A group of physicists and mathematician has made a significant step in the direction of unification of General relativity and quantum mechanics, explaining how space-time emerges from quantum entanglement in a more fundamental theory. The work of Hiroshi Ooguri from the University of Tokyo Kavli, mathematics Matilda Marcolli and graduate students Jennifer Lin and Bogdan Strut was published in Physical Review Letters.
Physicists and mathematicians have been searching for a "theory of everything" which would combine General relativity and quantum mechanics. General relativity explains gravity and the large-scale phenomena like the dynamics of stars and galaxies in the Universe, and quantum mechanics explains microscopic phenomena occurring at the subatomic and molecular scale.
The holographic principle is widely regarded as the most important sign of a successful "theory of everything". According to this principle, gravity in three-dimensional volume can be described by quantum mechanics on a two dimensional surface surrounding this volume. In particular, three dimensions of this volume must flow out of a two-dimensional surface measurements. However, understanding the exact mechanics of the appearance of the volume of the surface remained elusive.
Ooguri, and his colleagues discovered that quantum entanglement is key to resolving this issue. Using quantum theory (which includes gravity), they showed how to compute the energy density, which is the source of gravitational interactions in three dimensions using quantum entanglement on the surface. This is similar to the diagnosis of conditions within your body on a two-dimensional x-ray images. This approach allowed the scientists to interpret the universal properties of quantum entanglement as a condition of energy density, which should satisfy any consistent quantum theory of gravity, not actually including gravity in the theory. The importance of quantum entanglement in this issue have repeatedly stressed before, but its exact role in the formation of space-time was not clear until the publication of the work, Ooguri and his colleagues.
Gravity in our three dimensional world and the projection of the data onto a two dimensional surface
Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon where the quantum States, like spin or polarization of particles, particles in different places can not be described independently. Measurement (and hence impact) of one particle also has an effect on another, and this phenomenon Einstein called "spooky action at a distance". The work of Ooguri and his colleagues shows that quantum entanglement creates extra dimensions the gravitational theory.
"It was known that quantum entanglement is deeply connected to the issues of unification of General relativity and quantum mechanics, like the information paradox black holes and the firewall paradox, says Hiroshi. Our work sheds new light on the relations of quantum entanglement from the microscopic structure of space-time through precise calculations. The connection between quantum gravity and information science becomes incredibly important in both spheres. Hopefully, further research will be very fruitful." published
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