1/26/2022 Colloquium

Speaker: Samir Mathur (Ohio State University)

Title: The black hole information paradox

Abstract: In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that black holes radiate away in a manner that violates quantum theory. Starting in 1997, it was observed that black holes in string theory did not have the form expected from general relativity: in place of “empty space will all the mass at the center,” one finds a “fuzzball” where the mass is distributed throughout the interior of the horizon. This resolves the paradox, but opposition to this resolution came from groups who sought to extrapolate some ideas in holography. In 2009 it was shown, using some theorems from quantum information theory, that these extrapolations were incorrect, and the fuzzball structure was essential for resolving the puzzle. Opposition continued along different lines, with a postulate that information would leak out through wormholes. Recently, it was shown that this wormhole idea had some basic flaws, leaving the fuzzball paradigm as the natural resolution of Hawking’s puzzle.

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