Robert M. Wald

Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Dept. of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College

Ph.D., Princeton, 1972
 
Contact Information
Phone: (773) 702-7765
Location: Acc 217
Email: rmwamidway.uchicago.edu
WWW: Web Site
 
Research
My research has been concerned with a broad range of topics in classical general relativity, cosmology, and quantum phenomena related to gravity. A great deal of my research has focused on the theory of black holes---regions of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape---and the remarkable (mathematical and physical) analogy between the laws of black hole physics and the ordinary laws of thermodynamics. In particular, the fact that black holes radiate as perfect black bodies as a consequence of quantum particle creation effects has led to many deep insights into the nature of quantum gravity. My interests also span mathematical investigations of classical general relativity, and applications of general relativity to cosmology and astrophysics, such as gravitational lensing phenomena and gravitational radiation reaction effects.

In the past few years, my main research efforts have concerned the formulation of quantum field theory in the presence of gravity, i.e., quantum field theory in curved spacetime. In this approach, gravity is treated classically, but all other fields are treated in accord with the principles of quantum field theory. Some major issues of principle arise in the formulation of this theory on account of the lack of Poincare symmetry and the absence of a preferred vacuum state, but it has recently been shown that the theory can be formulated in a fully satisfactory manner. It is my hope that this will provide important clues to the formulation of a fully quantum theory of gravity itself.
 
KICP Highlights & News
 
Talks, Lectures, & Workshops
 
KICP Publications
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006


Latest Journal Publications
  1. "Cosmological memory effect", Physical Review D, Volume 94, Issue 4, id.044009 (Aug 2016)
  2. "Superradiant instabilities of asymptotically anti-de Sitter black holes", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 33, Issue 12, article id. 125022 (2016) (Jun 2016)
  3. "Black Hole Instabilities and Exponential Growth", Communications in Mathematical Physics, Volume 340, Issue 1, pp.253-290 (Nov 2015)
  4. "Comments on Backreaction", arXiv:1506.06452 (Jun 2015)
  5. "Reflection symmetry in higher dimensional black hole spacetimes", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 32, Issue 10, article id. 105005 (2015) (May 2015)
  6. "Quantum fields in curved spacetime", Physics Reports, Volume 574, p. 1-35 (Apr 2015)
  7. "How well is our Universe described by an FLRW model?", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 31, Issue 23, article id. 234003 (2014) (Dec 2014)
  8. "Dynamic and thermodynamic stability of relativistic, perfect fluid stars", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 31, Issue 3, article id. 035023 (2014) (Feb 2014)
  9. "Turning point instabilities for relativistic stars and black holes", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 31, Issue 3, article id. 035024 (2014) (Feb 2014)
  10. "Dynamic and Thermodynamic Stability of Black Holes and Black Branes", General Relativity, Cosmology and Astrophysics, Fundamental Theories of Physics, Volume 177. ISBN 978-3-319-06348-5. Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2014, p. 229 (n/a 2014)
  11. "Stability of Black Holes and Black Branes", Communications in Mathematical Physics, Volume 321, Issue 3, pp.629-680 (Aug 2013)
  12. "Examples of backreaction of small-scale inhomogeneities in cosmology", Physical Review D, vol. 87, Issue 12, id. 124037 (Jun 2013)
  13. "Measure and probability in cosmology", Physical Review D, vol. 86, Issue 2, id. 023521 (Jul 2012)
  14. "Newtonian and relativistic cosmologies", Physical Review D, vol. 85, Issue 6, id. 063512 (Mar 2012)
  15. "Some memories of Chandra", Fluid Flows to Black Holes: A Tribute to S Chandrasekhar on his Birth Centenary. Edited by Saikia D J et al. Published by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2011. ISBN #9789814374774, pp. 285-294 (Dec 2011)
  16. "A note on the coordinate freedom in describing the motion of particles in general relativity", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 28, Issue 17, id. 177001 (2011) (Sep 2011)
  17. "A rigorous derivation of gravitational self-force", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 28, Issue 15, id. 159501 (2011) (Aug 2011)
  18. "New framework for analyzing the effects of small scale inhomogeneities in cosmology", Physical Review D, vol. 83, Issue 8, id. 084020 (Apr 2011)
  19. "BOOK REVIEW: Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality", Classical and Quantum Gravity, Volume 28, Issue 22, id. 229001 (2011) (Apr 2011)
  20. "Derivation of Gravitational Self-Force", Mass and Motion in General Relativity, edited by L. Blanchet, A. Spallicci, and B. Whiting. Fundamental Theories of Physics, vol. 162. ISBN: 978-90-481-3014-6. Berlin: Springer, 2011., p.263-270 (n/a 2011)

Latest Conference Proceedings
  1. "Gravitational wave memory in an expanding universe", APS April Meeting 2016, abstract #C15.005 (Mar 2016)
  2. "Examination of a simple case of gravitational wave memory", APS April Meeting 2015, abstract #H13.009 (Apr 2015)
  3. "Growth rate for blackhole instabilities", APS April Meeting 2015, abstract #H13.004 (Apr 2015)
  4. "Reflection Symmetry in Higher Dimensional Black Hole Spacetimes", APS April Meeting 2015, abstract #H13.003 (Apr 2015)
  5. "Retarded Fields of Null Particles and the Memory Effect", APS April Meeting 2014, abstract #C16.005 (Mar 2014)
  6. "Turning Point Instabilities for Relativistic Stars and Black Holes", APS April Meeting 2014, abstract #C16.004 (Mar 2014)
  7. "Positive energy and stability of black holes", APS April Meeting 2014, abstract #C16.003 (Mar 2014)
  8. "Thermodynamic and Dynamic Stability of Asymptotically Anti-de Sitter Black Holes", APS April Meeting 2014, abstract #C16.002 (Mar 2014)
  9. "Dynamical and Thermodynamic Stability of Perfect Fluid Stars", American Physical Society, APS April Meeting 2013, April 13-16, 2013, abstract #R10.007 (Apr 2013)
  10. "Exact example of backreaction of small scale inhomogeneities in cosmology", American Physical Society, APS April Meeting 2013, April 13-16, 2013, abstract #R10.005 (Apr 2013)