Quantising gravity in 2+1 dimensions with anti-deSitter boundary conditions is a relatively tractable problem on which much progress has been made. I will describe some of the key developments including the discovery of black hole solutions, the role of boundary degrees of freedom and the duality to conformal field theory. I will then focus on the partition function of AdS3 gravity and what it teaches us about the AdS/CFT correspondence. The talk will involve aspects of general relativity as well as number theory, but will be phrased in relatively non-technical language that should be accessible to a fairly broad physics audience.
Prof. Sunil Mukhi obtained a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Stony Brook University in 1981. His field of specialisation is theoretical particle physics. His research has explored mathematical aspects of Supersymmetry, Conformal Field Theory, Superstring and M-Theory, Non-commutative Field Theory and Quantum Gravity. After working at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai for 27 years, he moved to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune in 2012 to engage in pedagogy at a larger scale. He has taken year-long sabbaticals at CERN (Geneva) and the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and has been a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy and The World Academy of Sciences, and received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Physical Sciences in 1999. He has been an Editor of the Journal of High Energy Physics, the leading journal in the field, since its inception in 1997. He has a keen interest in academic ethics and chairs the Panel on Scientific Values of the Indian Academy of Sciences.