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Can I see Quantum Gravity?

Project description

Tweaks in effective field theory could help find evidence for quantum gravity

The question of how gravity and quantum mechanics fit together has been a long-standing problem in physics. Determining how quantum fluctuations affect gravitational waves is a crucial step in this quest. To describe observable quantum gravity effects, it is essential to modify the standard framework of effective field theory. The EU-funded CanISeeQG project aims to describe this modification in a precise and quantitative way, ultimately connecting it to potential experimental discoveries. To this end, the project will combine research in thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and quantum information theory.


The interplay between two of the most important building blocks of nature, quantum mechanics and gravity, has been a great source of inspiration for theoretical physics, leading to discoveries such as the Hawking radiation of black holes and the development of string theory. In turn, the following picture emerged: physics at the most fundamental level is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics while gravity is some effective coarse-grained description of the underlying microscopic theory. Given that the microscopic degrees of freedom are non-local, standard techniques such as the renormalization group and effective field theory a priori do not apply. Nevertheless, we use effective field theories that incorporate general relativity to describe our observations.

With the discovery of gravitational waves and the various ongoing and upcoming experiments that will put general relativity to the test, it has become urgent to assess the validity of the standard framework of effective field theory for describing observable quantum gravity effects. Recent developments in resolving the information loss paradox and the quantum nature of black holes concluded that effective field theory must be modified in a way that uniquely incorporates quantum gravity. The main purpose of this proposal is to describe this modification in a precise and quantitative way, ultimately connecting it to potential experimental discoveries.

In order to achieve this goal, I will approach the problem using a combination of thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and quantum information theory, mostly in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence, where a precise description of quantum gravity is available. As a by-product of identifying observational features of quantum gravity, I will also make substantial progress in several foundational problems. My broad track record and expertise, and the fact that I have already obtained promising preliminary results, makes me uniquely qualified to lead this endeavor.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 500 000,00
1012WX Amsterdam

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West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 500 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)