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Black holes, entropies, and semiclassical spacetime in quantum gravity


We present a coherent picture of the quantum mechanics of black holes. The picture does not require the introduction of any drastically new physical effect beyond what is already known; it arises mostly from synthesizing and (re)interpreting existing results in appropriate manners. We identify the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy as the entropy associated with coarse-graining performed to obtain semiclassical field theory from a fundamental microscopic theory of quantum gravity. This clarifies the issues around the unitary evolution, the existence of the interior spacetime, and the thermodynamic nature in black hole physics — any result in semiclassical field theory is a statement about the maximally mixed ensemble of microscopic quantum states consistent with the specified background, within the precision allowed by quantum mechanics. We present a detailed analysis of information transfer in Hawking emission and black hole mining processes, clarifying what aspects of the underlying dynamics are (not) visible in semiclassical field theory. We also discuss relations between the black hole entropy and the entanglement entropy across the horizon. We then extend our discussions to more general contexts in quantum gravity. The subjects include extensions to de Sitter and Minkowski spaces and implications for complementarity and cosmology, especially the eternally inflating multiverse.

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