The 2,396th Meeting of the Society

September 21, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Black Holes and the Structure of Spacetime

Juan Maldacena

Feinberg Professor of Theoretical Physics
Institute for Advanced Study

Sponsored by PSW Science Member Carl Merril

About the Lecture

Black holes are fascinating objects predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  Although they were initially viewed as unphysical solutions, they were later understood to be a solid and generic prediction of the theory.   Black holes give rise to theoretical paradoxes whose resolution requires us to modify our conception of spacetime.  This lecture will review how black holes went from being an obscure detail in general relativity to a central tool  for discovering new perspectives on the nature of spacetime in a quantum theory.

About the Speaker

Juan Maldacena is the Feinberg Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ.  Previously he was Professor of Physics at Harvard University.

Juan works primarily on quantum field theory, quantum gravity and string theory.  Among his most significant work is the formulation of the Maldacena duality, a conjecture about the relationship between quantum gravity and quantum field theories.  The conjecture is considered a major advance and Juan’s original publication on the duality is among the most highly cited publications in theoretical physics.  Currently Juan is studying this relationship to understand the deep connection between black holes and quantum field theories, and he is exploring the connection between string theory and various cosmological phenomena.

Among other awards and honors, Juan is a MacArthur Fellow and the recipient of the Einstein Medal, the Lorentz Medal, the Dirac Prize, the Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, the Bouchet Award, the Pius XI Medal and the Sackler Prize in Physics

Juan earned a BS from the Instituto Balseiro, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Argentina, his native country, and a PhD in physics from Princeton University.