An action for black hole membranes

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152 Scopus citations


The membrane paradigm is the remarkable view that, to an external observer, a black hole appears to behave exactly like a dynamical fluid membrane, obeying such pre-relativistic equations as Ohm’s law and the Navier-Stokes equation. It has traditionally been derived by manipulating the equations of motion. Here we provide an action formulation of this picture, clarifying what underlies the paradigm and simplifying the derivations. Within this framework, we derive previous membrane results, and extend them to dyonic black hole solutions. We discuss how it is that an action can produce dissipative equations. Using a Euclidean path integral, we show that familiar semi-classical thermodynamic properties of black holes also emerge from the membrane action. Finally, in a Hamiltonian description, we establish the validity of a minimum entropy production principle for black holes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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