Lecturer: Robert Wald, (University of Chicago)
A black hole is a "region of no escape" produced by the complete gravitational collapse of a body. Beginning with the seminal work of Bekenstein in 1972, a remarkable relationship has emerged between the theory of black holes in general relativity and the laws of thermodynamics. Most remarkably, as shown by Hawking, as a result of quantum particle creation, black holes emit thermal radiation at a finite temperature. This thermal radiation causes a black hole to lose mass in such a way that a perfectly isolated black hole will completely "evaporate" in a finite time. This talk will review the theory of black holes and the relationship between black holes and thermodynamics, as well as discuss some further implications of these ideas.