The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity – the two great theories of modern physics – has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map the way?
Perimeter Associate Faculty member Sung-Sik Lee is a condensed matter physicist – but he has his eye on quantum gravity.
Lee lays out the problem: “Physics has one theory to describe how planets orbit the sun and another to describe how electrons ‘orbit’ an atomic nucleus. Both theories – gravity as described by Einstein’s general relativity and quantum field theory – are great triumphs. Both are well-tested and powerful. The trouble is, we can’t use both at once.”