Black holes, entropy, and mock modular forms

29 February 2016
Sameer Murthy

It was discovered in the 1970s that black holes are thermodynamic objects carrying entropy, thus suggesting that they are really an ensemble of microscopic states. This idea has been realized in a remarkable manner in string theory, wherein one can describe these ensembles in a class of models. These ensembles are known, however, to contain configurations other than isolated black holes, and it remains an outstanding problem to precisely isolate a black hole in the microscopic ensemble. I will describe how this problem can be solved completely in N=4 string theory. The solution involves surprising relations to mock modular forms -- a class of functions first discovered by S. Ramanujan about 95 years ago. 

  • String Theory Seminar