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Emergent Spacetimes

Final Report Summary - EMERGENT-2007-SW (Emergent Spacetimes)

During my IOF fellowship I have been involved in several multidisciplinary projects of theoretical and experimental nature. Although, my PhD training was entirely of theoretical nature, I was driving and engaging in all aspects of the experimental projects. Theory.-I studied semi-classical quantum gravity (quantum field theory in curved spacetimes), more specifically analogue gravity. Analogue gravity projects evolved theoretical studies on Bose-Einstein condensates and fluid dynamics. I also worked on projects that are entirely of gravitational interest, such as gravitational lensing and exact solutions for general relativity. During the fellowship I have started to work on quantum gravity phenomenology and full quantum gravity: Horava-Lifshitz quantum gravity type models, and its connection to Einstein-Aether theories and discrete quantum gravity (causal dy- namical triangulation).
Experiment.-My undergraduate and graduate studies - besides a brief encounter with the MAGIC telescope - were of entirely theoretical nature, however during my period as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia I was leading a multidisciplinary team (2 civil engineers and 3 physicists) to carry out an analogue gravity experiment. In 2010, we were the first to detect the analogue of the stimulated Hawking emission in the laboratory. Currently I am setting up (in collaboration with Prof. J. Niemela) an experiment to study effects occurring around effective horizons in analogue gravity systems, such as the Hawking and superradiant scattering process. The initial phases of the project are funded by a Young Researchers Grant by my ingoing host institution and the Marie Curie Carer Integration Grant.
I am pursuing a truly interdisciplinary approach to quantum gravity, utilizing various different research areas to approach semi-classical as well as quantum gravity from a somewhat different and perhaps unusual angle. The IOF fellwship has helped me to develop my own research profile, which is to some extent a continuation of the research carried out during my Phd programme, and is evolving around the idea to mimic aspects of and consequently gain insight to quantum gravity in table-top experiments. I have gained a very unique combination of skills in terms of the multidisciplinary nature and various techniques applied - theoretical, numerical and experimental studies - in the duration of my scientific carer. Taking the experience gained from these studies, combined with the radical new ideas and extended scientific interests, I am now persuing projects that range from discrete quantum gravity to analogue gravity in experimental fluid and superfluid systems, and numerical condensed matter studies. My ingoing host instituation has extended my contract for 3 more years. I am able to apply my skills acting as the link between different branches of research areas / physics, and beyond that establish a link between theoretical and experimental studies. Beyond that, due to the wide range of research interests, I have formed several successful international and European multidisciplinary research collaborations, to establish myself and a new line of research within Europe.