Thursday, February 22, 2024

Looking at the issue of singularities from a quantum point of view

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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theory at all. This is what all physicists dream about. Holy arrow! That which would allow to describe, in one and singular law, absolutely all the phenomena of nature. They have already managed to combine phenomena such as electricity and magnetism, for example. But some branches of physics still seem completely incompatible. This is the case with quantum physics and general relativity in particular.

Both are presented as rips with a more classic view. Both were drafted in XXe a century. Max Planck is on top, when it comes to quantum physics. Albert Einstein, of course, in terms of general relativity. The first focuses on the behavior of particles and the second considers gravity as a consequence of the curvature of space-time. The first, in general – and with great success – applies to very small scales. While the second occurs in place of large scales.

Alternatively, because gravity can also be studied at the microscopic level. And that’s the problem. Because general relativity necessarily leads, at one time or another, to the emergence of what physicists call singularities. The singularities that quantum physics prohibit purely and simply!

Between relativity and quantum physics the problem of singularities

To understand, you have to go back to the basics. to the Albert Einstein equation, which physicists know as the gravitational field equation. Mathematical translation of the general theory of relativity. which relates the curvature of space-time to the distribution of mass and energy.

If they want to describe the geometry of spacetime, then researchers are left to search for solutions to this complex equation. And it turns out that under certain extreme conditions, they lead to non-specific solutions. Understand, for something that mathematics can no longer define. This is the case in the core of black holes, for example. Or at the origin of our universe. Areas where the laws of physics cease to exist. Then researchers talk about singularity.

Physicists identify the singularity at the origin of our universe. ©Andrea Dante, Shutterstock

“exclusivity”The researchers explained,“It is like there is a hole in space, where nothing can exist, but everything in spite of everything falls into it.”Not only the material, but also potential observers who might be tempted to take a closer look.

Today, a team from the University of Bologna (Italy) offers a solution for that“Singularity Incompatibility”. They suggest that extending the treatment of singularities from classical to quantum physics could help solve this obstacle standing between these branches of physics.

If these stories of singularity are hard to understand,“So think of a piece of paper with a small hole in the middle.”Physicists suggest. To simulate the motion of the particle, move the tip of the pen across the paper. The moment your pen hits the hole, it stops drawing. As if the particles no longer exist.

Quantum Field Theory Tools

However, there is a framework that combines quantum mechanics and special relativity. Physicists call this framework quantum field theory – orquantum field theory(QFT). The Standard Model of particle physics was born. Therefore, the QFT tools were used here by researchers at the University of Bologna to construct a mathematical object capable of indicating the existence of singularities in experimentally measurable quantities. OneJob roll numberwhereFunctional reassembly number.Which turns out to be non-zero in the presence of singularities. It disappears in their absence.

Thanks to this new approach, physicists have shown that some theoretically predicted singularities do not affect experimentally measurable quantities in principle, and thus remain neutral mathematical formulations. If such a formalism survives scientific scrutiny and turns out to be the right approach, it indicates a very profound physical principle. And researchers are already thinking about the consequences for our understanding of physics. Even beyond the topic of singularities.

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