Why Quantum Gravity Is Different

  • Speaker
  • Jared Kaplan, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
Date & Time


About Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Mathematics and Physical Sciences lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.

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All of the fundamental forces of nature follow the laws of quantum mechanics, except one: gravity. Incorporating gravity with the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces into a single model is one of the greatest challenges facing modern physics.

In this lecture, Jared Kaplan will explain why unifying quantum mechanics with gravity requires a radically new perspective on nature. He’ll outline how physicists have successfully followed a reductionist program to build the Standard Model, which describes all of the other known forces of nature. He’ll then explain why black hole thermodynamics and other considerations have led to the idea of “holography,” which suggests that some of the universe’s dimensions may be, on a fundamental level, an approximation and an illusion.

About the Speaker

Kaplan received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Stanford, University his Ph.D. in physics at Harvard University, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at SLAC and Stanford. Since 2012, he has been a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University. His research has spanned a range of fields, including cosmology, particle physics, dark matter, scattering theory, and, most recently, the AdS/CFT correspondence and quantum gravity. His work has been supported by a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, an NSF CAREER grant, and by the Simons Foundation as a principal investigator of the Collaboration on the Nonperturbative Bootstrap.

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