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Complex Quantum Tunneling, Picard-Lefschetz Theory, and the Decay of Black Holes

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Quantum effects render black holes unstable. In addition to Hawking radiation, which leads to the prediction of a long lifetime, there is the possibility of quantum tunneling of the black hole geometry itself. A robust possibility for treating the quantum tunneling of a spacetime geometry is through a complex path integral and Picard-Lefschetz theory. I will illustrate the semiclassical approximation of complex path integrals using these techniques with an analytically solvable 1D quantum potential—the inverse square barrier—and describe the setup of the calculation for spherically symmetric black holes. While the black hole calculation is incomplete, I will be able to describe a surprising extension of this setup to the more astrophysical rotating Kerr black hole.