The Vancouver-based Quantum Gravity Society is boldly launching a quest to reconcile the two most significant scientific theories.
As part of this quest, the Society will create the Quantum Gravity Institute to acquire the world’s most influential and comprehensive collection of physics research. This new era of physics research will rely on unprecedented international scientific collaboration.
For roughly 100 years, the world’s understanding of physics has been based on Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GR), which explored the theory of space, time, and gravity; and quantum mechanics (QM), which focuses on the behaviour of matter and light on the atomic and subatomic scale. Einstein’s theories have given us a deep understanding of the cosmos, leading to space travel, atomic clocks, and GPS. Quantum mechanics has given us a deeper understanding of material science, and is responsible for electronics and computers that support modern transportation, communications, medicine, agriculture, energy systems, and more.
While each theory has led to countless scientific breakthroughs, they are incompatible and seemingly contradictory in many cases. Discovering a unifying connection between these two fundamental theories will provide the world a deeper understanding of time, gravity, and matter; and how to affect them. It will also lead to new technologies affecting most aspects of daily life; including how we communicate, grow food, deliver health care, transport people and goods, and produce energy.
The Quantum Gravity Society (the “Society”, or “QGS”) exists to promote fundamental research in areas connected with quantum mechanics and gravity, and in particular with the effort to find a theory that gives a unified understanding of the two – the so-called “quantum gravity” problem.
The Society will focus on supporting theoretical research that has an actual or potential connection with observation or experiment. Support given directly to experimental work may also fall within the Society’s purview. While funding will be focused on activities taking place in centres supported directly by the QGS, the Society will support the joint collaborative activities of internationally- based groups of theorists, and experimenters working with them. The intent is to allow such groups to work together as much as possible, for extended periods of time, and to occasionally organize meetings and other activities that will facilitate this work. To this end, the Society plans to found a research centre – the physical location of the Quantum Gravity Institute – in Vancouver.
There are several key goals involved in this mission:
- The Society wishes to foster the work that leads to a solution to the “quantum gravity problem”. This is a high goal – it is regarded by many as the holy grail of physics. The Society wishes to play a major role in achieving this goal and to heavily be involved in the consequences and developments resulting from a future theory.
- As a secondary goal, the Society wishes to foster the development of Vancouver as a major global cultural centre and hub, with the recognition that fundamental intellectual work and achievements in the sciences have always played a role in encouraging the rise of such centres. Thus the Society will support outreach activities that have a connection with its central research goals. It is expected that the gravity archive that the Society has acquired will be an integral part of this outreach, as well as having great intellectual value in its own right.