Bounds on black hole entropy in unitary theories of gravity

Ram Brustein, A. J.M. Medved

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We consider unitary and weakly coupled theories of gravity that extend Einstein gravity and reduce to it asymptotically at large distances. Our discussion is restricted to such theories that, similarly to Einstein gravity, contain black holes as semiclassical states in a range of scales. We show that, at a given scale, the entropy of these black holes has to be larger than the number of elementary light species in the theory. Our bound follows from the observation that the black hole entropy has to be larger than the product of its mass and horizon radius (in units of Planck's constant divided by the speed of light) and the fact that, for any semiclassical black hole, this product has to be larger than the number of light species. For theories that obey our assumptions, the bound resolves the "species problem": the tension between the geometric, species-independent nature of black hole entropy and the proportionality of ordinary thermodynamic entropy to the number of species. We then show that, when black holes in Einstein's theory are compared to those in the extended theories at a fixed value of mass, the entropy of the Einstein black holes will always be minimal. Similar considerations are also applied to the entropy density of black branes in anti-de Sitter space.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2010


  • Black Holes
  • Classical Theories of Gravity
  • Models of Quantum Gravity


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