" “Towards a Common Origin of Quantum Mechanics and Spacetime”" by Nima Arkani-Hamed (Institute for Advanced Study)

Thursday, March 10, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: Nima Arkani-Hamed (Institute for Advanced Study)

Talk Title:  “Towards a Common Origin of Quantum Mechanics and Spacetime”


Space-time and Quantum Mechanics are the pillars of our modern understanding of fundamental physics. But there are storm clouds on the horizon, indicating that these principles are approximate, and must be replaced with something deeper.

The union of quantum mechanics and gravity strongly suggests that “space-time is doomed", and there are related indications of fundamental limitations to quantum mechanics in both the early and late universe.

In this talk I will review these paradoxes and describe tentative hints pointing to a new picture, where space-time and quantum mechanics will be seen to emerge hand-in-hand from more primitive principles. The study of scattering amplitudes in gauge theories and gravity gives us a theoretical playground where these questions can be sharply posed.

I will describe a new formulation of maximally supersymmetric gauge theory scattering amplitudes, not following from quantum evolution in space-time, but associated with simple new mathematical structures in "positive geometry". In this example we can concretely see how the usual rules of space-time and quantum mechanics arise, joined at the hip, from fundamentally geometric and combinatorial origins.

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Mike Cornwall, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Andrea Ghez, Prof. Karoly Holczer, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. Myank Mehta, Prof. John Miao, Prof. Roberto Peccei, Prof. Claudio Pellegrini, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner and Prof. Ben Zuckerman.

1-434 PAB