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Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime and Black Hole Thermodynamics

In this book, Robert Wald provides a coherent, pedagogical introduction to the formulation of quantum field theory in curved spacetime. He begins with a treatment of the ordinary one-dimensional quantum harmonic oscillator, progresses through the construction of quantum field theory in flat spacetime to possible constructions of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, and, ultimately, to an algebraic formulation of the theory. In his presentation, Wald disentangles essential features of the theory from inessential ones (such as a particle interpretation) and clarifies relationships between various approaches to the formulation of the theory. He also provides a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the Unruh effect, the Hawking effect, and some of its ramifications. In particular, the subject of black hole thermodynamics, which remains an active area of research, is treated in depth.

This book will be accessible to students and researchers who have had introductory courses in general relativity and quantum field theory, and will be of interest to scientists in general relativity and related fields.

220 pages | 7 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Chicago Lectures in Physics

Physical Sciences: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics and Astronomy, Theoretical Physics

Table of Contents

Notation, Conventions, and Terminology
1: Introduction and Overview
2: Quantum Mechanical Preliminaries
3: Quantum Fields in Flat Spacetime
4: Quantum Fields in Curved Spacetime
5: The Unruh Effect
6: Classical Black Hole Thermodynamics
7: The Hawking Effect
Appendix: Some Basic Definitions and Constructions Pertaining to Hilbert
Notation Index
General Index

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