Within this research programme, physicists from Radboud University Nijmegen will search for the theory of quantum gravity. This theory would unite Einstein's general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. The researchers involved in the programme will approach the problem from the perspective of quantum field theory as well as the perspective of non-Euclidean geometry.
Quantum gravity describes the characteristics of space-time at the very smallest scale, the so-called Planck length (about 10-35 metres). The researchers hope to unravel this microscopic space-time structure within the research programme as then the theory would be able to explain what we see at the macroscopic scale in the universe. Overarching questions that motivate the researchers to carry out this type of research are, for example: Why do masses attract each other? What did the universe look like shortly after the Big Bang? Do wormholes exist and is the possibility of time travel real?
"This FOM grant comes at exactly the right moment to boost our recently formed consortium," says programme leader prof.dr. Renate Loll. "We have a unique combination of expertises within the consortium with fantastic opportunities to make a number of breakthroughs in the non-perturbative quantum gravity, especially through the construction of new geometric observables. The Vrije Programma supports our ambition of shortly belonging to the European top in terms of both scientific impact and the attractiveness for young researchers."
In this programme Loll is working together with various colleagues from Radboud University Nijmegen, namely Prof.dr. J. Ambjørn (part-time at Radboud), Prof.dr. N.P. Landsman, Dr. F. Saueressig and Dr. W.D. van Suijlekom.