Hawking has discovered more than 40 years ago that black holes (BH's) evaporate. Ever since, ideas about how they evaporate have been a source of constant interest and controversy. In Hawking's model, the process of BH evaporation respects the Einstein equivalence principle but it is not unitary. Page has proposed a model of unitary evaporation, but the model was recently found to be incompatible with the equivalence principle. After reviewing this state of affairs, I will argue that the origin for many of the difficulties is that BH's are treated as geometric, infinite mass objects and thus their quantum fluctuations are completely ignored. I will present a model of how finite mass BH's evaporate and outline how both unitarity and the equivalence principle can be respected. The model suggest that the interior of the BH is a highly quantum gravitationally bound state.
Quantum Black Holes: dissolving confusions and resolving paradoxes
School of Physics and Astronomy
James Clerk Maxwell Building, 4305
Peter Guthrie Tait Road