Towards Quantum Gravity

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Reference Article: An overview of quantum gravity.

While probably anyone would agree that these deviations must be present, there is no consensus on whether these deviations would be large or small in a given theoretical framework. This is precisely the issue that we wanted to understand.

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The researchers analyzed the mathematical structure of the correlations of a quantum field in frameworks beyond standard quantum field theory. This analysis was then used to identify the three necessary conditions that are sufficient to preserve the Unruh effect.

The difference between the two cases throws up a surprising question: do objects attracted by electrical or magnetic forces behave the same way as when attracted by the gravity of a nearby planet? But, given that the two theories are so different, it is not clear that the idea still holds at the quantum level. Zych and Brukner combined two principles to formulate the problem. This even applies to an atom moving from a low energy level to a more excited state.

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To this they added the principle of quantum superposition, which holds that particles can be smeared into more than one state at once. And since the different energy levels have different masses, then the total mass gets smeared across a range of values, too. This prediction allowed the pair to propose tests that would tease out the quantum behaviour of gravitational acceleration. As most current theories of quantum gravity predict that the equivalence principle will indeed be violated, the tests proposed by Zych and Brukner could help evaluate whether these approaches are on the right track.

This arises as a consequence of relativity, and says that one twin travelling at high speed will age more slowly than the other, who remains stationary.

[] Towards the map of quantum gravity

Instead, Zych imagined kind of quantum conjoined twins, built from the quantum superposition of two different energy states — and therefore two superposed masses. She estimates the difference caused by the quantum behaviour of an atom interacting with a visible wavelength laser would be around one part in 10 An Italian group has already begun work on such experiments and found no deviation from the equivalence principle up to one part in 10 9. Physicists probe the mysteries of quantum fields by corralling thousands of ultra-cold atoms in a tiny egg carton.

Publications of the Division. Articles in the Max Planck Yearbook.

Cosmological Constant and Particle Masses in Conformal Quantum Gravity

Nicolai: Quantum gravity and unification. More Articles in the Max Planck Yearbook. News and Events. Nicolai in an interview about Stephen Hawking.


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