Large Grants
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Current Program

2017-18 Agency in the Physical World
Submit RFP by February 1, 2018
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

David Anthony Lowe
Brown University

Project Title

Holographic approaches to gravity and the arrow of time

Project Summary

A promising approach to string theory and quantum gravity has been developed over the past decade. Quantum gravity in spacetimes with a negative cosmological constant can be reformulated in terms of special quantum field theories without gravity, in a spacetime with one fewer dimension. This is an example of a holographic reformulation of quantum gravity. In principle, these lower dimensional quantum field theories provide complete formulations of string theory, which previously had only existed as a series expansion in small fluctations around special spacetime backgrounds. In practise, it has been challenging to decode the hologram to address questions in quantum gravity. This project will develop ways to embed realistic cosmologies within this framework, and use new tools to decode the hologram. The goal is to find new insights into the origin of the arrow of time and the quantum nature of spacetime geometry.

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