Viscosity, black holes, and relativistic heavy ion collisions
Dam Thanh Son, Senior Fellow, Associate Professor, University of Washington
Viscosity is a very old concept which was introduced to physics by Navier in the 19th century. However, in strongly coupled systems viscosity is extremely difficult to compute ab initio. In this talk I will describe some recent surprising developments in string theory which allow one to compute, easily and conveniently, the viscosity in a class of strongly interacting relativistic quantum field theories. I will describe efforts to measure the viscosity and other physical properties of the quark gluon plasma created at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and mention possible connections to the string-theory calculations.