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Effective field theories of thermalizing systems
Luca Delacretaz, University of Chicago
Hydrodynamics – broadly understood as the late-time dynamics of conserved densities – is distinguished by its sparing assumption: thermalization. Its applications are therefore widespread, ranging from spin chains to galaxies. I will argue that hydrodynamics should be viewed as an effective field theory, similar to chiral perturbation theory in particle physics. This perspective allows for precision tests of thermalization in many-body systems, and leads to a surprising prediction of a "diffusion cascade". Focusing on quantum systems, I will then discuss a proposed bound on the cutoff of this effective field theory, and discuss the interplay of hydrodynamics with quantum chaos and random matrix theory.