Falling through the black hole horizon

Ram Brustein, A. J.M. Medved

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Abstract: We consider the fate of a small classical object, a “stick”, as it falls through the horizon of a large black hole (BH). Classically, the equivalence principle dictates that the stick is affected by small tidal forces, and Hawking’s quantum-mechanical model of BH evaporation makes essentially the same prediction. If, on the other hand, the BH horizon is surrounded by a “firewall”, the stick will be consumed as it falls through. We have recently extended Hawking’s model by taking into account the quantum fluctuations of the geometry and the classical back-reaction of the emitted particles. Here, we calculate the train exerted on the falling stick for our model. The strain depends on the near-horizon state of the Hawking pairs. We find that, after the Page time when the state of the pairs deviates significantly from maximal entanglement (as required by unitarity), the induced strain in our semiclassical model is still parametrically small. This is because the number of the disentangled pairs is parametrically smaller than the BH entropy. A firewall does, however, appear if the number of disentangled pairs near the horizon is of order of the BH entropy, as implicitly assumed in previous discussions in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 19 Jun 2015


  • Black Holes
  • Models of Quantum Gravity


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