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10 Spacetime Mysteries That Quantum Gravity Could Solve

7 Nov 2017, 17:20 UTC
10 Spacetime Mysteries That Quantum Gravity Could Solve
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Quantum gravity tries to combine Einstein’s general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. Quantum corrections to classical gravity are visualized as loop diagrams, as the one shown here in white. Image credit: SLAC National Accelerator Lab.There are plenty of questions we don’t know the answer to. With quantum gravity, they might be solved!This article is written by Sabine Hossenfelder. Sabine is a theoretical physicist specialized in quantum gravity and high energy physics. She also freelance writes about science.Einstein’s theory of general relativity, where gravity is caused by the curvature of space-time, is awesome. It has been confirmed to an incredible level of precision, extending to fifteen significant figures in some cases. One of its most amazing predictions is the existence of gravitational waves: small disturbances in space-time that travel freely. These very waves are now detected regularly by the LIGO/VIRGO experiments.But we know that general relativity is incomplete. It works well when the quantum effects of space-time are small, which is almost always the case. But when the quantum effects of space-time become large we need a better theory: a theory of “quantum gravity”.An illustration of the early Universe as consisting of quantum foam, where quantum fluctuations are large, varied, ...

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