Monday, November 28, 2005

My first journal club

The enthusiastic group of postdocs here at King's have organised a journal club for all of us students and interested faculty. I've not been involved in one before and so it will be interesting to see whether or not we make progress as a group or not. Our topic to guide our reading is gravitational thermodynamics and hopefully we will look at attractors as well as more recent alpha' corrections to the entropy formula. But to start off today we began with a background review. Here was our suggested reading list (totalling 315 pages)
  • Black hole thermodynamics by Simon F. Ross
  • TASI lectures on black holes in string theory by Amanda W. Peet
  • The Thermodynamics of Black Holes by Robert M. Wald
  • Black Holes by Paul K. Townsend
    An abundance of middle initials, which bodes well. We really went over some definitions, such as surface gravity for the Schwarzschild black-hole, null hypersurfaces, temperature, Hawking radiation (which we hope to look at more closely next week), event horizon area increase (and we drew the analogy with entropy, but no more than that) and the formula at the heart of black hole thermodynamics:
    So we didn't get too far into our review in an hour, and already there was some disagreement in our club between those who want to push on towards the string theory point of view and the recent papers and those who want to get the fundamental concepts under control before moving on. I foresee a rocky ride ahead, but it will be a fun endeavour. So, for now, our journal club rides on...