Understanding quantum gravity is one of the most fundamental problems in high-energy theoretical physics. We attack this problem using two a priori disjoint approaches.

The first consists of looking at classical gravity supplemented with quantum fields (or strings). It turns out the black hole horizon contains additional edge degrees of freedom squeezed to the horizon. These are related to Strominger's asymptotic soft gravitons, which have been argued by Hawking, Perry and Strominger to contain an important clue to the entropy puzzle. My focus is on the relevance of edge state sectors for gauge theory, higher spins and strings.

The second approach starts from the recent interest in the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev 1d quantum mechanical models. The low-energy universal sector is described by a 2d gravity theory, the Jackiw-Teitelboim model. This lower-dimensional model has non-trivial boundary dynamics, described by the Schwarzian theory. The model strikes the perfect balance between solvability and physical relevance, and as such is a very interesting model to study further to obtain possible hints at the inner workings of quantum gravity.

My focus is on physical implications and the underlying structure of the model, aiming to expand the class of solvable models and learn universal lessons on quantum gravity.

Very recently, we realized these two approaches are interrelated: the Jackiw-Teitelboim model can be viewed as a special edge model. This symbiosis leads to new perspectives.