Chaos in celestial CFT

Sabrina Pasterski, Herman Verlinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Celestial holography proposes a duality between gravitational scattering in asymptotically flat space-time and a conformal field theory living on the celestial sphere. Its dictionary relates the infinite dimensional space-time symmetry group to Ward identities of the CFT. The spontaneous breaking of these asymptotic symmetries governs the dynamics of the soft sector in the CFT. Here we show that this sector encodes non-trivial backreaction effects that exhibit characteristics of maximal quantum chaos. A key element in the derivation is the identification of the Hilbert space of celestial CFT, defined through radial quantization, with that of a constantly accelerating Rindler observer. From the point of view of the bulk, Rindler particles exhibit Lyapunov behavior due to shockwave interactions that shift the observer horizon. From the point of view of the boundary, the superrotation Goldstone modes affect the relevant representations of the celestial Virasoro symmetry in a manner that induces Lyapunov behavior of out-of-time-ordered celestial correlators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Models of Quantum Gravity
  • Scattering Amplitudes
  • Space-Time Symmetries


Dive into the research topics of 'Chaos in celestial CFT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this