I am looking for introductory references for the Black Hole Information Paradox and trying to compile a sequential list through which someone familiar with the basics of QFT and GR can go to understand the above-mentioned from ground-zero.

The requirements that must be satisfied are that the list should contain notes/papers + lectures and that they should build things from absolute basics to go up to the most recent advances in the field (maybe with some references for the quantum extremal islands program). Of course, there are a lot of papers, especially in the most recent advance regime, but I am only looking for the ones which are simple and easy to understand for self-study + they get one acquainted for research on their own into the field.

Some of the references that I have are in order -

0a. Warm-up 1: Sabine Hossenfelder's video - 10 things you should know about black holes

0b. Warm-up: Sabine Hossenfelder's video - How do black holes destroy information and why is that a problem?

0c. Warm-up: Sabine Hossenfelder's video - Solutions to the black hole information paradox

Now, the actual stuff:-

  1. Introduction to Information Theory - Edward Witten @ PiTP 2018 - To get a feel for what information theory involves and what kind of different entropies there etc. ( I feel various other videos from PiTP 2018 can be useful here, inputs are very welcome).

  2. arXiv:0803.2030 - Samir Mathur's introduction to the paradox

  3. Tom Hartman @ HMI 2020

4a. A Tutorial on Entanglement Island Computations - Raghu Mahajan @ IAS

4b. A longer version of the same - Raghu Mahajan @ ICTS

Please suggest modifications and improvements on this. I am just getting started on this topic myself and don't really have any idea which might be a good resource.

Edit 1 :

I have gone through the first two lectures by Hartman at HMI but they are not a good match for me. Things are not clear to me as a beginner.

  • $\begingroup$ Don't you have enough already? A nice and readable book is "The Black Hole War(s?)" This sounds like a SF-novel, but actually it's sound science, though I don't agree because the assertions made are based on string theory. And hey, doesn't sound the ADS/CFT correspondence sounds somewhat SF-like too? Anyhow, Ill recommend it for you to read. I's about the bet between Hawking and Süsskind who was right. Hawking said that the information would always be retractable contrary to Süsskind (the author of the book) who proposed the ADS/CFT correspondence. The battle goes on...I'm not on Süs's side!! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2020 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


I am researching about the same topic and some resources I am using are:

-Les Houches Lectures on Black Holes by Andrew Ströminger: although maybe outdated, it gives a good introduction to how to understand Penrose diagrams along with some examples.

-Lectures on Quantum Gravity and Black Holes by Thomas Hartman: they cover a wide range of math and physics introducing the most important tools to get started (I haven't read these yet).

-Holographic Entanglement Entropy by Mukund Rangamani and Tadashi Takayanagi: a bit more specialised towards holographic entanglement entropy, not only BH per se. They start with an introduction to entropy and the replica trick in QFT. Then they discuss the RT/HRT proposal (main formula for computing entropy in holographic theories) and give some examples. The rest of the book is more specialised, but gives some nice advancements in the field.

I hope this will help you! I'll be keeping an eye out on this post since I'm also searching for some good resources.

  • $\begingroup$ It does help. Hartman's lectures look particularly nice. For Penrose Diagrams I can recommend Lecture 17 of Sunil Mukhil's GR course where they have been introduced from ground-up. I will wait for a while before accepting this as an answer in case there is a better one (hope you don't mind). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ I also added the link for Rangmani, Takayanagi paper. Could you please see if it's the one you meant to refer? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I actually mainly referred to the book: springer.com/gp/book/9783319525716 But it actually seems that paper covers the most important concepts. $\endgroup$
    – Guliano
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ This presentation may also be a good introduction: youtube.com/… $\endgroup$
    – Guliano
    Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ The lecture notes by Suvrat Raju also look very nice. I will update here once I have gone through them (and if I can remember to update). Currently going through HMI Lectures by Hartman. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 7:29

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