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This is an attempt to transform a question I asked about a year ago into a binary yes-or-no question:

Since a quark has electrical charge, can it irreversibly pass though an event horizon?

The membrane view developed by Price et al is the source of this question, since it requires all charged particles to become "attached" to the event horizon.

That quarks are also bound tightly to other quarks would seem irrelevant to this principle, since e.g. the quark charges are separated in xyz space and must encounter the event horizon membrane separately, with each new quark-membrane encounter imparting a new electrical charge to the black hole.

(BTW, has no one ever considered whether baryon dismantling at the event horizon requires transient acquisition of color charge to be one of the fundamental quantum numbers of a black hole, essentially making every black hole that is picking up matter into a color-shifting megaquark? It would seem to be an unavoidable side effect of the scenario I just mentioned. Sorry, just thinking out loud: I'll ask that as separate question in a minute or two.)

As Kip Thorne notes in his book on black holes and time warps (Dr Thorne, if you happen to be out there, your views on this topic would be hugely appreciated), the membrane view (external observer view) and the curved spacetime view (person taking the leap in) are always equivalent and interchangeable.

That's why I made sure to add the word "irreversible" in my question.

If after all from the perspective of the outside universe the quark is always available to return to that universe (e.g. via a polar jet), then question of whether that quark ever "really" left the universe simply becomes moot. It did not, because an act of true removal would require more time than exists within the universe. That makes its true removal a hypothetical concept that cannot be implemented by any actual experiment.

Furthermore, since the black hole is part of that universe and is subject to Hawking evaporation (or tidal-stress-energized virtual particle instantiation, I love that view of it!), the falling observer will never see the quark disappear completely from the universe either. After all, you cannot hide in a box that by definition must evaporate prior to your being able to move fully inside of it.

(Another tangent: I assume the above assertion that the hidey-hole always disappears on you as you fall into a black hole is necessarily equivalent to the argument Hawking made last year that black holes cannot be truly black. I have no idea how the equivalence proof would be done, though.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I saw your later question first, and I think my objections to the later question apply to this one as well. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Nov 23 '14 at 17:14

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