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Black holes, information and wormholes

Date and Time: Wednesday, December 01, 2021, 03:30pm - 04:30pm
Location: 330W and Zoom:

Speaker: Geoff Penington, UC Berkeley 


Abstract: In the 1970s, Hawking showed that black holes arefinite-temperature objects that radiate energy and eventually evaporate awayentirely. However, his calculations suggested something very weird: that, unlike anyother physical system, this radiation contained no information aboutthe initial state of the black hole. Information that fell intothe black hole appeared to be lost forever. This contradiction between Hawking'scalculations and the ordinary rules of quantum mechanics has been a drivingforce behind much of the research in quantum gravity over the ensuingdecades. Finally, in the last couple of years, we have begun to understandwhere Hawking's calculation went wrong, and to derive precise predictions,consistent with unitary quantum mechanics, for the information content ofHawking radiation. However, the new calculations, which involve weirdspacetime topologies called 'spacetime wormholes', still leave many unanswered questions. 

 Host: Tom Banks

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