Hawking Radiation Explained: What Exactly Was Stephen Hawking Famous For?
Hawking radiation was first discovered by English scientist Stephen Hawking in 1974. Prior to this discovery, our knowledge of black holes was very limited. It was believed that black holes were completely black and that they did not emit any kind of radiation. Astronomers had a very basic understanding of black holes; they believed that black holes radiate no energy of any sort.
But thanks to Stephen Hawking’s discovery of the Hawking radiation, it was learned that black holes were not really black and could, in fact, emit radiation! His theory claimed that the mass of a black hole can become energy, and then that energy can be radiated away.
According to the principles of quantum mechanics, for every particle throughout the universe, there exists an antiparticle. These particles always exist in pairs and keep popping in and out of existence everywhere in the universe. So when a particle and antiparticle pair pop in existence near the event horizon of a black hole, things become very interesting. The antiparticle gets sucked into the black hole while the particle is radiated away.