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Zenith Grant Awardee

Lorenzo Maccone

Universita\' di Pavia


Seth Lloyd, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Vittorio Giovannetti, Scuola Normale Superiore

Project Title

Quantum Spacetime from Events

Project Summary

Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity are the two theories that best describe our world. Neither has been falsified, but it seems they cannot both be correct: they appear incompatible in regimes where experimental tests have not been performed yet. One of the principal quests of modern theoretical physics is producing a single theory that encompasses both. This project will address a key point of this endeavor by providing a quantization of spacetime. Spacetime is the arena where events happen: it is connected to space and time, and its properties are well described by general relativity. How events happen is, instead, well described by quantum mechanics, as general relativity can do so only approximately (classical approximation). A quantum spacetime is then fundamental to obtain both the “where\'\' and the “how\'\'. We will exploit a new technique (conditional probability amplitudes) that has received up to now little attention because it was widely believed to be useless in this context. Having shown that it is instead viable, we will extend it to attack the quantization of spacetime. It provides peculiar solutions to both the measurement problem and the problem of time that are two major roadblocks in this context.

Technical Abstract

In this project we will provide a quantization of spacetime that employs a technique, conditional probability amplitudes, that has basically not been exploited in this context up to now. It appears particularly promising because it naturally encompasses both reparametrization invariance and a description of a measurement process that does not neglect interactions with the experimenter and its environment. The first is required by General Relativity. The second by a complete quantum description of spacetime, which must encompass also measurement apparatuses, experimenters, and their environments. Both ingredients are typically difficult to achieve.

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