Dec 7, 2023

Quantum ‘magic’ could help explain the origin of spacetime

Posted by in categories: cosmology, mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

A quantum property dubbed “magic” could be the key to explaining how space and time emerged, a new mathematical analysis by three RIKEN physicists suggests. The research is published in the journal Physical Review D.

It’s hard to conceive of anything more basic than the fabric of spacetime that underpins the universe, but have been questioning this assumption. “Physicists have long been fascinated about the possibility that space and time are not fundamental, but rather are derived from something deeper,” says Kanato Goto of the RIKEN Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences (iTHEMS).

This notion received a boost in the 1990s, when theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena related the gravitational theory that governs spacetime to a theory involving . In particular, he imagined a hypothetical space—which can be pictured as being enclosed in something like an infinite soup can, or “bulk”—holding objects like that are acted on by gravity. Maldacena also imagined particles moving on the surface of the can, controlled by . He realized that mathematically a used to describe the particles on the boundary is equivalent to a gravitational theory describing the black holes and spacetime inside the bulk.

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