Nearly a century has passed since scientists broke the Universe.

Through a complex mix of experiment and theory, physicists discovered an engine built on the mathematics of probability ticks away below the façade of reality.

Referred to in vague terms as the Copenhagen interpretation, this take on the theory underpinning quantum mechanics says everything can be described as a possibility – until we're forced to describe it as an actuality.

But what does that even mean?

In spite of decades of experimentation and philosophizing, the gap between the unsettled properties of a quantum system and a measurement we all see with our own eyes has barely shrunk. For all the talk of collapsing waveforms, cats in boxes, and observer effects, we're no closer to understanding the nature of reality than those early physicists were in the late 1920s.

Yet some researchers think clues might be found in the space between quantum physics and another majestic theory born in the early 20th century – Einstein's famous general theory of relativity.

Last year, a small group of physicists from the University of Chicago argued the mere presence of a black hole somewhere nearby tugs at the strings of a mass in a blur of quantum states and forces it to pick a single fate.

Now they've returned with a follow-up prediction, presenting their views on different kinds of horizons, in a pre-print ahead of peer review.

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