EXPLORING THE EDGES OF THE UNIVERSE: BLACK HOLES, HORIZONS AND STRINGS
What are the edges of universe? What are black holes? What kind of horizons exist in the universe? What does string theory have to do with any of that?
The scientific quest to understand the fundamental laws of nature has been ongoing for centuries. Andrew Strominger will describe some of our ongoing confusion, progress and excitement about the edges of both our knowledge and space itself.
The visible universe has edges, known as event horizons, which surround a black hole or a region of space speeding away faster than light. Event horizons are governed by a strikingly simple set of quantum laws which imply that black holes are at once the simplest and most complex objects in the physical universe. As discovered four decades ago by Bekenstein and Hawking, this dichotomy underlies a deep paradox, the resolution of which has become a focal point of modern physics. Unexpectedly, insight into this paradox has recently been gained from string theory.
That nothing can travel faster than light, that quantum mechanics is a weird theory, space, time and gravity all come together in this exciting lecture that brings all we know of the fundamental laws of nature into perspective and hints towards new and yet undiscovered fundamental laws that underly the entire universe.
Andrew Strominger is professor Theoretical physics at Harvard University and director of Harvard's Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature. He has made significant contributions to quantum gravity, black holes and string theory. These include his work on Calabi–Yau compactification and topology change in string theory, and on the stringy origin of black hole entropy. He is a senior fellow at the Society of Fellows, and is the Gwill E. York Professor of Physics. He is one of the founding members of the black hole initiative and has received numerous prizes, including the Klein medal, the Dirac medal, and the Physics Frontiers Breakthrough Prize in 2014 and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2017.