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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W005530/1
Title: Quantum Emergence of an expanding universe
Principal Investigator: Galante, Dr D
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mathematics
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2021 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 439,496
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mathematical Physics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews Announced
26 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews- Panel 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Inspired by the laws of black holes, theoretical physicists developed the idea that macroscopic spacetime emerges from a microscopic quantum theory. This is analogous to how water fluid emerges from the complex interactions between millions of water molecules. But, what are the constituents from which spacetime itself emerges?

My research programme intends to find and characterise the microscopic quantum theory from which spacetimes like our own universe emerge. Astrophysicists observed that our universe is currently expanding at an accelerated rate. Galaxies are getting further away from each other. Given that the speed of light is only finite, there are regions of spacetime that will never get in causal contact with an observer, like us. As a consequence, every observer in this expanding universe is surrounded by a cosmological event horizon.

Black hole event horizons have played a crucial role in understanding the emergence of spacetime. Cosmological event horizons share some features with their black hole counterparts, so it is expected they might play a similar role. But they are also different in nature. In the first part of this project, I will find distinctive macroscopic features of cosmological event horizons. In the second part, I will connect these to microscopic properties of the quantum theory. Very basic aspects of this theory still remain unknown so progress along these lines would, for the first time, provide a microscopic description of a type of universe that resembles ours and consequently, a new theoretical way of approaching long-standing problems in physics such as dark energy and dark matter. Finally, a third part of the project will consist of simulating microscopic theories numerically as quantum many-body systems.

In parallel, I will run a series of public events that will combine art, conversations with prestigious scientists and digital engagement with the objective of inspiring younger generations and underrepresented minorities to work in science and conveying the idea that, contrary to the common lore, theoretical physicists do not study very strange things but instead, try to answer simple questions that everyone might have reflected on. Because who can say that never thought about: what is the nature of space and time? Where do we live? And, what are we made of?

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