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Black hole experiments: Testing effective field theories in curved spacetimes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Kubiznak.

In 1981 Bill Unruh showed that the equation of motion for sound waves in a convergent fluid flows is given by a wave equation in an acoustic metric geometry. More importantly it is possible to set up sonic horizons in transsonic flows, and thus in principle to mimic experimentally the black-hole evaporation process. Almost 30 years later we have set up an experiment at the University of British Columbia to find out if indeed it is possible to detect (traces of) black hole radiation. We will discuss the necessary theoretical milestones, such as the effective field theory description for water to explore the robustness of Hawking radiation, and the avoidance of shock waves using surface waves rather then sound waves. In theory we should be able to detect the classical component of the thermal emission of black holes in our system and answer the ultimate question: How much do we trust our effective quantum field theory in curved spacetimes?

This talk is part of the DAMTP Friday GR Seminar series.

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