Jinzhao Wang (ETH Zurich) “Outer entropy = Bartnik-Bray inner mass, and the gravitational ant conjecture”

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Entropy and energy are found to be closely tied on our quest for quantum gravity. We point out an interesting connection between the recently proposed outer entropy, a coarse-grained entropy defined for a compact spacetime domain motivated by the holographic duality, and the Bartnik-Bray quasilocal mass long known in the mathematics community. In both scenarios, one seeks an optimal spacetime fill-in of a given closed, connected, spacelike, codimension-two boundary. We show that for an outer-minimizing mean-convex surface, the Bartnik-Bray inner mass matches exactly with the irreducible mass corresponding to the outer entropy. The equivalence implies that the area laws derived from the outer entropy are mathematically equivalent as the monotonicity property of the quasilocal mass. It also gives rise to new bounds between entropy and the gravitational energy, which naturally gives the gravitational counterpart to Wall’s ant conjecture. We also observe that the equality can be achieved in a conformal flow of metrics, which is structurally similar to the Ceyhan-Faulkner proof of the ant conjecture. We compute the small sphere limit of the outer entropy and it is proportional to the bulk stress tensor as one would expect for a quasilocal mass.