This is a reproduction of the report on my work in Times on India which appeared on Aug 3, 2004, 10.13AM IST.
This report was followed by some comments by readers; and those comments are also reproduced without any editing:
NEW DELHI: 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.
Comment 1: “Is it possible 4 u to get me Mr. Mitra’s contact (EML or Ph.)”
Comment 2: “We start giving all the trophies available in India to the person appreciated by the western society and totally dump the person criticized by them. We donÃ‚Â´t have a brain of our own to decide what is good and what is bad.”
Comment 3: “Mr Mitra..I feel sorry for all the ill treatment you received from ill minded people who doesn’t go through the facts..those BARC stupid offcial who humiliated you, should be sacked immediately because those people doesn’t deserve Scientist title they are just disgrace to science..Mr Mitra , Wish you good Luck..I salute you…Manoj Tayal,Texas,USA.”
Comment 4: “ I am not surprized, it is the curse of INDIANS, we will not support our own TALANTED sons and daughters. We have IFERIORITY COMPLEX, TOO MODEST, TOO MEEK, NO BACK BONE…. tOO much politics in every field. We are actually ASHEMED of our heritage. We have not shaken off our past,CHAPULASI and SUBSERVIENT attitudes, ingrained by our PARENTS and THE SOCIETY. We have no value or ability to judge our own Talants, if we find any we make sure we will drag their feet with our own. I am amazed that inspite of these drawbacks, our disfunctional nation is still serviving and prosepering! But , greed, corrupiton , graft and APATHY is erroding the core of and soul of our GREAT BHARAT. There is NO UNITY AT ANY LEVEL,hope the public will realise it long before it is too late to SAVE our nation from total DISASTOR. I am very glad, that at last, Dr.Mitra is vindicated, though he had to pAY A HEAVEY price for PROFESSIONALISM, INTEGRITY and CANDOR! Talent can never be suppressed, WISH HIM ” MANY MORE VICTORIES!” HATS oFF TO THIS BRAVE BHARAT” REAL DIMOND”, you deserve” BHARAT RATANA” but you do not need it, you have already PROVED IT TO THE WORLD.”
Comment 5: “I hope Mr. Mitra got his place back in the scientist world and i am very sad that such a case had occured. I’ll pray that India borns many such great scientists and earns respect in the world.”
Comment 6: “The problem lies in our genes. The thing is, we Indians tend to trust and support the ‘outsiders’ more than our own people. The only reason why Mr. Mitra’s work was not acknowledged is that he is an Indian. The entire world thinks of India as a poor and backward nation!! Infact one American actually asked me if Indai had its education in English! There is only one cure for such problems….. trust urself and your country.”