|Mar 09, 2017
Black holes are perhaps the most celebrated predictions of general relativity. Miraculously, these complicated spacetimes arise as explicit (i.e., exact expression can be written down!) solutions to the vacuum Einstein equation. Looking these explicit black hole solutions leads to an intriguing observation: While the black hole exterior look qualitatively similar for every realistic black hole, the structure of the interior, in particular the nature of the `singularity' inside the black hole, changes drastically depending on whether the black hole is spinning (Kerr) or not (Schwarzschild).
A proposed picture for what happens in general is the so-called strong cosmic censorship conjecture of R. Penrose, which is a central conjecture in general relativity. In this colloquium, I will give a short introduction to general relativity and explain what this conjecture is. Then I will describe my recent joint work with J. Luk (Stanford Univ.), where we rigorously establish a version of strong cosmic censorship for the Einstein-Maxwell-(real)-scalar-field system in spherical symmetry, which has long been studied by physicists and mathematicians as a model problem for the conjecture.