EQUS seminar series: Sebastian Murk

Speaker: Sebastian Murk

Title: Black holes in semiclassical and modified theories of gravity

Abstract: Our physical understanding of the world currently rests on two fundamental frameworks: general relativity, which describes gravitational interactions, and quantum field theory, which describes all non-gravitational interactions.  While both theories have been spectacularly successful in predicting physical phenomena within their respective domains of validity, foundational differences imply that they cannot be simultaneously correct.  This is not only unsatisfactory from a logical viewpoint, but also means that we lack predictive power in the regime where both gravitational and quantum effects simultaneously play a role, such as the physics of black holes, early universe cosmology, and spacetime geometry at the Planck scale.  My talk will focus on our understanding of black holes and their horizons in the frameworks of semiclassical and modified theories of gravity.  Despite the lack of a fully developed theory of quantum gravity, these two theoretical frameworks allow us to incorporate quantum effects into the gravitational dynamics of black holes, which is of crucial importance for a complete description of their evolution and includes processes such as their formation and possible evaporation.  I will introduce core concepts and present an overview of interesting recent developments and new results.

Bio: Sebastian is a PhD student in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Macquarie University and the newly established Sydney Quantum Academy working on black holes and background-independent theories of quantum gravity.  Prior to joining Macquarie University in 2018, Sebastian completed a BSc in Physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) and the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, followed by a MSc in Physics from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Lund University, Sweden. For his BSc and MSc theses, he worked as a member of the UBC and Lund ATLAS groups, contributing to one of the four major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  In recognition of his recent scientific achievements, Sebastian was awarded the 2020 Australian Institute of Physics Postgraduate Excellence in Physics Award.

Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.