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The Emerging Story of Gravity

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  • UserThomas Laird
  • ClockFriday 16 March 2018, 17:00-18:00
  • HouseMR13.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Loren E. Held.

What if gravity is not a fundamental interaction? Well known results due to Hawking and Bekenstein establish an analogy between the mechanics of black holes and the laws of thermodynamics. It is instructive to see how far this analogy can be pursued beyond the rather restricted domain of black holes. At its logical conclusion, this analogy-turned-equality would lead us to reinterpret general relativity as a purely thermodynamic theory, much like how the ideal gas law was initially formulated without reference to any statistical microphysics. Upon reviewing the results of black hole mechanics, we will begin our investigation by asking how the notion of an event horizon can be generalised to any local patch of spacetime. Consequently we will be able to show how minimal thermodynamic assumptions can be used to derive the Einstein equations, thus expressing the dynamical content of GR as an emergent description of our reality. Time permitting, we may investigate how several approaches differ in their understanding of this thermodynamic description, and we may even touch upon how a few of the contemporary theories of quantum gravity claim to provide a description of the microphysics from which GR emerges.

This talk is part of the Part III Seminars series.

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