4pm - 5pm

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Hints of gravitational ergodicity

Recent developments on black holes have shown that a unitarity-compatible Page curve can be obtained from an ensemble-averaged semi-classical approximation. In this talk, we emphasize (1) that this peculiar manifestation of unitarity is not specific to black holes, and (2) that it can emerge from a single realization of an underlying unitary theory. To make things explicit, we consider a hard sphere gas leaking slowly from a small box into a bigger box. We reproduce the unitarity-compatible Page curve of this system, semi-classically. Berry's ensemble in which the eigenstates live, plays a crucial role. The computation has structural parallels to replica wormholes, relies crucially on ensemble averaging at each epoch, and reveals the interplay between the multiple time-scales in the problem. Working with the ensemble averaged state rather than the entanglement entropy, we can also engineer an information "paradox". Our system provides a concrete example in which the ensemble underlying the semi-classical Page curve is an ergodic proxy for a time average, and not an explicit average over many theories. The questions we address here are logically independent of the existence of horizons, so we expect that semi-classical gravity should also be viewed in a similar light.

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