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Gravitational collapse and far from equilibrium dynamics in holographic CFTs

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A remarkable result from heavy ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is that shortly after a collision, the medium produced behaves as a nearly ideal liquid. The system is very dynamic and evolves from a state of two colliding nuclei to a liquid in a time roughly equivalent to the time it takes light to cross a proton. Understanding the mechanisms behind the rapid approach to a liquid state is a challenging task. In recent years holography has emerged as a powerful tool to study non-equilibrium phenomena, mapping the (challenging) dynamics of quantum systems onto the dynamics of classical gravitational systems. The creation of a liquid in a quantum theory maps onto the classical process of gravitational collapse and black hole formation. I will describe how one can use holography to study processes which mimic the dynamics of heavy ion collisions.