AN amateur scientist who once set out to prove Albert Einstein wrong has a new observation that could change our understanding of the universe.

Neil Doherty, of Wilthorpe Farm Road, Wilthorpe, has had a lifelong fascination with science that culminated in a long-running contact sharing his ideas with NASA.

His latest idea - he makes clear it’s not quite yet a ‘theory’ - concerns the mystery of what happens in black holes.

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Black holes are areas in space-time where gravity is so strong that it’s thought nothing can escape.

Well-known physicist Carlo Rovelli recently theorised that matter can actually ‘bounce’ and escape from black holes, forming what’s known as a white hole as matter is spat back out into space.

“This flies in the face of Einstein’s prediction that a ‘singularity’ - that is, a point in space - forms at the centre of a black hole and everything that goes in, even thousands of stars the size of our sun, are crushed to an infinitesimal point in space,” said Neil.

Neil, whose tests to disprove Einstein’s theory of velocity were published in the Chronicle in 1997, said the most notable result of this would be hydrogen - which would be ‘recycled’ as more of these eruptions happen.

But Neil, at 68, said he’s ‘too long in the tooth’ to apply the mathematics needed to properly test the idea.

“One of the top physicists in the world has challenged Einstein’s theory,” he said.

“This is something I thought through more than 20 years ago.

“I had not followed up thinking about this subject beyond those thoughts for the simple reason that no scientist would have, at the time, even considered that Einstein could be in error.

“If this is proved, it would be phenomenal.”