After a minute spent with a different colloquium at the following week (whose title was in Latin), Andy Strominger quickly jumps to his main point.
In the early 21st century, black holes seem to play the same universal exploratory role in physics that the quantum harmonic oscillator used to play almost 100 years earlier. The reason of their universal importance is that they’re the simplest and the most complex objects in the Universe at the same moment.
It sounds almost like poetry but it’s actually true although one needs to appreciate many aspects of black holes that general relativity, its semiclassical quantization, and later string theory discovered to appreciate the depth of the summary above.
— Black holes: harmonic oscillators of the 21st century
— Lubos Motl
2012.05.08 Tuesday ACHK