### Project Description

# Yoni BenTov

“I am currently trying to understand the statistical mechanics underlying the thermodynamics of Kerr black holes. Hawking’s famous calculation from 1975 suggested that black hole evaporation turns pure states into mixed states, violating a bedrock principle of quantum mechanics. The AMPS paradox of 2013 sharpened the problem, and the most straightforward interpretation is that the equivalence principle of general relativity must break down near the horizon of an arbitrarily large black hole. This is a regime of arbitrarily small curvature, where we normally expect effective quantum field theory on a semiclassical geometry to be perfectly well behaved. I am trying to understand why this picture breaks down and what can be done to remedy it.”

- IQIM Postdoctoral Scholar in Quantum Information and Quantum Matter
- PhD, 2013
- University of California, Santa Barbara

## Interview

#### What is your current research?

I am currently trying to understand the statistical mechanics underlying the thermodynamics of Kerr black holes. Hawking’s famous calculation from 1975 suggested that black hole evaporation turns pure states into mixed states, violating a bedrock principle of quantum mechanics. The AMPS paradox of 2013 sharpened the problem, and the most straightforward interpretation is that the equivalence principle of general relativity must break down near the horizon of an arbitrarily large black hole. This is a regime of arbitrarily small curvature, where we normally expect effective quantum field theory on a semiclassical geometry to be perfectly well behaved. I am trying to understand why this picture breaks down and what can be done to remedy it.

#### What drew you to this work?

In the late 1800s Boltzmann developed the statistical mechanics underlying thermodynamics. I find it incredible that, to this day, we still do not know the statistical mechanics underlying black hole thermodynamics. We know much from string theory about the statistical mechanics behind extremal black holes, and Kitaev recently invented the first exactly solvable model of AdS/CFT, which can be construed as a theory of statistical mechanics for gravity in AdS2. I am trying to learn what I can about Kerr black holes away from extremality, because it is those black holes that are the most common gravitational thermodynamic equilibrium states in nature. This work involves general relativity, astrophysics, statistical mechanics, quantum chaos, and quantum field theory. What’s not to like?

#### What do you do when you’re not doing physics?

Lately my hobbies are drawing, playing guitar, practicing yoga, and learning constitutional law.