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Holography beyond AdS/CFT


Physicists have long sought to fully understand how gravity can be fully formulated within a quantum mechanical framework. A promising avenue of research in this direction was born from the idea of holography - that gravitational physics can be recast as a different theory living in fewer dimensions. Evidence of this phenomena was first observed in the arena of black hole physics, where the entropy of a black hole was calculated to scale with its area, not its volume. The advent of the Anti-de Sitter/Conformal Field Theory (AdS/CFT) correspondence provided an explicit realization of holography for gravitational theories in AdS space. This brought a flurry of activity dedicated to dissecting this correspondence. Ultimately, however, it will be necessary to move beyond the confines of AdS/CFT in order to understand our universe, as we live in a de Sitter type universe. The research presented in this dissertation attempts to broaden the scope of holgraphic theories to include more phenomenologically relevant universes. To do so, we utilize a top-down approach and take results from AdS/CFT that appear to be general holographic results and see how they can be applied in spacetimes other than AdS. In particular, we take the Ryu-Takayanagi (RT) formula, along with its related results, and investigate what we can learn by applying it to general spacetimes. Doing so naturally forces us to utilize holographic screens, as these are the largest such surfaces where the RT formula can be self-consistently applied. This approach allows us to examine properties of the purported boundary theory for general spacetimes, including the entanglement structure and propagation speeds of excitations dual to bulk excitations. This is done in chapters 2 and 3. In chapters 4 and 5, we use this lens of generalized holography to elucidate the nature of the relationship between entanglement and emergent geometry. Finally, in chapter 6, we revisit one the important underlying assumption that the RT formula is general and demonstrate the validity of this assumption.

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