The 2,442nd Meeting of the Society

June 4, 2021 at 8:00 PM

Zoom Webinar

The 90th Joseph Henry Lecture

Quantum Gravity

Carlo Rovelli

Director, The Quantum Gravity Group
Centre de Physique Théorique de Luminy, Aix-Marseille University

Sponsored by MWZB Law & PSW Science Member Carl Merril

About the Lecture

There is no established quantum theory of gravity – yet. But there have been theoretical advances that give us an idea of the quantum properties of space and time. Loop quantum gravity is a tentative theory of quantum spacetime that shows how it is possible to conceive and describe space and time in the deep quantum regime. This lecture will illustrate the empirical input supporting this picture, including recent and forthcoming observational and experimental results. It will sketch the basis of the theory and discuss the conceptual implications regarding the general understanding of the nature of space and the nature of time.

Bibliography
Technical books on Loop Quantum Gravity
(1) F Vidotto, C Rovelli, Covariant Loop Quantum Gravity, Cambridge University Press, 2014
(2) C Rovelli, Quantum Gravity, Cambridge University Press, 2004

Less technical books on Quantum Gravity and the Nature of Time
(3) C. Rovelli, Reality is Note What It Seems – The Journey to Quantum Gravity, Penguin Random House, 2016
(4) C. Rovelli, The Order of Time, Penguin Random House, 2018
(5) C. Rovelli, Helgoland, Penguin Random House, 2021

About the Speaker

Carlo Rovelli is Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the Quantum Gravity Group at Aix-Marseille University in France, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, and Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at The Perimeter Institute. Previously, he was Professor of Physics at Pittsburgh University, in addition to a number of other academic appointments.

Carlo works on one of the great unsolved problems in modern physics – the unification of general relativity with quantum mechanics. One focus of his work has been on the formulation and development of the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity and on developing observable consequences of the theory. A second focus has been on the statistical behavior of gravity and the nature of time and, together with Alain Connes, he has developed the concept of thermal time. A third focus has been on the relational interpretation of quantum theory, which he sees as, “the least implausible of the ways of understanding the theory.”

Carlo has published more than 275 technical papers on his research in science publications and he is the author of the two authoritative technical texts on Loop Quantum Gravity. He has also published widely in periodicals for more general audiences and, in addition, he is the author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (now translated into 44 languages), The Order of Time, Reality is Not What It Seems – The Journey to Quantum Gravity, The First Scientist Anaximander and His Legacy, and most recently Helgoland (on quantum theory).

Among many other honors and awards Carlo is the recipient of the Watkins Prize, the Xanthopoulos Award, the Prix du Duc de Villars for The Order of Time, and he has been named to Foreign Policy’s list of the 100 most influential global thinkers. He is a member of the Institute Universitaire de France, Honorary Professor of the Beijing Normal University, Honoris Causa Laureate of the Universidad de San Martin, Buenos Aires, and a member of the Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences.

Carlo studied classics in Italian secondary school, then earned his Laurea in Fisica (BS plus MS) at the University of Bologna, and his Dottorato di Recerca (PhD) in Physics at the University of Padova.

Highlights