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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. Michael Reisenberger
Theiss Research

Project Title

Classical and Quantum Gravity Without Constraints

Project Summary

Gravity bends light. The proposal is to reformulate Einstein's theory of gravity, describing the gravitational field (almost) entirely in terms of its effect on light rays, and to begin to develop a corresponding quantum theory. Einstein's theory describes gravity when quantum phenomena can be neglected. To explore quantum gravity experiments are needed, and here plausible theories are invaluable. Generically quantum gravitational phenomena are far too small to be measured, but in a given theory there usually are some effects that, by a conspiracy of factors particular to that theory, are much larger than would be expected on general grounds, providing testable predictions.

After 80 years of searching we have only pieces of plausible theories, but in 1993 a radical new guiding principle was proposed: that the three dimensional world of our experience is a sort of holographic projection of an underlying two dimensional world. This principle was argued to be a consequence of quantum mechanics and the gravitational bending of light (and apparently it is realized in quantum models of certain universes different from ours). The proposed description of gravity is the ideal setting to evaluate these arguments, and to incorporate this holographic principle in a quantum theory of gravity.



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