Black hole versus cosmological horizon entropy

Tamara M. Davis, P. C. W. Davies, Charles H. Lineweaver

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    49 Citations (Scopus)


    The generalized second law of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases when all event horizons are attributed with an entropy proportional to their area. We test the generalized second law by investigating the change in entropy when dust, radiation and black holes cross a cosmological event horizon. We generalize for flat, open and closed Friedmann–Robertson–Walker universes by using numerical calculations to determine the cosmological horizon evolution. In most cases, the loss of entropy from within the cosmological horizon is more than balanced by an increase in cosmological event horizon entropy, maintaining the validity of the generalized second law of thermodynamics. However, an intriguing set of open universe models shows an apparent entropy decrease when black holes disappear over the cosmological event horizon. We anticipate that this apparent violation of the generalized second law will disappear when solutions are available for black holes embedded in arbitrary backgrounds.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2753-2764
    Number of pages12
    JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • quantum aspects of black holes
    • mathematical and relativistic aspects of cosmology
    • numerical differentiation and integration
    • fundamental problems and general formalism


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