Seminar - Morgan Lynch: "A Brief History of Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime"
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Israel Institute of Technology
A Brief History of Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime
The incorporation of classical general relativity into the framework of quantum field theory yielded a rather surprising result; thermodynamic particle production. In short, for fundamental deformations in the structure of spacetime, quantum mechanics necessitates the creation of thermalized particles from the vacuum. This is the underlying process responsible for the now famous Hawking effect which leads to the evaporation of black holes. A similar phenomenon, known as the Unruh effect, causes empty space to effervesce a thermal bath of particles when viewed by an observer undergoing uniform accelerated motion. In this seminar, we will review the timeline of conceptual discoveries which led to broad classes of these intriguing thermodynamic phenomena along with attempts to measure them experimentally. Beginning with the original discovery of particles created by the expansion of the universe, we will cover a brief history of quantum field theory in curved spacetime culminating in the first potential experimental observation of the Unruh effect in high energy channeling radiation.