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For over two decades, physicists have pondered how the fabric of space-time may emerge from some kind of quantum entanglement. In Monika Schleier-Smith’s lab at Stanford University, the thought experiment is becoming real.
The five-decade-old paradox — long thought key to linking quantum theory with Einstein’s theory of gravity — is falling to a new generation of thinkers. Netta Engelhardt is leading the way.
By showing that even large objects can exhibit bizarre quantum behaviors, physicists hope to illuminate the mystery of quantum collapse, identify the quantum nature of gravity, and perhaps even make Schrödinger’s cat a reality.
Even in an incomplete state, quantum field theory is the most successful physical theory ever discovered. Nathan Seiberg, one of its leading architects, talks about the gaps in QFT and how mathematicians could fill them.
In three towering papers, a team of mathematicians has worked out the details of Liouville quantum field theory, a two-dimensional model of quantum gravity.
The accelerating effort to understand the mathematics of quantum field theory will have profound consequences for both math and physics.
Spurred on by quantum experiments that scramble the ordering of causes and their effects, some physicists are figuring out how to abandon causality altogether.
It has been thought of as many things: a pointlike object, an excitation of a field, a speck of pure math that has cut into reality. But never has physicists’ conception of a particle changed more than it is changing now.
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