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

Mark Van Raamsdonk
University of British Columbia

Project Title

Gravity and Information

Project Summary

Some of the grandest open questions in theoretical physics lie directly at the interface of quantum mechanics and gravity. How did our universe begin? How will it end? What is dark energy? What is inside a black hole? Fifteen years ago, researchers in string theory discovered a stunning connection between the physics of quantum gravity and the physics of quantum field theories, the well-understood mathematical models that physicists use to describe elementary particles and their interactions. Through this connection, known as the AdS/CFT correspondence, quantum gravity questions that were previously impossible to answer can be translated into much simpler questions that can be answered by quantum field theory. Recent work has suggested that a key to understanding how and why gravity emerges from the physics of these quantum field theories is to think about quantum field theory using methods from the emerging field of quantum information theory (the theory behind quantum computers). In my proposed research, I plan to use ideas from quantum information theory in the context of AdS/CFT to work towards a deeper understanding of spacetime, the nature of black holes, and the fundamental origin of gravitational forces.

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