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Lee Smolin -
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In both quantum theory and general relativity, we encounter predictions of physically sensible quantities becoming infinite. This is likely the way that nature punishes impudent theorists who dare to break her unity.... If infinities are signs of missing unification, a unified theory will have none. It will be what we call a finite theory.
Lee Smolin
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Quantum theory can be described as a new kind of language to be used in a dialogue between us and the systems we study with our instruments.... It tells us nothing about what the world would be like in our absence.
Lee Smolin
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Relativity and... quantum... remain incomplete.... the main reason each is incomplete is the existence of the other. The mind calls for a third theory to unify all of physics, and for a simple reason. Nature is... "unified." …interconnected, in that everything interacts with everything else.
Lee Smolin
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While most people... were seeking to modify the principles of either relativity or quantum theory, we surprised ourselves (and many other people) by succeeding in putting them together without modifying their principles.
Lee Smolin
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We detect light and particles that have traveled billions of light years on their way across the universe to us. During the billions of years of travel, very small effects due to quantum gravity can be amplified to the point that we can detect them.
Lee Smolin
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Since the 1950s, the key equation of quantum gravity has been called the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. Bryce DeWitt and John Wheeler wrote it down, but in all the time since then, no one had been able to solve it. We found we could solve it exactly, and in fact we found an infinite number of exact solutions.
Lee Smolin
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Many of the founders of quantum mechanics, including Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Louis de Broglie... were realists. For them quantum theory... was not a complete theory, because it did not provide a picture of reality absent our interaction with it. On the other side were Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and many others. Rather than being appalled, they embraced this new way of doing science.
Lee Smolin
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In quantum theory, distance is inverse to energy, because you need particles of very high energy to probe very short distances. The inverse of the Planck energy is the Planck length.
Lee Smolin
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Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature. This is called the problem of quantum gravity.
Lee Smolin
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Jacob Bekenstein found... in 1971 that every black hole must have an entropy proportional to the area of its horizon... Stephen Hawking then refined this by showing that the constant of proportionality must be... exactly one quarter.... entropy is supposed to correspond to a measure of information... Loop quantum gravity... [gives] a detailed description of the microscopic structure of a black hole.... a horizon can have, for each quantized unit of area, a finite number of states. Counting them, we get exactly Bekenstein's result...
Lee Smolin
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The revolution which began with the creation of quantum theory and relativity theory can only be finished with their unification into a single theory that can give us a single, comprehensive picture of nature.
Lee Smolin
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I believe that the main lesson of relativity and quantum theory is that the world is nothing but an evolving network of relationships.
Lee Smolin
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Calculation establishes that a quantum positive energy theorem may be possible using a representation based on the Ashtekar connection. Left open is a key question of whether this use of the Ashtekar connection is necessary or whether a positive quantum energy result can be achieved for representations based on other connections, i. e., for [other] values of the Immirzi parameter.
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The positive energy theorem was for half a century or more an open challenge to relativists. Many attempts were made to prove flat spacetime was stable, but none completely succeeded completely until a majestic tour de force of geometric reasoning of Shoen and Yau. This was followed two years later by a proof of Witten, which was as elegant as it was short. It is this proof of Witten's that we take as a template here for the quantum theory.
Lee Smolin
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I was joined by Carlo Rovelli, and we were able to make a full-fledged quantum theory of gravity... This became loop quantum gravity.
Lee Smolin
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Some of the effects predicted by the theory [of loop quantum gravity] appear to be in conflict with one of the principles of Einstein's special theory of relativity... that the speed of light is a universal constant.... Photons of higher energy travel slightly slower than low-energy photons.... the principle of [general] relativity is preserved but Einstein's special theory of relativity requires modification.... A photon can have an energy-dependent speed without violating the principle of [general] relativity!
Lee Smolin
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One of the evident facts about the world is the stability of empty space-time. In classical general relativity we can explain this as a consequence of the positive energy theorem... the positive energy theorem must extend in some suitable form to any viable quantum theory of gravity.
Lee Smolin
Quote of the day
We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.
Aneurin Bevan
Lee Smolin
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Born:
June 6, 1955
(age 69)
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