Abstract:
We consider gravitational scattering of point particles with Planckian centre-of-mass energy and fixed low momentum transfers in the framework of general relativity and dilaton gravity. The geometry around the particles are modelled by arbitrary black hole metrics of general relativity to calculate the scattering amplitudes. However, for dilaton gravity, this modelling can be done {\it only} by extremal black hole metrics. This is consistent with the conjecture that extremal black holes are elementary particles.

Abstract:
We review some recent advances in black hole thermodynamics, including statistical mechanical origins of black hole entropy and its leading order corrections, from the viewpoints of various quantum gravity theories. We then examine the information loss problem and some possible approaches to its resolution. Finally, we study some proposed experiments which may be able to provide experimental signatures of black holes.

Abstract:
We show that the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy associated with any black hole undergoes logarithmic corrections when small thermodynamic fluctuations around equilibrium are taken into account. Thus, the corrected expression for black hole entropy is given by $S= A/4 - k \ln(A)$, where $A$ is the horizon area and $k$ is a constant which depends on the specific black hole. We apply our result to BTZ black hole, for which $k=3/2$, as found earlier, as well as to anti-de Sitter-Schwarzschild and Reissner-Nordstrom black hole in arbitrary spacetime dimensions. Finally, we examine the role of conformal field theory in black hole entropy and its corrections.

Abstract:
Using the quantum corrected Friedmann equation, obtained from the quantum Raychudhuri equation, and assuming a small mass of the graviton (but consistent with observations and theory), we propose a resolution of the smallness problem(why is observed vacuum energy so small?) and the coincidence problem(why does it constitute most of the universe, about 70%, in the current epoch?).

Abstract:
We discuss an approach to compute two-particle scattering amplitudes for spinless particles colliding at Planckian centre-of-mass energies, with increasing momentum transfer away from the eikonal limit. For electrically neutral particles, the amplitude exhibits poles on the imaginary squared cm energy axis at locations that are distinct from those appearing in the eikonal limit. For charged particles, electromagnetic and gravitational effects remain decoupled for the eikonal situation as also the leading order (in momentum transfer, or equivalently, the impact parameter) correction, but mix non-trivially for higher orders.

Abstract:
Approximating light charged point-like particles in terms of (nonextremal) dilatonic black holes is shown to lead to certain pathologies in Planckian scattering in the eikonal approximation, which are traced to the presence of a (naked) curvature singularity in the metric of these black holes. The existence of such pathologies is confirmed by analyzing the problem in an `external metric' formulation where an ultrarelativistic point particle scatters off a dilatonic black hole geometry at large impact parameters. The maladies disappear almost trivially upon imposing the extremal limit. Attempts to derive an effective three dimensional `boundary' field theory in the eikonal limit are stymied by four dimensional (bulk) terms proportional to the light-cone derivatives of the dilaton field, leading to nontrivial mixing of electromagnetic and gravitational effects, in contrast to the case of general relativity. An eikonal scattering amplitude, showing decoupling of these effects, is shown to be derivable by resummation of graviton, dilaton and photon exchange ladder diagrams in a linearized version of the theory, for an asymptotic value of the dilaton field which makes the string coupling constant non-perturbative.

Abstract:
The scattering of pointlike particles at very large center of mass energies and fixed low momentum transfers, occurring due to both their electromagnetic and gravitational interactions is re-examined in the particular case when one of the particles carries magnetic charge. At Planckian center-of-mass energies, when gravitational dominance is normally expected, the presence of magnetic charge is shown to produce dramatic modifications to the scattering cross section as well as to the holomorphic structure of the scattering amplitude.

Abstract:
We consider possible mixing of electromagnetic and gravitational shock waves, in the Planckian energy scattering of point particles in Minkowski space. By boosting a Reissner-Nordstr\"om black hole solution to the velocity of light, it is shown that no mixing of shock waves takes place for arbitrary finite charge carried by the black hole. However, a similar boosting procedure for a charged black hole solution in dilaton gravity yields some mixing : the wave function of even a neutral test particle, acquires a small additional phase factor depending on the dilatonic black hole charge. Possible implications for poles in the amplitudes for the dilaton gravity case are discussed.

Abstract:
The amplitude for the scattering of a point magnetic monopole and a point charge, at centre-of-mass energies much larger than the masses of the particles, and in the limit of low momentum transfer, is shown to be proportional to the (integer-valued) monopole strength, assuming the Dirac quantization condition for the monopole-charge system. It is demonstrated that, for small momentum transfer, charge-monopole electromagnetic effects remain comparable to those due to the gravitational interaction between the particles even at Planckian centre-of-mass energies.

Abstract:
Planckian scattering of particles with angular momenta is studied by describing them as sources of Kerr metric. In the shock wave formalism, it is found that the angular momenta do not contribute to the scattering amplitude in the eikonal limit. This is confirmed by using the wave equation of the test particle in the Kerr background.