Rigidity of marginally trapped surfaces and the topology of black holes

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43 Scopus citations


In a recent paper the author and Rick Schoen obtained a generalization to higher dimensions of a classical result of Hawking concerning the topology of black holes. It was proved that, apart from certain exceptional circumstances, cross sections of the event horizon, in the stationary case, and "weakly outermost" marginally outer trapped surfaces, in the general case, in black hole spacetimes obeying the dominant energy condition, are of positive Yamabe type. This implies many well-known restrictions on the topology, and is consistent with recent examples of five-dimensional stationary black hole spacetimes with horizon topology S2 × S1. In the present paper, we rule out for "outermost" marginally outer trapped surfaces, in particular, for cross sections of the event horizon in stationary black hole spacetimes, the possibility of any such exceptional circumstances (which might have permitted, e.g., toroidal cross sections). This follows from the main result, which is a rigidity result for marginally outer trapped surfaces that are not of positive Yamabe type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications in Analysis and Geometry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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