Holographic Thermalization, Stability of Anti-de Sitter Space, and the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Paradox


For a real massless scalar field in general relativity with a negative cosmological constant, we uncover a large class of spherically symmetric initial conditions that are close to anti-de Sitter space (AdS) but whose numerical evolution does not result in black hole formation. According to the AdS/conformal field theory (CFT) dictionary, these bulk solutions are dual to states of a strongly interacting boundary CFT that fail to thermalize at late times. Furthermore, as these states are not stationary, they define dynamical CFT configurations that do not equilibrate. We develop a two-time-scale perturbative formalism that captures both direct and inverse cascades of energy and agrees with our fully nonlinear evolutions in the appropriate regime. We also show that this formalism admits a large class of quasiperiodic solutions. Finally, we demonstrate a striking parallel between the dynamics of AdS and the classic Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Tsingou problem.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 071601
Stephen R. Green
Stephen R. Green
Nottingham Research Fellow

I am a theoretical physicist studying gravitational waves, based at the University of Nottingham. My main interests are in black hole perturbation theory and applying probabilistic machine-learning methods to analyze LIGO data.