It has become a platitute to say that black holes are fascinating objects—but they really are, in part because they challenge our understanding of the fundamental reversibility of physical processes.

In the first part of the talk, I will review some of the classical ways black holes behave as dissipative systems, such as the "hair loss” phenomenon and the monotonic growth of horizon area. In the second part, I will explain how quantum mechanics (more precisely, the coupling of black holes to the quantum vacuum) affects the classical picture at late times, notably through particle creation and evaporation. I will argue that techniques from two-dimensional field theory can help bring clarity to the associated “information loss”

problem, and perhaps also point to new, unexpected predictions. My approach will be as model-independent as possible; that is, rather than investigating a particular scenario for black hole evaporation, I will aim to derive generic consequences from basic assumptions regarding the reversibility of black hole evaporation.


Talk Number PIRSA:15040140
Speaker Profile Matteo Smerlak