Article

Communications in Mathematical Physics

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 152-166

First online:

Black holes in general relativity

  • S. W. HawkingAffiliated withInstitute of Theoretical Astronomy, University of Cambridge

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Abstract

It is assumed that the singularities which occur in gravitational collapse are not visible from outside but are hidden behind an event horizon. This means that one can still predict the future outside the event horizon. A black hole on a spacelike surface is defined to be a connected component of the region of the surface bounded by the event horizon. As time increase, black holes may merge together but can never bifurcate. A black hole would be expected to settle down to a stationary state. It is shown that a stationary black hole must have topologically spherical boundary and must be axisymmetric if it is rotating. These results together with those of Israel and Carter go most of the way towards establishing the conjecture that any stationary black hole is a Kerr solution. Using this conjecture and the result that the surface area of black holes can never decrease, one can place certain limits on the amount of energy that can be extracted from black holes.