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

Joanna Karczmarek
University of British Columbia

Project Title

The nature of time, emergent spacetimes and nonabelian physics

Project Summary

Recent advances in theoretical physics contain many hints that space is not fundamental. When viewed from up close, space might be built up from objects which are more fundamental than the three spacial dimensions we observe in our every day experience. The behavior of these building blocks must be consistent with quantum mechanics and with Einstein's theory of gravity. I am exploring the possibility that the way in which these building blocks behave influences the very nature of time. Their dynamics might endow time with a directionality - the so-called arrow of time - which causes time to only flow forward and never backward. Or perhaps the building blocks of space could behave in a way that would cause time to end suddenly. Finally, if space is not fundamental, then perhaps neither is time; learning more about the building blocks of space might lead us to discover the building blocks of time itself, changing our perception of what time actually is.

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