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Quantum Gravity and Black Holes

Final projects


If you registered for the course, but completed less than half the homework,\footnote{For example if you turn in fewer than half the homeworks, or you turn in all the homeworks but answer less than half the questions. If you are unsure whether you need to do a final presentation, please ask me.} then you must do a final presentation to get a `satisfactory' grade for the course. For everyone else, final presentations are entirely optional.


Pick a topic related in some way to this course, read a paper or two or a book chapter on the topic, and present a summary to the class. The length of the presentation will be decided later when I know how many people are presenting, but for planning purposes you can suppose the presentation will be about 30 minutes.


Presentations will be Friday, May 1st, at 4pm in Clark 294G (problem session location). Attendance is optional for anyone not presenting. If that time doesn't work for you, and you want to give a presentation, let me know soon.


Please select a topic from the list below, or pick your own. Only one person can do each topic, so let me know if you want to claim a topic and I will update this page. These ideas are just suggestions. Feel free to pick your own, but check with me before you get started. The references below are also just suggestions, you can use them as a starting point or read them alone. Discuss with me if you want further ideas or to narrow these ideas down.

Here are some topic ideas:

  1. Holographic modeling of superconductors: see arXiv 0904.1975
  2. Any topic related to holographic condensed matter physics, see 0903.3246 for a review.
  3. Viscosity of black holes, and the `KSS bound' (which bounds the viscosity-to-entropy ratio): see hep-th/0405231 for the original paper, or 1108.0677 for a review.
  4. The Bekenstein entropy bound and the Bousso bound: see Scholarpedia, hep-th/9905177, and 0804.2182. -- Claimed by Laura
  5. Entanglement entropy in gauge theory: see arXiv 1312.1183 and 1406.7304
  6. Entanglement entropy in time-dependent states: see 0708.3750, 1303.1080, and 1311.1200. -- Claimed by Amir
  7. The BMS (Bondi-Metzner-Sachs) group (This is the asymptotic symmetry group of null infinity in flat spacetime. I don't know a great reference for it; try googling, or look in Wald's book to get started.) -- Claimed by Ven
  8. Black holes in string theory. This is a huge subject. See Becker-Becker-Schwarz and/or Kiritsis textbooks to get started and talk to me to narrow down the scope a bit. Recommended only if you have some familiarity with D-branes. -- Claimed by John
  9. Minimal model CFTs. These are exactly solveable CFTs in 2d important for critical phenomena, including the 2d critical Ising model. See chapters 7-8 (and maybe 12) of the CFT book by Di Francesco et al.
  10. Boundary CFT: see Chapter 11 of Di Francesco et al.'s CFT book.
  11. The Hartle-Hawking wavefunction of the universe. See Hartle and Hawking, Phys Rev D 1983, and Hawking's paper `The quantum state of the universe.' This is a Euclidean path-integral attempt to define the quantum state of the universe. Although the original idea was incomplete, it is important in many contexts.
  12. The Zamolodchikov c-theorem (monotonicity of the RG in 2d); see Zamolodchikov 1986 and Friedan-Capelli-Latorre 1991.
  13. The a-theorem (monotonicity of the RG in 4d); see the conjecture by Cardy in Phys Lett B215, p749, 1998, and the proof (decades later!) by Komargodski and Schwimmer 1107.3987, Komargodski 1112.4538.
  14. Scale vs conformal invariance: see Polchinski 1988 (2d version) and/or the 4d version in 1204.5221.
  15. The 1/N expansion in gauge theory; see the discussion in Kiritsis, and Witten's paper `Baryons in the 1/N expansion'.
  16. Pick your own! Find a chapter in a book, a review paper, or an original paper to read.
More ideas I added later: