Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Dr. Antony Valentini
Imperial College London


Jonathan Halliwell, Imperial College London

Project Title

Hidden Variables in the Early Universe

Project Summary

The project will study the early universe from the viewpoint of "hidden-variables theories." These are theories in which the apparently random outcomes of quantum experiments are actually determined in advance, by hidden parameters that are presently outside our control. A particular theory due to de Broglie and Bohm is used as a model. A key idea is "quantum nonequilibrium," a state in which the values of the hidden entities have an anomalous distribution, so that the statistics predicted by quantum theory are violated (resulting in superluminal signals and violations of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle). In inflationary cosmology, nonequilibrium statistics in the early universe will leave signatures in the "cosmic microwave background" - the radiation left over from the big bang, coming from all over the sky. The project attempts to predict and find such signatures, by analysing the effects of quantum nonequilibrium during the earliest moments of the big bang.

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