Quantum effective field theory and black hole tests of Einstein gravity


IFPU & online
September 12-16, 2022


One of the biggest puzzles presently at the forefront of physics, where the tension between Einstein’s classical general relativity (GR) and quantum field theory (QFT) comes into sharp relief, is the final state of complete gravitational collapse, presumed in classical GR to lead a black hole (BH) horizon and singularity, which generates a number of paradoxes and severe difficulties for quantum theory.

The specification of the vacuum in the vicinity of the BH horizon determines whether quantum effects are very large or negligibly small there. A consistent Effective Field Theory (EFT) incorporating quantum vacuum effects, including semi-classical gravity, and QFT in curved spacetime is needed, but there is at present no consensus on the size of quantum effects, and whether the effects could be tested by observations. Advancing this understanding and identifying such tests are the main target for this IFPU activity.

The emergence of infrared quantum effects due to long-range quantum correlations of the conformal anomaly amounts to a well-defined modification of Einstein’s theory of gravitation. These effects are contained in an EFT and their role can be especially relevant in the near-horizon physics of BHs. The increasing amount of data coming from gravitational waves (GWs) and multi-messenger astrophysics of BH mergers provide new sources of information that make possible tests of the quantum effects in gravity, and specifically in BH spacetimes. The aim of this program is to determine the most sensitive tests of possible departures from classical GR by GWs in binary BH and compact object mergers.

Reference webpage.

Scientific organizers:

  • Manuel Asorey (Zaragoza University)
  • Emil Mottola (New Mexico University)
  • Ilya Shapiro (Juiz de Fora University)
  • Andreas Wipf (TPI, Jena University)