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Higgs Vortices and Black Hole Hair

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Leona Hope-Coles.

Black holes are one of the most fascinating objects in theoretical gravity – they are the logical conclusion of a description in which the nonlinear attraction of matter eventually causes it to cut off from the outside world. The description of a black hole is particularly simple – they are characterised by mass, charge and angular momentum – the lack of larger numbers of parameters being known as “no hair” theorems. Yet the no hair theorems ignore the effects of nonlinearity in physical systems, and in particular, nonlinearity in the field theories used to describe matter. I will discuss how black holes can acquire very spectacular hair when symmetries of nature are spontaneously broken – in the form of Higgs vortices. I will show how these vacuum defects interact with the event horizon, and cause it to buckle and change in shape. Although the black hole can be bland, it can have rather literal, and very long hair!

This talk is part of the Cavendish Physical Society series.

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