Loop Quantum Gravity

Some physicists have proposed a test to see if loop quantum gravity can be used to reconcile gravity with quantum mechanics.

Now, what the *bleep* is loop quantum gravity? Well, the problem is that gravity, as described by general relativity, doesn’t really work at the subatomic scale, which is where quantum mechanics takes over. LQC basically involves viewing spacetime as broken into discrete chunks, instead of being continuous. Among other things, it predicts a Big Bounce instead of a Big Bang; since the Big Bang model doesn’t actually describe where the universe came from, that already appears like a plus to me. Now, that part is unlikely to be experimentally verified, so it’s a hypothesis, not a theory.

Another interesting thing is that it allows the entropy of a black hole to be calculated. There is one catch, however: it doesn’t quite match up with the formuA directla derived by Bekenstein and Hawking in the 70s, unless a parameter is added in to make this happen. That formula, if you’re interested, is S = A/4; the entropy of a black hole is equal to a quarter of the area of the event horizon. Ideally, both would match up completely.

From the article above: there is another problem, which is that radiation from evaporating black holes (known as Hawking radiation) is too weak to be detected with current equipment. And since the proposed experiment would require the radiation to be detected, it’s probably not going to happen for a while. But that’s theoretical physics for you: Max Born once remarked that he was convinced it was actually philosophy.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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