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• # 1. W   ?

We want to understand heat ﬂow in extreme physical situations and over the widest range of
scales: from dissipation of the tremendous energies after the big bang, to the spectacular
explosions of supernovae which give birth to neutron stars and down to the microscopic
matter smashed at velocities near to the speed of light in particle accelerators.
Figure: The Crab nebula, the remnant of a supernova explosion with a neutron star in the centre (top). First images
taken with the Planck Satellite show tiny variations across the sky in the temperature when the universe was about
300,000 years old (right). “Star” of residual particles after a collision of heavy ions at RHIC (bottom).
• # 2. A - 

Temperature
Space
Time
Space
Figure: Time evolution showing inﬁnite (left) and ﬁnite (right) signal propagation speed.
Imagine we heat the mid-point of a metal bar. How long will it take to feel the heat propagated
if we were holding one of the ends? According to the heat equation we would feel it
instantaneously (if we were sensitive enough). How can this be? Suppose that instead of
heating the bar, we hit it. Waves will propagate towards the ends at the speed of sound. Sound
waves satisfy the wave equation and have a ﬁnite propagation speed. The heat equation is not
of this type and therefore heat signals propagate inﬁnitely fast.

#   ?

One of the most fundamental principles
in science, proposed by Einstein, states that
the speed of light is constant and has the same
value for every observer. Furthermore, no
physical object can travel faster than this speed.
What happens if something travels faster
than the speed of light? Suppose someone
sends you a message with the aid of a device
which can transmit signals faster than the
speed of light. One possibility is that you will
discover that the message was sent from your
future! So the device acts as a time-machine.
Figure: The apple is at the centre of a spacetime
bubble moving faster than the speed of light.
Answer: Relativity is one of our most fundamental theories of nature and it does not allow
signaling faster than the speed of light. Heat propagation is a serious problem in relativity.
• # 4. H    ?

Heat and temperature are two physical concepts which
require a bit of explanation. In the crudest sense, temperature
is the quantity we measure with a thermometer and heat is the
energy exchange between two bodies at diﬀerent temperatures.
Relativity tells us how to relate the measurements
that diﬀerent observers make of the same thing. Length
appears to contract or time seems to run slower for moving
observers. These eﬀects are important even for everyday
use technology such as GPS. So what about temperature? Does
a moving body appear cool? This question was formulated
by Prof. Peter Landsberg (left) after a series of contradictory
results for the transformation law of temperature.
Answer: To solve this issue and Prof. Landsberg’s question, we need to construct a theory of
heat from relativistic principles.

Credits:

• 1. Sections 1 and 7 are courtesy of NASA, ESA and RHIC.

• 2. Section 5 glass is property of Steve Strawn, splutphoto.com.

The author acknowledges ﬁnancial support from CONACYT, Mexico. ´

• # 5. O   

The picture below shows a frozen moment. With that information alone we can ask:
What will happen next?
Which properties change?
What does this glass have in common with the big bang, exploding stars and the particles
smashed inside a collider?
In every process in the universe, entropy never decreases!
What does this have to do with heat and relativity?
Heat is intimately linked to entropy.
Our most important law should also hold in relativity.
• # 6. O 

To reconcile heat and relativity we proceed as follows:
Consider matter as a ﬂuid in spacetime.
Introduce entropy as another ﬂuid.
Allow interaction between them.
Obtain the relativistic dynamics of the system.
Understand the role of diﬀerent observers.
Interpret the readings of their measurements.
Ensure that entropy never decreases.
What is the outcome?
A theory of relativistic heat
conduction which we can use to better understand
collapsing stars, the big bang and our metal bar.

#   ?

If we interpret entropy as a ﬂuid interacting with matter, ﬂuid instabilities may occur. When
two or more ﬂuids interact, small disturbances can grow to form interesting patterns such as
those observed in clouds, the Gulf Stream or the shapes in Jupiter’s bands. Our system is
susceptible to similar kind of instabilities. Of special interest is the one known as the
two-stream instability, which we have managed to generalize to a relativistic setting.
Figure: Bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere (top). Gulf Stream temperature (right). Two-stream instability in clouds
(bottom).
Answer: We use the two-stream instability analysis to assess stability and to verify that the
matter models one can propose propagate heat slower than the speed of light.
• # 8. W   ?

We knew that:
The resulting dynamical system forms our theory of relativistic
heat conduction.
And now we want to:

# Understand the disturbances in the temperature of the universe. Understand the transport mechanisms inside neutron stars. Compare our results with other theories. Match our work with microscopic physics. Answer Prof. Landsberg’s question.

References:

• 1. Section 4 ”Does a moving body appear cool?”, Landsberg, P. T., Nature (214), pages 903-904, 1967.

• 2. Section 6 ”Thermal dynamics on general relativity”, Lopez-Monsalvo, C. S. and Andersson, N., In preparation.

• 3. Section 7 ”The relativistic two-stream instability” Samuelsson,L., Lopez-Monsalvo, C.S., Andersson, N. and Comer, G., General Relativity and Gravitation (42), pages 413-433, 2010.