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Spacetime versus the Quantum

November 12, 2014 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Lectures on Quantum Phenomena is presented by the Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics (PiTP) in cooperation with St. John’s College.

These PITP public lectures are intended for a broad audience, from inside and outside the university. They provide a forum for outstanding researchers from around the world, as well as from UBC, to discuss the work in this area and to present it in a way accessible to non-specialists, including the general public.


“Spacetime versus the Quantum”

Joe Polchinski
Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara

Quantum mechanics and general relativity are the two of the basic theories of physics, governing space, time, gravity, matter, and even reality itself. Normally, quantum effects appear at microscopic scales while general relativity is seen at cosmic scales. But there are special situations where both are important, like the early Big Bang, and around black holes.

Stephen Hawking showed 40 years ago that quantum mechanics and general relativity make conflicting predictions near black holes, and he argued that quantum mechanics must break down. This ignited a battle that continues to this day. The latest development is the ‘firewall’ paradox: to save quantum mechanics, an astronaut falling into a black hole will have an experience very different from what Einstein’s theory predicts. This has led to a new wave of controversy, and ideas that may lead to a unified formulation of these two great theories.

To learn more please visit his webpage.

Additional resources for this talk will be available after the talk.

Details

Date:
November 12, 2014
Time:
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

St. John's College
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Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604.822.8788
Fax: 604.822.8885
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