Physikalisches Geburtstagskolloquium zu Ehren von Prof. Dr. Bernd Brügmann: The Enigma of Black Hole Horizons

Prof. Dr. Abhay Ashtekar, The Pennsylvania State University (USA); Ehrendoktor der PAF
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Physikalisches Kolloquium
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Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. Abhay Ashtekar
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Verleihung der Ehrendoktorwürde an Prof. Dr. Abhay Ashtekar Verleihung der Ehrendoktorwürde an Prof. Dr. Abhay Ashtekar

Abstract:

Gravitational wave observations have established that black holes are ubiquitous
in our universe. But what exactly is a black hole? What exactly is it that forms as
a result of a gravitational collapse and evaporates due to quantum radiation? The
common answer is of course „event horizons“. But they are teleological and have
unphysical properties. An event horizon may be contained in the room you are
sitting in – and growing – in anticipation of a gravitational collapse that may take
place a billion years from now. Similarly, much of the confusion about the
„information loss issue“ stems from over-reliance on event horizons. Is there a
better notion of black hole horizons? We will see that the answer is in the
affirmative and leads to new and interesting insights. For example, they have
opened up the possibility of gravitational wave tomography: although horizons are
invisible to outside observers, one can reconstruct an image of their dynamics
using gravitational waveforms at infinity.
This account of the fascinating and vexing properties of black hole horizons will
be presented at a level that is accessible to non-experts.