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Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime

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Quantum field theory in curved spacetime (QFTCS) is the theory of quantum fields propagating in a classical curved spacetime, as described by general relativity. QFTCS has been applied to describe such important and interesting phenomena as particle creation by black holes and perturbations in the early universe associated with inflation. However, by the mid-1970\'s, it became clear from phenomena such as the Unruh effect that \'particles\' cannot be a fundamental notion in QFTCS. By the mid-1980\'s it was understood how to give a mathematically rigorous formulation of the theory of a free quantum field in curved spacetime. During the past decade, major progress has been made in providing a completely mathematically satisfactory formulation of renormalization in interacting QFTCS, thereby overcoming the difficulties caused by the absence of Poincare symmetry as well as the lack of a preferred vacuum state and a fundamental notion of \'particles\'. This talk will describe these developments and some of the insights that have thereby been attained.