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OnderzoekVan Swinderen InstituteVan Swinderen Institute

Physics of Gravity

The Research Line addresses the question of the fundamental nature of gravity: what does curved space-time look like on short distances, comparable to the Planck length?

The unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a consistent mathematical framework, a theory of quantum gravity, remains one of the ultimate goals of theoretical physics. The reason for its importance is that there are phenomena in our universe, which can only be understood if we learn what is the true nature of gravity, and hence space-time, at the quantum level. Such phenomena include the Big Bang, the puzzles of dark matter and dark energy and the physics of black holes.

Various results from string theory, and in particular the holographic correspondence (AdS/CFT duality), suggest that space-time and gravity may be emergent phenomena which originate from the collective dynamics of underlying quantum degrees of freedom. This perspective has received significant new support from recent developments which have uncovered fascinating connections between the emergence of spacetime and concepts from the field quantum information, in particular quantum entanglement.

One of our research directions at VSI is to explore the emergent nature of spacetime and to understand the role of quantum information for the dynamics of graviy. This novel perspective may have important implications for our understanding of the universe at the fundamental level and may lead to novel approaches to long-standing problems in cosmology and the physics of black holes, such as Hawking's black hole information paradox.

The same research line aims to develop (non-relativistic) gravity as a new tool that can be applied to uncover some of the non-perturbative properties of quantum field theories, with an eye towards applications to condensed matter models such as Skyrmions and the (fractional) quantum Hall effect.

Last modified:28 August 2017 2.40 p.m.