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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. Xiao-Gang Wen
MIT

Project Title

Microscopic Origin of Gravity & Light

Project Summary

Light and gravity are first two natural phenomena appreciated by human even before human civilization. In modern science, we find light and gravity to have rich and mysterious internal structures. It is a dream for physicists to have a unified understanding of light and gravity. We like to understand the origin of their wonderful internal structures. Recently, it was shown that if particles organize into network of strings and the strings, in turn, form a quantum liquid (called string-net condensed state), then light can emerge naturally as collective motions of such organized particles. In this proposal, we plan to find a new organization of particles, such that collective motions of newly organized particles correspond to gravitational waves. If successful, the particle system that we find will correspond to a quantum theory of gravity. It will solve the long-standing problem of putting gravity and quantum mechanics together. The particle system, in principle, can be realized in magnetic materials and/or ultra-cold atomic systems. Thus the effects of quantum gravity as represented by the organized particles can be explored in those condensed matter systems.

The newly organized particles represent new states of matter. The defects (the excitations) in those states may correspond to black holes and charges of the emergent gravity and the emergent electricity.



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