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Charged eigenstate thermalization, Euclidean wormholes and global symmetries in quantum gravity

Alexandre Belin, Jan de Boer, Pranjal Nayak, Julian Sonner

SciPost Phys. 12, 059 (2022) · published 11 February 2022


We generalize the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis to systems with global symmetries. We present two versions, one with microscopic charge conservation and one with exponentially suppressed violations. They agree for correlation functions of simple operators, but differ in the variance of charged one-point functions at finite temperature. We then apply these ideas to holography and to gravitational low-energy effective theories with a global symmetry. We show that Euclidean wormholes predict a non-zero variance for charged one-point functions, which is incompatible with microscopic charge conservation. This implies that global symmetries in quantum gravity must either be gauged or explicitly broken by non-perturbative effects.

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