Wild New Paper Says 'Quantum Gravity' Could Emerge From a Holographic Universe

Albert Einstein planned to unify his explanation of gravity with current electromagnetism models under a single master theory in the latter decades of his life.

It's a quest that theoretical physicists are still trying to solve. Einstein's general theory of relativity and the principles of quantum physics are as incompatible as oil and water when it comes to our best representations of reality.

Whatever the result of combining the two is, it will almost probably reveal foundations for the Universe that are unlike anything we can imagine.

A team of academics from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and MIT in the United States has released a mathematical breakthrough that describes the genesis of gravity within a so-called 'holographic' model of the Universe.

As strange as it may seem, it is the greatest location for us to begin our quest for a comprehensive explanation of how space, time, and matter all originate from underlying laws.

"When we look for answers to physics concerns, we frequently find fresh discoveries in mathematics as well," explains Daniel Persson, a mathematician at Chalmers University.

"This interaction is particularly evident in the hunt for quantum gravity, where conducting tests is extremely challenging."

Quantum physics and general relativity are two radically distinct systems of thought, despite their apparent capacity to predict the behaviour of anything from electron leaps to black hole bumps with remarkable precision.

When viewed up close, the quantum Universe appears blocky but hazy, like pixels that blur into a bewildering tangle of colour when you press your face against the screen.

Even at the smallest scales, general relativity relies on a seamless continuum of space and time that curves in response to mass with obvious conviction.

Other analogies for how the Universe might work exist, each with its own mathematical foundation and each a little more enigmatic than the last.

Some of these entail the inclusion of hitherto unexplored dimensions encased in perplexing geometries. The researchers' holographic principle is an unusual example that includes subtracting dimensions.

Think of it this way: all the information about how particles interact is encoded on something that looks more like a flat surface than the 3D space we think we live in, similar to how a sense of depth occurs when you gaze at a flat, holographic sticker.

There's a good rationale for this method of thinking about physics. Quantum gravity in 4D spacetime becomes highly difficult and untenable very rapidly.

Our spacetime would have to have a 'flat' border if it were to bend far enough back on itself to form a cylinder. Those onerous quantum gravity theories also happen to have matching theories on this boundary, theories that are a lot easier to work with.

This new paper successfully combines many theories governing particles and their waves, as well as how they morph in fields within a holographic context, to arrive at the mathematical equivalent of gravity acting as a natural result of these interactions.

"The task is to explain how gravity emerges as a 'new' phenomena. We seek to characterise how gravity originates from a quantum mechanical system at the microscopic level, much as common phenomena like liquid flow emerge from the chaotic movements of individual droplets "Robert Berman, a mathematician at Chalmers University, agrees.

As a bonus, this new research could lead to fresh insights into other large-scale phenomena, such as the Universe-expanding fuel known as dark energy.

Theorists have the luxury of stuffing their work with disclaimers and assumptions in order to discover exciting new patterns, as elegant as the mathematics may be. For example, whether our Universe circles back on itself enough to have the kind of boundary required for the holographic principle is a controversial topic among cosmologists.

Still, starting with the inconceivable isn't a bad place to start when trying to solve an issue that even Einstein couldn't solve.


Berman, R.J., Collins, T.C. & Persson, D. Emergent Sasaki-Einstein geometry and AdS/CFT. Nat Commun 13, 365 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27951-9

Wild New Paper Says 'Quantum Gravity' Could Emerge From a Holographic Universe Wild New Paper Says 'Quantum Gravity' Could Emerge From a Holographic Universe Reviewed by Explore With Us on August 12, 2022 Rating: 5

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