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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Olaf Dreyer
MIT

Project Title

Quantum Space

Project Summary

In the beginning of the last century two revolutions completely changed fundamental physics. One was quantum mechanics the other was general relativity. Both of these revolutions can be considered unfinished. Quantum mechanics is beset by the measurement problem that requires us to draw an artificial line between the classical and the quantum world. General relativity so far has resisted all attempts at formulating it in a way that is consistent with quantum mechanics. This project addresses both these problems. It first unites the classical and the quantum world by identifying the classical world as that part of the quantum world consisting of large systems. These large systems have properties like position and momentum that are not shared by its small constituents. Since our everyday experience is built on these properties the quantum world looked so strange when we discovered it. If properties like position are not fundamental we have to rethink general relativity as well. Our smooth notions of space-time are unlikely to be fundamental. We have to rebuild these notions from the emergent degrees of freedom. As part of this construction we understand the Einstein equations in a new way.



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