Mapping SYK to the sky

Sabrina Pasterski, Herman Verlinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The infrared behavior of gravity in 4D asymptotically flat spacetime exhibits a rich set of symmetries. This has led to a proposed holographic duality between the gravitational S-matrix and a dual field theory living on the celestial sphere. Most of our current understanding of the dictionary relies on knowledge of the 4D bulk. As such, identifying intrinsic 2D models that capture the correct symmetries and soft dynamics of 4D gravity is an active area of interest. Here we propose that a 2D generalization of SYK provides an instructive toy model for the soft limit of the gravitational sector in 4D asymptotically flat spacetime. We find that the symmetries and soft dynamics of the 2D SYK model capture the salient features of the celestial theory: exhibiting chaotic dynamics, conformal invariance, and a w1+∞ symmetry. The holographic map from 2D SYK operators to the 4D bulk employs the Penrose twistor transform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Conformal and W Symmetry
  • Effective Field Theories
  • Scattering Amplitudes


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