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Relaxation in Conformal Field Theory and Black Hole Quasinormal Modes

Mathematical Physics & Probability

Speaker: Danny Birmingham, Dublin
Location: 693 Kerr
Start time: Tue, Oct 21 2003, 3:10PM

We study the process of relaxation back to thermal equilibrium in (1+1)-dimensional conformal field theory at finite temperature. When the size of the system is much larger than the inverse temperature, perturbations decay exponentially with time. On the other hand, when the inverse temperature is large, the relaxation is oscillatory with characteristic period set by the size of the system. We analyse the intermediate regime in a strongly coupled conformal field theory which is dual to string theory on (2+1)-dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime. We establish a direct connection between quasinormal and normal modes of the gravity system, and the decaying and oscillating beahviour of the conformal field theory.