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Introduction to Black Holes, Information and the String Theory Revolution, An: The Holographic Universe [Paperback]

By Leonard Susskind (Author) & James Lindesay (Author)
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Item description for Introduction to Black Holes, Information and the String Theory Revolution, An: The Holographic Universe by Leonard Susskind & James Lindesay...

Over the last decade the physics of black holes has been revolutionized by developments that grew out of Jacob Bekenstein s realization that black holes have entropy. Stephen Hawking raised profound issues concerning the loss of information in black hole evaporation and the consistency of quantum mechanics in a world with gravity. For two decades these questions puzzled theoretical physicists and eventually led to a revolution in the way we think about space, time, matter and information. This revolution has culminated in a remarkable principle called The Holographic Principle , which is now a major focus of attention in gravitational research, quantum field theory and elementary particle physics. Leonard Susskind, one of the co-inventors of the Holographic Principle as well as one of the founders of String theory, develops and explains these concepts.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: World Scientific Publishing Company
Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 23, 2004
Publisher   World Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN  9812561315  
ISBN13  9789812561312  

Availability  0 units.

More About Leonard Susskind & James Lindesay

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Leonard Susskind has been the Felix Bloch Professor in Theoretical Physics at Stanford University since 1978. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

George Hrabovsky is the president of Madison Area Science and Technology (MAST), a nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific and technological research and education. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Reviews - What do customers think about An Introduction To Black Holes, Information And The String Theory Revolution: The Holographic Universe?

Solid set of lectures  Apr 6, 2008
The book is a scientific diary which presents some theoretical results of the physics of black holes (often peculiar, like the black hole horizon having electrical resistance of 377Ohm/square) and introduces the holographic principle. Conceptually the level of the presentation is high but mathematics is kept at minimum which makes the book an excellent reading for anyone with a solid background in quantum mechanics and relativity. The book is very clearly written.
Wonderful exposé!  Mar 5, 2007
Indeed, I agree with the previous reviewer: this book is certainly not for laymen, however it is a wonderful exposé of the "holographic universe", i.e. information contained not in volumina of objects but in their surfaces, such as black holes, which are maximum-entropy objects. In order to understand the book, you'll need a BSc in physics or mathematics with a keen interest in physics. Knowledge of Einstein's theory of general relativity might be of use, but not strictly neccesary. It's written nicely, it is up to date, and a pleasure to study.
Not for people with just a curiosity for string theory!  Apr 7, 2006
You will probably need a BA or BS degree in physics for this book to be understandable to you. If you are just curious about string theory then you will be LOST in this book. I have never seen so many physic/math proofs and formulas in my life! It only made me realize how much other people are smarter than myself. Buy Steven Hawking's A Briefer History in Time for a lay person's guide to string theory and other interesting theories if you don't want to spend a gigantic amount of brain power.
Exploring the Holographic Multiverse  Sep 1, 2005
"Black Holes, Information and the String Theory Revolution: The Holographic Universe"

Lenny and I worked together with Johnny Glogower on quantum phase and time operators at Cornell in 1964 .Lenny's densely mathematical book is not a popular book. It is incomprehensible to the general reader and it is not easy going for the professional theoretical physicist not in the sub-field. However, it has moments of great clarity and if it is wrong, as George Chapline thinks, it is brilliantly wrong. Certainly pieces of Lenny's thesis will survive. So, to really see what the book is about, it's best to read the end of the book first and then go back to the beginning. Lenny emphasizes the key role on nonlocality (e.g. nonlocality of gravity energy?) in black hole complementarity.

"In order to reconcile the equivalence principle with the rules of quantum mechanics the rules of locality must be massively modified."

I like the idea of the blackhole as a string since I already published in 1974 the explanation of the Regge slope alpha' (for strings)

J ~ alpha'E^2

alpha' ~ (1Gev)^-2

as rotating Kerr black hole Wheeler "micro with effective strong gravity G* ~ 10^40G in Herbert Frohlich's "Collective Phenomena". Indeed, that's why Abdus Salam invited me to ICTP Trieste, Italy 1973-74 (e.g. contact Jagdish Mehra).

What will survive is the IR/UV duality. What about LIF/LNIF complementarity? Intriguing. What is completely missing in Lenny's theory is Vacuum ODLRO. For example, Lenny never considers a Bose-Einstein condensate in the vacuum in which there is a macroscopic eigenvalue of the first reduced density matrix. All eigenvalues must be less than 1 in Lenny's theory. Second, Lenny used a positive energy density to derive some of his key results when in fact negative zero point energy density would describe dark matter. Third, Lenny's ADS model has the wrong sign of the actually observed small post-inflation cosmological constant. How fatal this is I do not know yet. Perhaps he analytically continues to the DS model? That is ADS is "dark matter" with negative zero point energy density and positive pressure. DS is "dark energy" with positive zero point energy density and negative pressure. Furthermore, Lenny's equation for p the power of t in the FRW scale factor a(t) ~ t^p breaks down in the most important case, i.e. p -> infinity when w -> -1, which is the case for zero point energy. One nice idea is that the D3 brane of M-theory is the kind of 3+1 space-time we live in with the 6 extra space-time dimensions as "scalar fields". This fits well with Gennady Shipov's torsion field theory extension of 1915 GR. Indeed, if we interpret these scalar fields as vacuum ODLRO Higgs-Goldstone fields associated with the local gauging of the Lorentz group O(1,3) then the vacuum order parameter space is SU(2)xSU(2) consistent with the Hedgehog anomaly centered at Sun seen in the TWO NASA Pioneer Space Probes where a_g = - cH(t). All stars may have this property, i.e. part of stellar formation? Maybe even galaxies have it? That is vacuum ODLRO topological defects as seeds for early galaxy formation explaining galactic halos as well?

He opens up with the math of black holes in different coordinate representations. But you need to remember (or look up) your high school logarithms and the trigonometry formula for the tangent of the half-angle to show from eqs (1.1.2) to (1.1.4) that a signal from the black hole surface horizon never reaches the distant observers. The Penrose diagram makes that instantly obvious of course.

Comment 1

Lenny: "The paradox was discovered by Jacob Bekenstein and turned into a serious crisis by Stephen Hawking. ... Bekenstein realized that if the second law of thermodynamics was not to be violated in the presence of a black hole, the black hole must possess an intrinsic entropy. ... How and why a classical solution of field equations should be endowed with thermodynamical attributes has remained obscure."

Jack: The black hole is a property of Einstein's vacuum equation

Ruv = 0

However, this equation is a c-number emergent field theory from vacuum ODLRO. George Chapline, Jr and I have both arrived at this general idea quite independently. Let the vacuum ODLRO order parameter be

psi = |psi|e^iargpsi

suppress internal symmetry indices, but think of SU(2)hypercharge that has a neutral VEV in the standard model (evidence from NASA Pioneer anomaly a_g = -cH(t) as a hedgehog topological defect centered at Sun).

Let the Einstein-Cartan 1-form be

e = 1 + B

My ansatz is

B = (hG/c^3)^1/2d(argtheta)

with "string" branch cuts in argtheta

Therefore, there is no gravity and inertia when h -> 0 and c -> infinity even when G =/= 0. There is still some residual "normal fluid" fluctuations around the stiff vacuum order parameter psi that obeys the rules of micro-quantum theory as given by Lenny. The ratio of normal to superfluid obviously has a temperature parameter T. Therefore, Lenny's question is answered.

Comment 2

Lenny: "Eventually the black hole must completely evaporate. Hawking then raised the question of what becomes of the quantum correlations between matter outside the black hole and matter that disappears behind the horizon. ... Hawking then made arguments that there is no way, consistent with causality, for the correlations to be carried by the outgoing evaporation products."

Jack: So much the worse for causality, which here means no space-like influences outside the local light cones. Bell's theorem shows that such space-like influences are needed and they are locally random in micro-quantum theory consistent with the blackbody radiation.

Lenny: "Thus, according to Hawking, the existence of black holes inevitably causes a loss of quantum coherence and breakdown of one of the basic principles of quantum mechanics - the evolution of pure states into pure states."

Jack: So much the worse for micro-quantum mechanics. It's time to slaughter that Sacred Cow. Global special relativity of 1905 is violated by the necessity of gravity and inertia in local general relativity of 1915 where it is relegated to a purely local tangent space by the equivalence principle. In the same way micro-quantum mechanics is not complete, but merely corresponds to nonlocally entangled small fluctuations about the stiff macro-quantum vacuum ODLRO coherent order parameter that provides the local fabric of space-time via

B = (hG/c^3)^1/2d(argVacuum ODLRO).

Lenny: "Hawking further argued that once the loss of quantum coherence is permitted in black hole evaporation, it becomes compulsory in all processes involving the Planck scale. The world would behave as if it were in a noisy environment which continuously leads to a loss of coherence. The trouble with this is that there is no known way to destroy coherence without at the same time violating energy conservation by heating the world."

Jack: I need to see the math of the above argument. Why does not the expansion of the universe cool down this alleged heating effect? Also total energy is not necessarily conserved in curved space-time because of the breakdown of time translation symmetry. Presumably the book will explain this argument in more detail. Lenny wants to hold on to micro-quantum unitarity at all costs and I think this is the basic error in his thesis, but I could be wrong. The macro-quantum vacuum ODLRO order parameter does not obey a unitary time evolution. You cannot think of |psi|^2 as a Born quantum probability density like you can for micro-quantum wave functions.

Indeed the space integral of |psi(x)|^2 need not be a constant of the motion at all. For example, you have a pot of superfluid helium at almost T = 0 at t = 0 and then you slowly heat it. As you heat the superfluid it turns to normal fluid completely disappearing at the lambda point. In the case of vacuum ODLRO the "normal fluid" is the dark energy!

Comment 3
Lenny's Chapter 1 implicitly clearly shows why Hal Puthoff's PV alternative to the black hole is not a useful theory for metric engineering the fabric of space-time to reach the stars and other galaxies in a short time through wormholes held open by dark energy. Hal uses isotropic coordinates inside the event horizon where they are not appropriate. He says he can do that because his exponential metric does not have an event horizon. But in that case his solution does not obey Einstein's vacuum GR equation Ruv = 0. Therefore, PV theory conflicts with GR. Indeed, PV theory is not consistent with Diff(4) tensors and therefore, it violates the equivalence principle. In spite of that Hal Puthoff claims he is not offering a theory different from GR but only an "engineer's" way to do it. This, of course, is self-contradictory. Note that in George Chapline's "dark star" theory there is dark energy behind the event horizon, i.e. not Ruv = 0, but the same equation I use

Guv + /\zpfguv = 0

We do seem to need Gennady Shipov's torsion field beyond 1915 GR to allow

/\zpf^,v =/= 0 at the event horizon boundary because the Bianchi identities without torsion demand /\zpf^,v = 0.

Jack Sarfatti
Easy to understand - very simple, no-nonsense style.  Jul 6, 2005
The title of the book reminds me of the classic physics question: yes, this equation can be expanded for small values of the parameter. But before you whip out that expansion, first tell me what "small" means in this context?

I would venture to say that the title of the book is a misnomer on some level. This is a technical book, there's no question about that. If you are not a physicist, you will not understand a single page. When I say "technical", what I specifically mean is you should have:

* A course on general relativity. The first page dumps the Schwarzschild metric on you. You should be familiar with, say, the Faraday tensor (which any decent GR or even SR course should cover).

* A course on quantum field theory. The book very quickly goes into the massless free Klein-Gordon equation in a Schwarzschild background. You should know the basics of string theory. After all, that's what the book is partially about!

* A course on thermo/statistical mechanics. The book delves into black hole entropy. Be prepared to blow the dust off your partition functions.

In that sense, this book is not an introduction, and is CERTAINLY not for the layperson. Now that I've disparaged this book enough, I'll tell you why this is a phenomenal book that deserves a place on your bookshelf (again, for certain values of "you").

This book is a gentle introduction to the classical and quantum mechanical principles of blackholes. It was beautifully written. It may very well be one of my favorite books. When I say "beautiful", I don't mean beautiful like Wald's classic but impenetrable book on GR. Imagine David Griffiths or Matt Visser writing a book for mid-level grad students going into high energy physics. They go deeply into the different coordinates used for blackhole spacetimes and Penrose diagrams, but in a hand-holding way that emphasizes knowing-by-visualization rather than knowing-by-calculation. Yes, the calculations are all there, but the authors are not content with that. They go into the nitty-gritty type of understanding that seems to be absent in most books on this subject.

Which brings me to the next point: diagrams. This book may contain more diagrams than any other comprable book I've seen (except for the behemoth called "Gravitation", but with the case of the telephone book, half the diagrams are wasteful; do we REALLY need to see a picture of firecracker's world line or yet another picture of Newton?). The diagrams are numerous and effective. Kudos. I wish more authors paid as much attention to visualization.

The authors took a very difficult subject and wrote an extremely accessible and well written book on it. If you are a student of high energy physics, or simply want to see someone masterfully write on the subject, this book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Again, for certain values of "you".

I'm still in the process of reading this book, but one fault I can find is that I wish the index was a bit more extensive. However, that's small-fry compared to what makes this book great.

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