Physics

2015 Mini-Symposium on General Relativity and Light

Mini-Symposium in Celebration of 100 Years of General Relativity and the International Year of Light

Friday, November 27, 2015

Room CCIS L1-029
9:30 - 10am Gathering with coffee, tea
10 - 10:10am Welcome & Opening Remarks, TPI Director
10:10 - 11:10am Many Faces of Black Holes
Valeri Frolov

Killam Memorial Chair
Department of Physics, University of Alberta
11:10 - 12:10pm Lifting the Veil of the Gravitational Universe
Luis Lehner

Physics Department
University of Guelph and Perimeter Institute
   
Room CCIS 4-218 (Avadh Bhatia Room)
12:10 - 1:15pm Lunch
 
Room CCIS L1-029
1:15 - 2:15pm

Which came first, physics or mathematics?
Vincent Bouchard
Mathematics Department, University of Alberta

2:15 - 3:15pm Black Hole Information
Don Page
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Physics, University of Alberta
 
Room CCIS L1-160
3:15 - 3:30pm Coffee and cookies
3:30 - 4:30pm  Images on the Horizon: A View of Black Holes from the Event Horizon Telescope
Avery Broderick

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute
   
Speakers and Abstracts
 Valeri Frolov

Many Faces of Black Holes
Valeri Frolov
Killam Memorial Chair
Department of Physics,  University of Alberta

Black holes are the most intriguing objects, predicted by the General Relativity. A first (Schwarzschild) solution, describing a black hole was found a hundred years ago. Now black holes are in the focus of interest of astrophysics, theoretical physics and mathematics. Stellar-mass and supermassive black holes are the most energetic engines in the Universe. In the theoretical physics, black holes play often the role of the Rosetta stone. They allow us to test new fundamental ideas and theories, such as higher dimensions and the string theory. Four and higher dimensional black hole solutions possess a number of remarkable mathematical properties. Black hole puzzles, such as the information loss paradox, the origin of black hole entropy, and internal structure and fate of evaporating black holes, are among the “hottest” subjects of the modern theoretical physics. In my talk I shall try to discuss why black holes play such a role of “great attractor” in modern theory.

 Luis Lehner Lifting the Veil of the Gravitational Universe
Luis Lehner
Physics Department
University of Guelph and Perimeter Institute

The second century of General Relativity will see the detection of gravitational waves which will provide unprecedented information about our universe. These waves which are perturbations of the very fabric of space-time will allow us to explore our cosmos, answer fundamental questions and exploit them in combination with electromagnetic waves to allow for major breakthroughs in a number of fronts. This talk will discuss the theory and search efforts of some exciting, and likely soon to be realized, prospects.

 Vincent Bouchard

Which Came First, Physics or Mathematics?
Vincent Bouchard
Associate Professor
Mathematics Department, University of Alberta

Einstein’s general relativity is a great example of the beautiful interconnections between mathematics and physics. But it uses mathematics mostly as a language to describe physics. In recent years the roles have been reversed: the number of fascinating results in various areas of mathematics, such as geometry, topology, and number theory, that have been obtained via the language of physics, notably string theory, is mind-boggling. In this talk I will explore some of these striking mathematical results that come out of string theory, and try to explain why, from a physicist’s viewpoint, these should not really come as a surprise. By the end of the talk, you should hopefully be convinced of "the unreasonable effectiveness of physics in mathematics”!

 Don Page

Black Hole Information
Don Page
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Physics, University of Alberta

Stephen Hawking proposed that the formation of a black hole and its subsequent evaporation by the Hawking radiation he discovered would lose information in the sense of converting a pure quantum state to a mixed state with increased von Neumann entropy.  Here I wish to summarize some of the arguments for and against information loss and discuss the puzzles that remain.

 Avery Broderick

Images on the Horizon: A View of Black Holes from the Event Horizon Telescope
Avery Broderick
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute

Supermassive black holes, located at the centers of galaxies, are at once an extreme consequence of general relativity and the sites of energetic processes that shape the cosmos. Nevertheless, their extraordinarily compact nature has prohibited the direct study of the key gravitational and astrophysical features underlying their nature and responsible for the astronomical importance. However, it has now become possible to generate images of a handful of astrophysical black holes that resolve their event horizons. I will discuss how this unique ability has become possible and how it is already beginning to shed light upon fundamental questions in both gravitational physics and high-energy astrophysics.

 

Theoretical Physics Institute Mission Statement

According to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Theoretical Physics Institute of the University of Alberta, the Objective is the following:

"The objective of the Institute is to promote theoretical physics in Canada by providing at the University of Alberta a uniquely favourable environment for productive and significant research."
In practice, this objective is mainly accomplished by the use of TPI funds for bringing in visitors and visiting speakers and organizing conferences. These events provide opportunities for interactions among theorists in Canada and in particular expose those at the University of Alberta to ideas of those from the broader community.

Director: Richard Sydora