In a 1783 paper English scholar John Michell envisioned a voracious cosmic monster: a star that was massive enough that its gravity would swallow light. He speculated that many such behemoths might exist, detectable only by their gravitational effects. Two centuries later, in 1967, American physicist John Wheeler gave the idea an evocative name: black hole. Just a few years afterward, in 1974, British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking taught us that black holes aren't so black after all: they emit radiation and will eventually evaporate.