Topological censorship and higher genus black holes

G. J. Galloway, K. Schleich, D. M. Witt, E. Woolgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Motivated by recent interest in black holes whose asymptotic geometry approaches that of anti–de Sitter spacetime, we give a proof of topological censorship applicable to spacetimes with such asymptotic behavior. Employing a useful rephrasing of topological censorship as a property of homotopies of arbitrary loops, we then explore the consequences of topological censorship for the horizon topology of black holes. We find that the genera of horizons are controled by the genus of the space at infinity. Our results make it clear that there is no conflict between topological censorship and the nonspherical horizon topologies of locally anti–de Sitter black holes. More specifically, let D be the domain of outer communications of a boundary at infinity “scri.” We show that the principle of topological censorship (PTC), which is that every causal curve in D having end points on scri can be deformed to scri, holds under reasonable conditions for timelike scri, as it is known to do for a simply connected null scri. We then show that the PTC implies that the fundamental group of scri maps, via inclusion, onto the fundamental group of D: i.e., every loop in D is homotopic to a loop in scri. We use this to determine the integral homology of preferred spacelike hypersurfaces (Cauchy surfaces or analogues thereof) in the domain of outer communications of any four-dimensional spacetime obeying the PTC. From this, we establish that the sum of the genera of the cross sections in which such a hypersurface meets black hole horizons is bounded above by the genus of the cut of infinity defined by the hypersurface. Our results generalize familiar theorems valid for asymptotically flat spacetimes requiring simple connectivity of the domain of outer communications and spherical topology for stationary and evolving black holes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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