115 | Netta Engelhardt on Black Hole Information, Wormholes, and Quantum Gravity


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Stephen Hawking made a number of memorable contributions to physics, but perhaps his greatest was a puzzle: what happens to information that falls into a black hole? The question sits squarely at the overlap of quantum mechanics and gravitation, an area in which direct experimental input is hard to come by, so a great number of leading theoretical physicists have been thinking about it for decades. Now there is a possibility that physicists might have made some progress, by showing how subtle effects relate the radiation leaving a black hole to what’s going on inside. Netta Engelhardt is one of the contributors to these recent advances, and together we go through the black hole information puzzle, why wormholes might be important to the story, and what it all might teach us about quantum gravity.

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Netta Engelhardt received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently on the faculty in the physics department at MIT. She recently shared the New Horizons in Physics Prize with Ahmed Almheiri, Henry Maxfield, and Geoff Penington, “for calculating the quantum information content of a black hole and its radiation.”

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