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Professor Gerard 't Hooft - Observing black holes in quantum mechanics

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Centre for Mathematical Sciences

Wilberforce Road

Cambridge

CB3 0WA

United Kingdom

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12th Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge.

Professor Gerard 't Hooft, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Black holes are extraordinary consequences of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, describing extreme features in the behaviour of matter when too much of it is compressed in too small a volume. Large black holes are known to occur in many places in the universe, but what happens when they get very small? At some point, the laws of quantum mechanics, normally applying to atoms and molecules, should dictate what happens. If you thought black holes are weird, and that quantum mechanics is weird as well, try to imagine what happens when these two are combined.

Several theories for the combination of the gravitational force with the quantum theories of elementary particles, have been constructed and elaborated, notably string theory, decorated with super symmetry. It is generally thought that these theories will automatically handle black holes correctly. But they don’t. Fundamental modifications are needed and these may bring extremely valuable insight in how to proceed with these theories.

It is anticipated this event will be very popular. Due to the limited capacity of seating available in MR2 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, this lecture will be live streamed to other lecture theatres on site.

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Centre for Mathematical Sciences

Wilberforce Road

Cambridge

CB3 0WA

United Kingdom

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