David Kastor research summary

My research focuses on aspects of classical and quantum gravity in the context of string theory. String theory attempts to unify particle physics with general relativity at the quantum level. From a gravity point of view, string theory introduces many intriguing new elements – extra dimensions, supersymmetry, higher p-form gauge fields & p-branes, as well as the higher curvature interactions expected in any quantum theory of gravity. A great deal of effort has gone into understanding how these new features modify the strong gravitational fields of black holes.

One particular current interest of mine is examining whether the second law of black hole thermodynamics continues to hold in the presence of higher curvature corrections. In general relativity, the second law follows from Hawking’s celebrated area theorem, which says that the area of a black hole’s event horizon always increases in time. Proving, or disproving, an analogue of this theorem in higher curvature gravity will require generalizing Raychaudhuri’s classical theorem on the focusing of null geodesics.