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Abstract:
We start by pointing out that certain Riemann surfaces appear rather naturally in the context of wave equations in the black hole background. For a given black hole there are two closely related surfaces. One is the Riemann surface of complexified ``tortoise'' coordinate. The other Riemann surface appears when the radial wave equation is interpreted as the Fuchsian differential equation. We study these surfaces in detail for the BTZ and Schwarzschild black holes in four and higher dimensions. Topologically, in all cases both surfaces are a sphere with a set of marked points; for BTZ and 4D Schwarzschild black holes there is 3 marked points. In certain limits the surfaces can be characterized very explicitly. We then show how properties of the wave equation (quasinormal modes) in such limits are encoded in the geometry of the corresponding surfaces. In particular, for the Schwarzschild black hole in the high damping limit we describe the Riemann surface in question and use this to derive the quasinormal mode frequencies with the log(3) as the real part. We then argue that the surfaces one finds this way signal an appearance of an effective string. We propose that a description of this effective string propagating in the black hole background can be given in terms of the Liouville theory living on the corresponding Riemann surface. We give such a stringy description for the Schwarzschild black hole in the limit of high damping and show that the quasinormal modes emerge naturally as the poles in 3point correlation function in the effective conformal theory.