It was hailed as an elegant confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — but ironically the discovery of gravitational waves earlier this year could herald the first evidence that the theory breaks down at the edge of black holes. Physicists have analysed the publicly released data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), and claim to have found “echoes” of the waves that seem to contradict general relativity’s predictions1.This is badly confused. If they are really black holes, then we can only observe what is outside the edge (aka Schwarzschild radius or horizon). No LIGO data can possibly distinguish what is just inside the edge with what is at the center.
The echoes could yet disappear with more data. If they persist, the finding would be extraordinary. Physicists have predicted that Einstein’s hugely successful theory could break down in extreme scenarios, such as at the centre of black holes. The echoes would indicate the even more dramatic possibility that relativity fails at the black hole’s edge, far from its core.
Lubos Motl just got finished praising one of the coauthors for winning a big prize, but stops short of saying that he is actually right about something:
That controversial Polchinski et al. paper on the firewalls (AMPS) shows that they are experts in quantum gravity and quantum information but because the assumptions and conclusions are wrong, it's obvious that such a paper can't be said to have a million or multimillion-dollar value from a physics viewpoint. You simply shouldn't be getting physics awards for physically incorrect claims. The whole point of science and physics is to find correct insights about Nature, not just to show that you have mastered some tools and you can design clever, but ultimately irrelevant, arguments that derive incorrect conclusions from invalid assumptions.This is funny. LuMo is very impressed with the string theorists like Polchinski who do a lot of fancy theorizing about extra dimensions or Planck lengths or black hole interior entropy, but if they apply it to real-world data, then he is honest enuf to call BS.