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Black hole experiments: Testing effective field theories in curved spacetimes

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In 1981 Bill Unruh showed that the equation of motion for sound waves in a
convergent fluid flows is given by a wave equation in an acoustic metric
geometry. More importantly it is possible to set up sonic horizons in
transsonic flows, and thus in principle to mimic experimentally the
black-hole evaporation process. Almost 30 years later we have set up an experiment at the University of British Columbia to find out if indeed it is possible to detect (traces of) black hole radiation. We will discuss the necessary theoretical milestones, such as the effective field theory description for water to explore the robustness of Hawking radiation,
and the avoidance of shock waves using surface waves rather then sound
waves. In theory we should be able to detect the classical component of the thermal emission of black holes in our system and answer the ultimate question: How much do we trust our effective quantum field theory in curved spacetimes?