Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2022

Public talk on ‘Black Holes, Thermodynamics and Information Loss’

The 16th Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Black Holes, Thermodynamics and Information Loss, will be given by Professor Robert Wald from the University of Chicago.

A black hole is a ‘region of no escape’ produced by the complete gravitational collapse of a body. Black holes occur in nature and are of considerable importance in astrophysics. Black holes are also extremely important as objects of study in theoretical physics, as they provide major insights into the fundamental properties of quantum gravity. These insights arise mainly from a truly remarkable relationship between laws of black hole physics and ordinary thermodynamic laws – most significantly, Stephen Hawking's discovery that black holes emit thermal radiation at a finite temperature as a result of quantum particle creation. This thermal emission should result in the complete ’evaporation" of an isolated black hole within a finite time. An issue of considerable interest is whether information is destroyed in this process.

Professor Wald, who is Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, will describe the nature of black holes, their thermodynamic properties and the information loss issue during his public talk on Friday 4 November.

The annual lecture is named in memory of Andrew Chamblin, a brilliant theoretical physicist who died suddenly in 2006 at the age of 36. He studied twistor theory and global methods in general relativity with Professor Sir Roger Penrose at Christ Church, Oxford in 1991-92, and was then admitted to St John's College, Cambridge to study for a PhD in Theoretical Physics under Professors Gary Gibbons and Stephen Hawking at the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics.

Awarded a J.T. Knight Essay Prize, he was elected a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and during this time his interests turned to quantum gravity and the superstring theory and supergravity (M-theory).

Andrew held several post-doctoral appointments, including at University of California Santa-Barbara, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was appointed Assistant Professor and University Scholar at the University of Louisville, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Kentucky. He published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and delivered many of these at conferences around the world. 

The Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture Fund was established at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics to endow an annual lecture in Andrew's name at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, on a subject of relevance to his life and work.

The inaugural lecture was given by Professor Hawking in 2007 entitled Out of a Black Hole and the first Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert took place in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, the same year. It is also now held annually.

This year's lecture will take place from 5-6pm GMT on Friday 4 November at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA. The lecture will also be livestreamed online..

Admission is free but booking is required via the Faculty of Mathematics Events page.

Find out more about the Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture Fund

Published: 6/10/2022

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