…and “fuzzy time.”
Quantum theories of gravity have been tossed about for decades, in an attempt to do for quantum mechanics and gravity what General Relativity does with gravity, i.e. explain it. Since General Relativity (the theory of the really, really big) and Quantum Mechanics (the theory of the really, really small) don’t always see eye to eye, the Quantum types have always felt they needed to come up with their own variation on the theme. Now they’ve got a machine:
In a classical view of the world, space and time are smooth. The minimum scales at which, according to quantum mechanics, the smoothness breaks down — the Planck length and time — can be derived from other quantities, but they have not been tested experimentally, nor would they be, given their impossibly small size.
Yet if Hogan’s ideas are right, noise associated with this fundamental fuzziness should be prominent at GEO600, a joint British and German machine operating near Hannover, Germany, that is searching for gravitational waves. These waves are thought to arise during events such as the massive cosmic collisions of black holes and neutron stars. Confirmation of the idea — which could come as experimental upgrades to GEO600 are put in place over the coming year — would be a big step towards a verifiable quantum theory of gravity, a long-sought unification of quantum mechanics (the physics of the very small) with general relativity (the physics of the very big).
This is all being discussed in our forums, starting with this post from skyfish. Good luck following the thread…