laureate William Fowler had shown in 1963 that there could be stars supported entirely by radiation pressure rather than by gas pressure.

Mitra claims that the RRPSS proposed by him is the relativistic version of such radiation pressure supported stars of Hoyle and Fowler[2] Mitra nicknamed this as an ‘Eternally Collapsing Object’ (ECO) to signify its steady shrinking indefinitely without ever achieving BH’s point like singularity. The so called Black Hole Candidates (BHCs) regularly observed by astronomers as compact objects in many X-ray binaries and central objects in many quasars are nothing but ECOs, he says.

In his latest paper co-authored with Norman Glendenning of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States, Mitra has shown that the RRPSS generated during gravitational collapse of a massive star is ‘an intermediate stage’ before a true black hole state is formed asymptotically [3].

“Thus the scenario considered (in our paper) in no way denies that, mathematically, the final state of continued gravitational collapse is a BH,” Mitra told Nature India. The researchers further show that the BHCs are actually extremely hot balls of exotic Quark Gluon Plasma — a molten state of neutrons and protons.

  • References

    1. Mitra, A. Non-occurrence of trapped surfaces and black holes in spherical gravitational collapse. Found. Phys. Lett. 13, 543-579 (2000) | Article
    2. Mitra, A. Radiation pressure supported stars in Einstein gravity: eternally collapsing objects. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 369, 492 (2006) | Article
    3. Mitra, A. et al. Likely formation of general relativistic radiation pressure supported stars or ‘eternally collapsing objects’. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-3933.2010.00833.x (2010)

Original Link: http://www.nature.com/nindia/2010/100401/full/nindia.2010.35.html

Nature India Report on: True Black Holes Have Zero Gravitational Mass

This is the text of the Science  News published in Nature India on May 11, 2009 featuring the peer reviewed paper:
Comments on “The Euclidean gravitational action as black hole entropy, singularities, and space-time voids”

Abhas Mitra, J. Math. Phys. 50, 042502 (2009)

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An Indian theoretical astrophysicist who dared to show that there cannot be any ‘black hole’ a decade ago says he has a mathematical proof  [1] to back his claim.

“For a long time I tried to get this result published and now I succeeded,”

Abhas Mitra of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre  (BARC) in Mumbai, told Nature India.

“This is evidence that the whole black hole paradigm is incorrect,”

Mitra said.

A black hole, as its proponents explain, results from gravitational collapse of a massive star. Its pull of gravity is so strong that nothing – not even light – can escape. It is surrounded by an imaginary boundary called the ‘event horizon’ that shuts everything within.

Nine years ago in a path-breaking peer-reviewed publication [2]  Mitra questioned the existence of black holes and thereby challenged British physicist Stephen Hawking, a key advocate of black holes. Since then, despite criticisms from mainstream scientists, he has been building more theoretical evidence to show black holes really do not exist.

In papers published then and in subsequent years, Mitra has been arguing that under Einstein’s general theory of relativity, a spherically symmetric gravitational collapse of a star cannot result in a black hole as defined. According to Mitra’s theory following is what should happen: during continued gravitational collapse of a massive star it must radiate away its entire mass energy in an ‘asymptotic’ manner, meaning that this process would go on and on indefinitely. At the same time, the radiation emitted by the collapsing star would get trapped by its ever increasing self-gravity. And a stage would be reached when the outward pressure of this trapped radiation would counter-balance the inward pull of gravity arresting the catastrophic collapse before any black hole or ‘singularity’ would actually form.

What then actually results, according to Mitra, is ‘radiation pressure supported extremely relativistic star’ — and not a black hole. “It is just a dense object, a hot ball of plasma, without an event horizon.” He nicknamed these as ‘Eternally Collapsing Objects’ (ECOs) to signify the fact that they would keep shrinking steadily and indefinitely without ever achieving a black hole’s infinitely small size. ECOs too look almost ‘black’ because their extreme surface gravity allows very little light or radiation to come out, he says. However, unlike a true black hole, ECOs have definite size, and objects sucked in can theoretically go back out, although with extreme difficulty.

Given that black holes have been the accepted scenario since Einstein, majority of mainstream scientists dismissed Mitra’s original proposal of ECO, but support came from a few.

A group of American physicists, motivated by Mitra’s work, confirmed [3]  in 2006 that the ‘black hole candidates’ that they observed met the criteria of Mitra’s ECOs since they had intense magnetic fields that real black holes are not supposed to have. Mitra had felt vindicated earlier in July 2004, when Hawking at a conference in Dublin, Ireland, conceded that there is no black hole ‘in the absolute sense.’ Hawking had admitted that a black hole does not gobble up everything as he once theorised but keeps emitting radiation for a long time, exactly what Mitra showed in his paper2. And now, according to Mitra, the mathematical proof that he has just published is a confirmation that he had been right all along about ECOs.

The proof is highly mathematical but in simple terms he explains it as follows. “For the last 93 years the mass of a black hole appeared only as a (integration) constant in the so called Hilbert solution to the set of Einstein equations, appropriate for the spherical symmetry around the ‘point mass’. And it has now been proved that the value of this constant is actually zero. What this means is that true black holes have to have zero gravitational mass and anything with a finite mass (M>0) is not a true black hole. In other words, the massive ‘black hole candidates’ detected by astronomers cannot be true black holes but only ECOs.”

If Mitra (and the U.S. authors who found magnetised ECOs) are correct, astronomers should see dense, magnetic balls of plasma floating in the universe instead of the menacing black holes that gobble up everything that comes close.

According to Mitra detection of the so called ‘black hole candidates’ may be considered almost direct observational evidence of the controversial ECOs that he proposed. But astronomers say this is not a stringent test to resolve the dispute whether or not black holes exist. They hope that technology may become available within ten years to let them observe the ‘event horizon’, the authenticated signature of true black holes.

Original Link:

http://www.nature.com/nindia/2009/090511/full/nindia.2009.130.html

  • References

    1. Mitra, A. Comments on “The Euclidean gravitational action as black hole entropy, singularities, and space-time voids” [J. Math. Phys. 49, 042501 (2008)]. J. Math. Phys. 50, 042502 (2009) | Article | ChemPort |
    2. Mitra, A. Non-occurrence of trapped surfaces and black holes in spherical gravitational collapse. Found. Phys. Lett. 13, 543-579 (2000) | Article |
    3. Schild, R. E. et al. Observations Supporting the Existence of an Intrinsic Magnetic Moment inside the Central Compact Object within the Quasar Q0957+561. Astron. J. 132, 420-432 (2006) | Article | ADS |

Coping With Peer Rejection (Nature 425, 645, 16 October 2003)

Accounts of rejected Nobel-winning discoveries highlight the conservatism in science. Despite their historical misjudgements, journal editors can help, but above all, visionaries will need sheer persistence.

Not many people spend tens of thousands of dollars to tell the world that they were robbed. But that is what Raymond Damadian and his company did last week when he discovered that he hadn’t won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and complained in full-page advertisements in The New York Times and other prominent newspapers (see page 648). He claims in his advertisement that he should have shared the prize won by Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield for their work on magnetic resonance imaging.

Whatever the merits of  Damadian’s case, the episode highlights the difficulties in assessing ground-breaking work. If it is controversial 30 years after the event, one can imagine the divergences of opinion that arise over truly innovative research before history has had a chance to consider its verdict — when papers are submitted to journals and applications sent to grant funding panels. In the latter case, researchers can keep their ambitions masked, stating goals that are predictable extensions of previous work, thereby — as cynics would have it — maximizing the chance of funding. But in the case of journals, they have no choice but to stake their genuine claim.

Some funding agencies, to their credit, are setting out to encourage riskier, visionary applications. The US National Institutes of Health has a new roadmap that includes a Director’s Challenge with precisely that aim. The European Commission is also setting up a fund for visionary research, the New and Emerging Science and Technology programme, which will shortly issue a call for proposals
(see http://www.cordis.lu/nest/home.html).

Regrets

What of the journals? Nature, while proud of its content over the years, has a confession to make about this year’s medicine Nobels. Not so long ago, presciently pleased with having published Lauterbur’s work, we celebrated it along with other Nature greats in a promotional campaign. Lauterbur politely wrote in to point out that we had published it only after he had appealed against a rejection.

In case anybody runs away with the idea that Nature is unusually culpable in this respect, they can look at a collection of rejections experienced by Nobel winners that neatly illustrates the hurdles they had to overcome to publish their work. Juan Miguel Campanario, a physicist at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, Spain, has compiled a list of more than 20 Nobel laureates’ rejections by many journals, and recollections by many more of resistance by their peers (see http://www2.uah.es/jmc).

Not all of Nature‘s Nobel-winning casualties are totally embarrassing for us. Our notorious rejection of the Krebs cycle in 1937 is partly mitigated by the fact that we said we would publish it once several weeks’ congestion was out of the way, only for Krebs to take it elsewhere. In some cases cited by Campanario, we are accused only of having the nerve to force the authors to shorten their papers.

But there are unarguable faux pas in our history. These include the rejection of Cerenkov radiation, Hideki Yukawa’s meson, work on photosynthesis by Johann Deisenhofer, Robert Huber and Hartmut Michel, and the initial rejection (but eventual acceptance) of Stephen Hawking’s black-hole radiation. Hindsight is always perfect. But we can take comfort, however dubious, from the fact that our unmitigated embarrassments are but a minority in a substantial list of journals’ historical misjudgements.

We can take more respectable comfort from a little-celebrated positive accomplishment of editors, which is to champion submitted papers in the teeth of referees’ (and sometimes colleagues’) resistance. One such submission, according to his Nobel lecture, came from Thomas Cech. The three referees (“outraged enzymologists”, as Cech described them) all opposed the idea that self-splicing RNA could be a catalyst, but Nature published it nevertheless.

Reasons to publish

A straw poll of Nature journals’ editors confirms that risk-taking and hopefully enlightened acceptance by editors persists — although whether at the Nobel level it is too early to say. Confidentiality prevents us from being specific, but papers in (for example) stem-cell development, cell signalling networks, genetic linkage to disease, telomerase dysfunction and extrasolar planets were accepted for publication in recent years despite significant scepticism, and were subsequently well cited.

Other examples, for instance in mammalian evolution and muscle crossbridge dynamics, were published with editors and referees suspecting that their conclusions were probably wrong but giving the papers the benefit of the doubt because there were no insurmountable technical objections and they seemed important. Such cases have proved stimulating for their fields, even though (in at least one case) the conclusions, as techniques have improved, have indeed required revision.

What are the morals of these tales? Certainly we need a diversity of good journals. The laureates’ rejected papers ended up being published somewhere respectable. And in particular there is perhaps some continuing virtue, along with the pitfalls, in the old élitist model of learned-society journals. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, has published innovative papers that had failed to be appreciated by editors elsewhere, because the authors were academy members and so were able to publish by right.

This is strikingly reminiscent of perhaps the most celebrated editorial judgements of all, in Annalen der Physik in1905. That was the year in which Einstein published five extraordinary papers in that journal, including special relativity and the photoelectric effect. The journal had a great editor in Max Planck. He recognized the virtue of publishing such outlandish ideas, but there was also a policy that allowed authors much latitude after their first publication. Indeed, in journals in those days, the burden of proof was generally on the opponents rather than the proponents of new ideas. One might also remember just how exceptional Nobel-winning discoveries tend to be. By and large, peer-filtering has strong virtues.

Nevertheless — a final moral — rejected authors who are convinced of the ground-breaking value of their controversial conclusions should persist. A final rejection on the grounds of questionable significance may mean that one journal has closed its door on you, but that is no reason to be cowed into silence. Remember, as you seek a different home for your work, that you are in wonderful company.

Reference:   http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6959/full/425645a.html

No Black Hole According To General Relativity? (Nature NewsIndia)

August 2001 Nature India News Report on

“Non-occurrence of black holes and trapped surfaces in spherical gravitational collapse: An abridged version” :

Abhas Mitra, Foundations of Physics Lett., 13, 543-579 (2000)

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In a controversial paper in a peer-reviewed journal’, Abhas Mitra, a theoretical physicist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, argues that black holes do not exist. It is generally accepted that black holes are objects whose pull of gravity is so- strong that even light cannot escape from its clutches. And because no light comes out, the objects appear black. But according to Mitra, Einstein’s general theory of relativity prohibits both the formation and the existence of (finite mass) black holes
“The primitive idea of black holes, called ‘dark stars’ in those days, was due to the English natural philosopher John Michell way back in 1783. But the modern concept of black holes grew by fits and starts after the birth of [Einstein’s theory] in 1915,”
Mitra told Newslndia. But Mitra declares that no realistic calculations have ever demonstrated the formation of black holes in a strict sense..
“The concept of black holes took root by means of apparently correct assumptions, inferences and the interpretation of highly idealized, unrealistic calculations.”
Einstein “unsuccessfully struggled to convince his followers and peers that his theory actually does not allow the existence of black holes, ” Mitra continues.

“Despite his objections, the concept of black holes rose… in the 1960s and continues to fascinate, dominate and overawe not only modern astrophysics, but also theoretical physicists general”
Mitra claims to have shown that all the idealized calculations (by .Robert Oppenheimer and Hartland Snyder), and some of the crucial assumptions made by Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and others, which consolidated the notion of black holes, “are either faulty or invalid”. Once the errors caused by these faulty assumptions are removed, “their work too does not allow the formation of black holes,” reported Mitra in his paper’.

The crux of Mitra’s proof relies on the principle that the (local) speed of collapsing matter cannot exceed the speed of light. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, actual physical space-time is like a rubber membrane that curves or sags in the presence of. mass or energy – where there is a star, for example. And this curvature of space-time manifests itself as gravity.  Mitra argues that, as the collapsing object becomes more and more compact, the gravity associated with it continues to sag the space-time membrane without limit.
“As a result, the star continues to collapse indefinitely in this infinitely deep pit,”
says Mitra. This means that for isolated bodies such as stars, Einstein’s relativity theory may be free of singularities. In other words, it does
not allow the occurrence of infinite density or pressure. As the massive star collapses indefinitely and no (finite-mass) black hole is formed, the star tends to radiate away all of its entire mass-energy.

“lf true, this would immediately explain the origin of the enigmatic cosmic gamma-ray bursts, which are not properly understood at present,”

says Mitra. These bursts are explosive events lasting only tens of seconds during which the entire energy of a Sun-like star can be radiated as gamma-rays. According to Mitra, black holes are actually ultra-compact objects collapsing with negligible yet finite speed. Because such Eternally Collapsing Objects may have strong magnetic fields, which black holes do not, Mitra’s work, if he is right, may help to explain many astrophysical phenomena that are currently poorly understood.

“Thus, contrary to widespread notions, Einstein’s intuition about [the non-existence of] black holes was after all correct,”

Mitra says. The controversial paper has been available on the Internet  for more than two years. Mitra says he invited Stephen Hawking, Kip Thorne, Charles Misner and other notable black-hole theorists to criticize his work, but no one replied..

Yet  Mitra has been encouraged by scores of e-mails from physicists around the world. One from Salvatore Antoci of the University of Padova, Italy, says:

“Let me express to you my great joy in seeing your much-disputed paper eventually accepted for publication’ by Foundations of Physics Letters. Convincing the community of relativists about the mythical nature of black holes will remain a tremendous task, but it is a little less desperate thanks
to your success.”
Peder Norberg of the department of physics at Durham University, UK, said he
carefully read through Mitra’s paper and found

“that most of the results presented there are more than impressive”.

Stanley Robertson of Southwestern Oklahoma University, USA, said:

“On first becoming acquainted with your work, I was dubious, thinking it unlikely that something as profound as belief in the existence of black holes could become erroneously established in the literature. In the meanwhile, I have found no errors in your work. It is fascinating.”

And Pankaj Joshi of the Tata Institute of  Fundamental Research in Mumbai, said:

“I have not detected any errors so far.”
Mitra recites an episode from the 19305 when Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar’s work on the upper mass limit of white dwarfs was considered incorrect by celebrated astrophysicists such as Arthur Eddington, even though no one could find an error in his work. Mitra is confident that his work, too, will eventually be recognized by the scientific community.

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Original Report:

http://barc-in.academia.edu/AbhasMitra/Teaching/32958/No_Black_Hole_According_To_General_Relativity_Nature_India_

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Note Added: In this paper, I was using “co-moving” coordinates; something like studying about a flowing river  by a series of  ideally floating boats. Obviously speed of the river with respect to such a boat is zero. However a floating boat can still measure the speed of the river by focusing attention on a nearby lamp post on the river bank or a boulder on the river bed. This point was not clarified by me in 2000 and accordingly it caused genuine confusion. However,  later, I explained the meaning of “local speed”  of implicit in this work.