Emma Jakobsson (Stockholm University, Department of Physics)

Abstract :

In theory, the existence of black holes is predicted by general relativity. In reality, there is a general consensus that they
exist in space; in particular at the center of many galaxies. The theory of black holes has been around for decades, but
there are still interesting questions calling for attention. This doctoral thesis and its four contributions touches upon some
of these questions.
One challenging theoretical aspect of black holes lies in their definition, the event horizon. For several reasons, this
definition is not satisfactory in many contexts, and alternative horizons based on the concept of trapped surfaces have been
suggested to take its place. The question raised in Paper I has to do with the location of such surfaces in a simple model
of gravitational collapse, the Oppenheimer-Snyder model.
A different scenario of gravitational collapse, that of a null shell of dust collapsing in flat spacetime, is the starting point of
the original formulation of the Penrose inequality. By a reformulation, this inequality can be turned into a purely geometric
relation in Minkowski space. In Paper IV we formulate and prove a (2+1)-dimensional version in anti-de Sitter space.
The Penrose inequality sometimes goes under the name of the "isoperimetric inequality for black holes". In Paper III
a different kind of isoperimetric inequality is discussed (with less rigour), namely that of the volume contained in a black
hole with a given area.
In Paper II, the subject of limits of spacetimes is visualized. Again, (2+1)-dimensional anti-de Sitter space finds its use,
as a one parameter family of surfaces, capturing the geometry of charged black hole spacetimes, is embedded in it. Thus
different limiting procedures are illustrated.
Finally, interesting models can be constructed by cutting and gluing in spacetimes, but in doing so one needs to take care,
in order to obtain a physically realistic model. With this background as motivation, a study of Lorentzian cones is given.
Taken together, all of these contributions make up a collection of interesting aspects of black hole geometry, or, shapes
of spacetimes.