W. G. Unruh
William G. Unruh  

Unruh teaching "PHYS 407  Introduction to General Relativity" at University of British Columbia (December 2008)


Born 
William George Unruh 28 August 1945 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 
Nationality  Canadian 
Citizenship  Canadian 
Alma mater 
University of Manitoba (B.Sc.) Princeton University (M.A.)(Ph.D.) 
Known for  Unruh effect 
Awards 
Rutherford Memorial Medal (1982) Herzberg Medal (1983) Steacie Prize (1984) Steacie Fellowship (1984–1986) BC Science Council Gold Medal (1990) Royal Society Fellowship (2001) 
Scientific career  
Fields 
Theoretical physics General Relativity Quantum Mechanics 
Institutions  University of British Columbia 
Doctoral advisor  John Archibald Wheeler 
William George "Bill" Unruh (born August 28, 1945) is a Canadian physicist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver who described the hypothetical Unruh effect in 1976.
Contents
Early life and education
Unruh was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba in 1967, followed by an M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) from Princeton University, New Jersey, under the direction of John Archibald Wheeler.
Areas of research
Unruh has made seminal contributions to our understanding of gravity,^{[1]}^{[2]} black holes,^{[3]} cosmology, and quantum fields in curved spaces, including the discovery of what is now known as the Unruh effect. Unruh has contributed to the foundations of quantum mechanics in areas such as decoherence^{[4]} and the question of time in quantum mechanics. He has helped to clarify the meaning of nonlocality in a quantum context, in particular that quantum nonlocality does not follow from Bell's theorem and that ultimately quantum mechanics is a local theory.^{[5]} Unruh is also one of the main critics of the Afshar experiment.^{[6]}
Unruh is also interested in music and teaches the Physics of Music.
The Unruh effect
The Unruh effect, described by Unruh in 1976, is the prediction that an accelerating observer will observe blackbody radiation where an inertial observer would observe none.^{[3]} In other words, the accelerating observer will find himself or herself in a warm background, the temperature of which is proportional to the acceleration. The same quantum state of a field, which is taken to be the ground state for observers in inertial systems, is seen as a thermal state for the uniformly accelerated observer. The Unruh effect therefore means that the very notion of the quantum vacuum depends on the path of the observer through spacetime.
The Unruh effect can be expressed in a simple equation giving the equivalent energy kT of a uniformly accelerating particle (with a being the constant acceleration), as:
References
 ^ M. Choptuik & W. G. Unruh (1986). "An introduction to the MultiGrid Method for Numerical Relativists". General Relativity and Gravitation. 18 (8): 813–843. Bibcode:1986GReGr..18..813C. doi:10.1007/BF00770203.
 ^ W. G. Unruh & R. Wald (1989). "Time and the Interpretation of Canonical Quantum Gravity". Physical Review D. 40 (8): 2598–2614. Bibcode:1989PhRvD..40.2598U. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.40.2598.
 ^ ^{a} ^{b} W. G. Unruh (1976). "Notes on Black Hole Evaporation" (PDF). Physical Review D. 14 (4): 870–892. Bibcode:1976PhRvD..14..870U. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.14.870.
 ^ W. G. Unruh & W. H. Zurek (1989). "Reduction of a wave packet in quantum Brownian motion". Physical Review D. 40 (4): 1071–1094. Bibcode:1989PhRvD..40.1071U. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.40.1071.
 ^ W. G. Unruh (2005). "Is Quantum Mechanics NonLocal?". Lecture at Green College, UBC.
 ^ W. G. Unruh (2004). "Shahriar Afshar – Quantum Rebel?".
External links
 University of British Columbia Physics Dept. page
 Dr. Unruh's course webpage  PHYS 200 Introduction to Relativity and Quanta
 UBC Theoretical Physics Homepage  a web server ran by Unruh