7:30 pm, Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014
Fairmont Lounge, St. John's College
2111 Lower Mall, UBC
Spacetime versus the Quantum
Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics
University of California, Santa Barbara
Quantum mechanics and general relativity are the two of the basic theories
of physics, governing space, time, gravity, matter, and even reality
itself. Normally, quantum effects appear at microscopic scales while
general relativity is seen at cosmic scales. But there are special
situations where both are important, like the early Big Bang, and around
Stephen Hawking showed 40 years ago that quantum mechanics and general
relativity make conflicting predictions near black holes, and he argued
that quantum mechanics must break down. This ignited a battle that
continues to this day. The latest development is the 'firewall' paradox:
to save quantum mechanics, an astronaut falling into a black hole will
have an experience very different from what Einstein's theory predicts.
This has led to a new wave of controversy, and ideas that may lead to a
unified formulation of these two great theories.
To learn more please visit his
This lecture is one of the PITP's special public events to celebrate the Centenary of General Relativity. You can find the resource matrial here.
Additional resources for this talk: slides and