Proof of a universal lower bound on the shear viscosity to entropy density ratio

Ram Brustein, A. J.M. Medved

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


It has been conjectured, on the basis of the gauge-gravity duality, that the ratio of the shear viscosity to the entropy density should be universally bounded from below by 1/4Π in units of the Planck constant divided by the Boltzmann constant. Here, we prove the bound for any ghost-free extension of Einstein gravity and the field-theory dual thereof. Our proof is based on the fact that, for such an extension, any gravitational coupling can only increase from its Einstein value. Therefore, since the shear viscosity is a particular gravitational coupling, it is minimal for Einstein gravity. Meanwhile, we show that the entropy density can always be calibrated to its Einstein value. Our general principles are demonstrated for a pair of specific models, one with ghosts and one without.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-90
Number of pages4
JournalPhysics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • Black branes
  • Gauge/gravity duality
  • Generalized gravity
  • Hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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