Growing hair on black holes

Sidney Coleman, John Preskill, Frank Wilczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


A black hole can carry quantum numbers that are not associated with massless gauge fields, contrary to the spirit of the no-hair theorems. In the Higgs phase of a gauge theory, electric charge on a black hole generates a nonzero electric field outside the event horizon. This field is nonperturbative in Latin small letter h with stroke and is exponentially screened far from the hole. It arises from the cloud of virtual cosmic strings that surround the black hole. In the confinement phase, a magnetic charge on a black hole generates a classical field that is screened at long range by nonperturbative effects. Despite the sharp difference in their formal descriptions, the electric and magnetic cases are closely similar physically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1975-1978
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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