Black Holes and Thermodynamics

Preprint English OPEN
Wald, Robert M. (1997)
  • Subject: High Energy Physics - Theory
    arxiv: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology | Astrophysics::High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

We review the remarkable relationship between the laws of black hole mechanics and the ordinary laws of thermodynamics. It is emphasized that - in analogy with the laws of thermodynamics - the validity the laws of black hole mechanics does not appear to depend upon the details of the underlying dynamical theory (i.e., upon the particular field equations of general relativity). It also is emphasized that a number of unresolved issues arise in ``ordinary thermodynamics'' in the context of general relativity. Thus, a deeper understanding of the relationship between black holes and thermodynamics may provide us with an opportunity not only to gain a better understanding of the nature of black holes in quantum gravity, but also to better understand some aspects of the fundamental nature of thermodynamics itself.
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