Netta Engelhardt

2019 Regional Award Winner — Post-Doc

Netta Engelhardt

Current Position:
Assistant Professor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (formerly, Princeton University)

Theoretical Physics

Recognized for: Seminal contributions to the theoretical understanding of classical and quantum gravitational physics. This interdisciplinary field, which connects the general theory of relativity with modern quantum information theory, creates an important geometric link between the quantum world and the properties of black holes.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Theoretical Physics, Classical & Quantum Gravity, Relativity, Quantum Information Theory, Black Holes


2019 Blavatnik Regional Awards Honorees in Physical Sciences & Engineering

Previous Positions:

PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara
MA, University of California, Santa Barbara
BSc, Brandeis University

Research Summary:

Dr. Engelhardt is a theoretical physicist focused on answering some of the most fundamental questions concerning our universe. What are the essential building blocks of the universe? How do these building blocks give rise to Einstein’s general theory of relativity? Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which explains the gravitational behavior of massive structures such as galaxies, has explained and correctly predicted many of the properties of our observable universe. Nonetheless, Einstein’s theory is incompatible with the highly successful theory of phenomena on small scales: the quantum world. This means that gravitational physics in the quantum world must have a mysterious description that resolves this incompatibility: the elusive theory of quantum gravity. This theory must, at very large scales, look exactly like Einstein’s theory, and yet at very small scales, look entirely different. Dr. Engelhardt is developing unique and expansive approaches towards understanding the emergence of Einstein’s theory at large scales from quantum theories at the small scale. She has given a remarkably precise formulation describing the second law of thermodynamics and entropy of dynamical black holes, opening new avenues for understanding how quantum gravity gives rise to thermodynamics. Her work connecting Einstein’s theory to aspects of quantum information is advancing our understanding of the universe and answering complex and challenging questions about the basic tenets and mechanisms that make up our universe.

"It is an honor to be selected as a Blavatnik Awards honoree. I am very moved by the generosity of the Blavatnik foundation in establishing these awards, and I am grateful that fundamental science conducted by early career scientists is being recognized and acknowledged."

Key Publications:

  1. N. Engelhardt and A.Wall. Decoding the Apparent Horizon: A Coarse-Grained Holographic Entropy. Physical Review Letters, 2018.

  2. N. Engelhardt and A. Wall. No Simple Dual to the Causal Holographic Information?Journal of High Energy Physics, 2017.

  3. N. Engelhardt. Exploring the Bulk in AdS/CFT: A Covariant Approach. Physical Review D, 2017.

  4. N. Engelhardt and G. T. Horowitz. Towards a Reconstruction of General Bulk Metrics. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 2017.