Specialist Course FS23:

Black Holes and Quantum Fields

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Summary and Overview

Much of the current and ongoing work on Quantum Gravity is motivated by the puzzles raised by the mysterious and suprising thermodynamic properties exhibited by Black Holes at the semi-classical level. The key observations here, regarding both classical and semi-classical General Relativity, go back to the 1970s. It is impossible to appreciate, let alone understand or judge, current activities and efforts in this field without a knowledge of these developments and discoveries from over 40 years ago.

Nevertheless, in spite of the importance of these discoveries, and in spite of the fact that they have had as much an impact on theoretical gravitational physics as the more or less simultaneous development of the Standard Model of Particle Physics has had on theoretical particle physics, they do not appear to be part of the standard theoretical physicists' curriculum today.

The primary aim of this course will be to (partially) fill this gap! As a consequence, the target audience for this course are not just Master students, but basically anybody in theoretical physics who would like to have a better understanding of these matters.

Starting from and building on the properties of the Rindler metric (Minkowski space in accelerated coordinates) and the Schwarzschild Black Hole metric, which I will review (but will assume some familiarity with), I want to deal with the following topics:

To a certain extent, the course will therefore (unintentionally) trace some of the work of Stephen Hawking on these subjects. For a brief and non-technical biographical account of his work, see (in the course, we will deal with the subjects mentioned in sections 7, 9, 10 and 14 of this article).



Tentative Outline / Preliminary List of Topics

Formalities / Information for Theory Master Students