Physicists Take a New Approach to Unify Quantum Theory and Theory of Relativity

September 5, 2013


Scientists Take a New Approach to the Unification of General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory

Space consists of tiny elementary cells or “atoms of space” in some modern theories of quantum gravity trying to unify General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Quantum gravity should make it possible to describe the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to today within one single theory. Credit: T. Thiemann (FAU Erlangen), Albert Einstein Institute, Milde Marketing Wissenschaftskommunikation, exozet effects

Physicists from the Max Planck Institute and the Perimeter Institute in Canada have developed a new approach to the unification of the general theory of relativity and quantum theory.

Present-day physics cannot describe what happened in the Big Bang. Quantum theory and the theory of relativity fail in this almost infinitely dense and hot primal state of the universe. Only an all-encompassing theory of quantum gravity which unifies these two fundamental pillars of physics could provide an insight into how the universe began. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Golm/Potsdam and the Perimeter Institute in Canada have made an important discovery along this route. According to their theory, space consists of tiny “building blocks”. Taking this as their starting point, the scientists arrive at one of the most fundamental equations of cosmology, the Friedmann equation, which describes the universe. This shows that quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity really can be unified.

For almost a century, the two major theories of physics have coexisted but have been irreconcilable: while Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity describes gravity and thus the world at large, quantum physics describes the world of atoms and elementary particles. Both theories work extremely well within their own boundaries; however, they break down, as currently formulated, in certain extreme regions, at extremely tiny distances, the so-called Planck scale, for example. Space and time thus have no meaning in black holes or, most notably, during the Big Bang.

Daniele Oriti from the Albert Einstein Institute uses a fluid to illustrate this situation: “We can describe the behavior of flowing water with the long-known classical theory of hydrodynamics. But if we advance to smaller and smaller scales and eventually come across individual atoms, it no longer applies. Then we need quantum physics.” Just as a liquid consists of atoms, Oriti imagines space to be made up of tiny cells or “atoms of space”, and a new theory is required to describe them: quantum gravity.

Continuous space is broken down into elementary cells

In Einstein’s relativity theory, space is a continuum. Oriti now breaks down this space into tiny elementary cells and applies the principles of quantum physics to them, thus to space itself and to the theory of relativity describing it. This is the unification idea.

A fundamental problem of all approaches to quantum gravity consists in bridging the huge dimensional scales from the space atoms to the dimensions of the universe. This is where Oriti, his colleague Lorenzo Sindoni and Steffen Gielen, a former postdoc at the AEI who is now a researcher at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, have succeeded. Their approach is based on so-called group field theory. This is closely related to loop quantum gravity, which the AEI has been developing for some time.

The task now consisted in describing how the space of the universe evolves from the elementary cells. Staying with the idea of fluids: How can the hydrodynamics for the flowing water be derived from a theory for the atoms?

This extremely demanding mathematical task recently led to a surprising success. “Under special assumptions, space is created from these building blocks, and evolves like an expanding universe,” explains Oriti. “For the first time, we were thus able to derive the Friedmann equation directly as part of our complete theory of the structure of space,” he adds. This fundamental equation, which describes the expanding universe, was derived by the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman in the 1920s on the basis of the General Theory of Relativity. The scientists have therefore succeeded in bridging the gap from the microworld to the macroworld, and thus from quantum mechanics to the General Theory of Relativity: they show that space emerges as the condensate of these elementary cells and evolves into a universe which resembles our own.

Quantum gravity could now answer questions regarding the Big Bang

Oriti and his colleagues thus see themselves at the start of a difficult but promising journey. Their current solution is valid only for a homogeneous universe – but our real world is much more complex. It contains inhomogeneities, such as planets, stars and galaxies. The physicists are currently working on including them in their theory.

And they have planned something really big as their ultimate goal. On the one hand, they want to investigate whether it is possible to describe space even during the Big Bang. A few years ago, former AEI researcher Martin Bojowald found clues, as part of a simplified version of loop quantum gravity, that time and space can possibly be traced back through the Big Bang. With their theory, Oriti and his colleagues are hoping to confirm or improve this result.

If it continues to prove successful, the researchers could perhaps use it to explain also the assumed inflationary expansion of the universe shortly after the Big Bang as well, and the nature of the mysterious dark energy. This energy field causes the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate.

Oriti’s colleague Lorenzo Sindoni therefore adds: “We will only be able to really understand the evolution of the universe when we have a theory of quantum gravity.” The AEI researchers are in good company here: Einstein and his successors, who have been searching for this for almost one hundred years.

Publication: Steffen Gielen, et al., “Cosmology from Group Field Theory Formalism for Quantum Gravity,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 031301 (2013); DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.031301

PDF Copy of the Study: Cosmology from Group Field Theory Formalism for Quantum Gravity

Source: Max Planck Institute

Image: T. Thiemann (FAU Erlangen), Albert Einstein Institute, Milde Marketing Wissenschaftskommunikation, exozet effects

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16 Responses to “Physicists Take a New Approach to Unify Quantum Theory and Theory of Relativity”

  1. James Moses Says:

    …..HATE to break the news but, Nassim Haramein beat them to it, and your publication, really SHOULD have made note of as much…..Nassim Haramein’s physics paper titled “Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass”.


    • Anastasio Says:

      “Quantum Gravity and the Holographic Mass” is ‘published’ in a predatory, pay-to-publish vanity journal over which even its chief editors have no control nor influence over its publications.

      Haramein’s manuscript is largely nonsensical numerology and explains nothing of the above. If it does, then please explain how.


  2. Wardell Says:

    The Universe is NOT expanding, not withstanding General Relativity and Friedman’s Equation.

    Gravity and Quantum Theory are united when the Law of Gravity and Quantum Rheory are correct. The correct Law is W = -vh/l + cP. This law describes the energy W as a Quaternion Energy, with -vh/l the scalar or Potential energy consisting of the velocity v, h the angular momentum and l the wavelength, l=2pi r.

    The second part of the energy is cP the momentum vector energy, aka the “Dark Energy”. The “Dark Energy” is invisible to Physicists, because physicists don’t believe in vector energy. The universe believes in vector energy and it is the dominant energy. The momentum energy, cP, adds vector energy to the scalar energy and adds the Quantum aspect, the vector, the Fermions.

    The correct Quantum Theory is W = -vh/l + cP, the same equation, uniting Gravity and Quantum Theory.

    The difference is in the “particle” vector.
    In Gravity, the particle is mass m, with v=(GM/r)^.5 .

    In Quantum the particle is charge electron e, with v= AlphaZc, where alpha is the Fine Structure Constant and Z is the Atomic Number and c is the speed of light.

    In Quantum the particle is photon Q, with v=c.

    Thus Gravity and Quantum are United. The essence of Quantum Theory is the vector energy cP. The vector is the Fermion and it is the fermions that distinguish Quantum from “Gravity Relativity, the Boson scalars.

    Quaternions W = -vh/l + cP is the sum of Bosons and Fermions, and this is the true Uniion of Gravity and Quantum Theory.

    The Energy W is bounded and thus not expanding!
    The Derivative is zero at v=c,
    and the Max W = -ch/l + cP = mc2[-1,1P].

    XW = [d/dr, DEL][-vh/l, cP] = [vp/r -cDEL.P, -cp/r 1P + vp/r 1R + cDELxP]
    XW = cp/r[v/c -cos(P), -1P + v/c 1R + sin(P)1RxP]

    At 0=XW, Mathematics and Geometry requires cDELxP=0 or sin(P)=0 and cos(P)=1

    0 = cp/r[v/c -1, -1R + v/c 1R] thus v/c=1 or v=c for Equilbrium or Invariant.

    Thus the Universe is not expanding, the redshift v/c is 1/n the inverfse refraction coefficient.

    The Big Bang, Black holes and the expansion of the Universe are Problems inPhusics, e.g. “Dark Energy, Dark matter, singlarities,etc. The new approach to the old problems is still the old problem.

    Quaternion Physics is Natures Way, without the problems.


  3. Madanagopal.V.C Says:

    Wardell cannot theorise that Universe is not expanding without knowing actual observation. Secondly he cannot conclude that energy is a vector quantity since natural energy cannot be constricted to to be propogated in a fixed line like laser except under some artificial conditions. Energy is always a scalar quantity. Annotating this article of space particles which are like vacuum space atomicity, we can come to certain conclusions. When galaxies are thrown apart by the mighty Dark Matter at a fantastic speed comparable to the velocity of light the conservation of the spent energy states that this spent energy should reside in some form in the new space created by expansion and that can be through energy particles or vacuum atoms in cosmos. Thus in the entire Universe empty space is not devoid of any energy in the absence of any matter but really it is warehouse of spent energy of galactic expansion. So you call it as Dark Energy and you should know that this Dark Energy is 72%, Dark matter is 24%, leaving just 4% for the visible universe with billions of galaxies and black holes. Thus materealisation of energy has taken place only to the extent of 4% and the force is coming from Dark Matter to produce Dark Energy continuously by creating more and more of the vacuum energy called Dark Energy.Now you can conclude that energy has got not just four forms but five forms in fact. They are Gravitational, Electromagnetic, Electroweak, Color forces or nuclear forces plus another form viz., invisible energy of the vacuum.Thank You.


    • Grant Rogers Says:

      I think there may be a link between em and gravity.


    • Wardell Says:


      Physics consists of scalars and Vectors, Quaternions. Torque T=FxR is vector energy.
      Physicists are blind to vector energy because they call it Torque. FR = -F.R + FxR is the general energy from vectors.

      I say the Universe is not expanding because the energy is bounded due to the First derivative has a zero point, meaning there is a boundary. The boundary occurs at v=c.

      XW= [d/dr,Del][-vh/l,cP] = [vp/r -cDel.P, 1R vp/r 1R cp/r] =

      0 = [vp/r -cp/r, 1R(vp/r -cp/r)] = (v/c-1)[1,1R]

      The Boundary is the max energy and min size or radius.
      The non-boundary size of the universe is larger than the max minimum size. This is not the Big bang or expanding. it is more likely like the Excited atom, where the electrons are in upper levels when “excited” before relaxing back.

      I estimate based on observations that the size of the Universe is
      R=150E24m = 150kMPm=150kMpc/31.

      Hubbles Constant is c/R = 300Mm/s/150kMpc/31 = 2x31km/s/Mpc= 62km/s/Mpc.

      Hubbles formula v= D/H = c D/R, n The velocity at the distance D near to the Boundary R. The closer to the boundary , the closer to the velocity c.

      Einstein’s Warped space is not true,
      Tan D = s/R = .5×9.8t^2/R= 4.9×500/300M = 8.16666E-6 gives angle D = 1.68″.

      The Age of the Universe is 1/H= 15.84Gyrs

      The Power of the Universe is 3645E49 watts; MASS 2.025E53 kg,

      Momentum P=6.075E61 Ns; Energy = 1.8225E70[-1,1R]

      The red shift;
      Einstein wondered why gravity did not collapse the Universe. he invented the Cosmological constant to balance gravity, a centrifugal force. The vector energy cP is the energy that creates the centrifugal force, the Divergence of the the vector energy, cDel.P = -cp/r cos(P). This balances the centripetal force vp/r.
      Thus vp/r- cp/r cos(P)=0 at Continuity Condition where centripetal equals centrifugal force; vp/r=cp/r cos(P) gives

      v/c=cos(P) the red shift condition, a condition of stability in orbit.

      The Divergence keeps the earth from falling into the sun. The earth v/c = 30k/300M and the angle is 89 degrees 59 minutes and 39 seconds.


  4. Deryl McCarty Says:

    This bubble theory could explain a few phenomena.

    1. If at the universe level (macro level) the bubbles are uniform, they may not be uniform at the galactic level (aka micro level), which in turn would allow us to posit that C is not equal to C where the bubbles are more concentrate (or the Planck constant is not equal to the Plank Constant at those locations.
    2. That the bubbles composed of dark energy contained by cell “walls” of dark matter are pervious to anything visible object moving at V<C but at V approaching C the amount of energy it takes to breach a cell wall becomes infinitely greater hence it is a "resistance" that limits visible objects to a V always equal to or less than C (the local version of C).
    3. That at some point when we discover how to "see" these cells and both dark matter and energy (we'd have to rename them, since they would not be dark any more)we may well be able to "map" cell wall intersections and pilot along the intersections thereby avoiding having to "breach" a cell and avoiding cell wall "resistance" and not be thereby limited to piloting at V C in fact much much higher than C, but that everything, especially visible matter and energy, behind the initial cell-building shock wave would face the cell resistance and hence “revert” to type meaning that V is limited to C, but that with the huge concentration of cells (or the reverse) that the local (at that point universal) definition of C is much higher that today and decreasing as the universe expands.

    I am definitely not a physicist nor mathematician (as is patently obvious), but am a Sci-Fi nut and am always looking for a way to explain how I got to Warp 1. And please, before you laugh, remember: the philosopher (aka sci-fi writer) always leads the mathematician, who leads the physicist, who leads the engineers, who leads the moralists/ethicists, who lead the Sci-fi writer to paint the picture of the effects of a technology on how boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.


  5. Deryl McCarty Says:

    Oops, a section got left out: Insert between the “V C” in paragraph 3 a “<" and put a period after the C. Then insert after that period:

    4. The cell idea also allows us to posit that at the big bang, the initial shock wave of "all matter and energy" would face literally ZERO resistance. So that as that shock wave formed bubbles ….


  6. Leonardo Rubino Says:

    There’s a lot of hidden “relativity” in (quantum) Bohr’s atom…


  7. Wardell Says:

    Quantum Space is reflected in the general equation of Quaternion Energy
    W = -vh/l + cP where l=2pir, cP is the Momentum Energy aka Dark Energy. This energy has scalar/potential/Boson energy -vh/l and three D vector energy cP, vector/Fermion energy.

    For Quantum energy. electromagnetism, the velocity is v=Alpha Zc where Ahlpa is the Fine Structure Constant Alpha and Z is the Atomic Number and c the speed of light.

    The h is Planck’s Constant h= 2/3 E-33, but h is a space constant h=qw where q ia space charge and w is space magnetic field. These charge nd field are manifested in the free space impedance z=375 Ohms = w/q. Solving these equations gives w=500E-18 Volt seconds (Weber) and q= 4/3 E-18 Coulomb. The frees space is filled with these Quantum components. The Quantum charge, q=25e/3, is a a Quark(13U1d).

    Electromagnetic fields are related
    E = cw/lr = cB = zH = zcD = V/r

    Quaternion Physics unites Big and smll Physics,

    W = -vh/l + cP


  8. Madanagopal.V.C. Says:

    Hello Wardell! Centripetal and Centrifugal forces come into play in an ordinary circular motion, where there is no additional radiating force from the center. In the case of expanding galaxies you have an additional central force of galactic clusters or black hole influencing apart from centripetal force by mere circular motion. The centripetal force balancing this extraodinary force is just very trivial one, otherwise it should collapse in no time. Newton lived some 450 years ago, and we should not call his assumption to be valid today in non-classical mechanics. There is a central force probably by Dark Matter, which Newton was unaware, and it keeps the galaxies expanding and preventing the galaxies from crumbling to one point which will happen only in Black Hole singularity. Please don’t bring archaic Physics in todays realm of Science. Thank You.


    • Wardell Says:

      Hello Madanagopal! Newton is good today, W = -mGM/r, but not complete. He and others missed the Dark Energy cmV=cP, thus giving

      W = -mGM/r + cP. The -mGM/r produces the centripetal force and cDel.P produces the Centrifugal force. This not limited to circles, if the centrifugal force is larger there is a spiraling out as is seen. The rotation is due to cDELxP the curl, again the Dark Energy, cP. As you see the Dark Energy cP keeps the galaxy from collapsing and keeps it rotating.

      Newton did not know about Black Holes, because they are none! What are called Black holes are the consequences of gravity causing charged bodies to rotate. Charged bodies rotating creates an electric current which produce a magnetic field,
      B = uI/r, in the center of the rotation ! This rotation would b e contyrolled by Newton’s rate v=(GM/r)^.5. What we see is that the rotation is faster than Newton’s speed. That is because there is an external force added to Newton’s force,
      the Electromagnetic force F = eVxB= vp/r where the force is due to electron flow eV into the galaxy. The force creates a new speed
      v= (e/m)uI = (.16E-18C/.9E-30)1.25E-6 I = 176E9x1.25e-6I = 220K

      The velocity is v=220km/sI.

      Note the speed 220km/s at I=1 amp.

      The galactic rotation speed is faster because of the electromagnetic force and the speed is consistent with the electron flow into the galaxy, not so-called “Dark matter”. Dark matter is a fiction, electromagenetism is fact.

      Black holes are fiction, the center of the galaxy is the center of the electromagnetic B-field and is intense as the speed increases and the charged bodies moving away from the center because of the increase centrifugal force.

      The intense B-field can Jet matter out of the center.

      220km/s is a marker of electron flow creating the galactic rotation.


  9. daniel Says:

    I see a link It links all this BS to scientists and theorist who don’t know anything stop publishing theories start publishing facts.


  10. daniel Says:

    There are no black holes There is no dark energy antimatter antigravity not real if you don’t know how something works just say I don’t know when someone ask and keep working at it until you figure it out you will not learn anything by guessing theories must be testd if they don’t work for everything it is wrong we have theories that work for some things and not others it’s like the old saying goes even a blind hog find’s a ACORN once in a while.


  11. Madanagopal.V.C. Says:

    Hello Daniel! according to you there are no black holes, but will you call them as white energy which crumbles all the galaxies together? There is no Dark energy, or anti-gravitational energy alright! But will there be some green ,red or color energy which is capable of sending the galaxies apart in an ever expanding universe, at fantastic speed against all the gravitational collapsing energy? These are all experimentally verified facts. Will you supply some magic theory instead?? – Thank You.


  12. daniel Says:

    I don’t know exactly how these things work I know that the Tooth Fairy isn’t real people see fantastic things in inkblot test it doesn’t mean they’re real the only thing it proves is that people have wild imagination and you can teach them to believe anything black holes dark energy anti gravity are all theories not fact that means they have never been proven. science today very much resembles relation these things are there if you have faith in them don’t be upset just because other people don’t have the same beliefs that you have if we all look at questions from different point of views we will surely find the right answers on the other hand if you teach that theories are facts science cannot move forward remember there was once a theory that the world was flat and earth was at the center of the universe if dark matter and black holes have been scientifically proven without any doubt please share link so I maybe enlightened


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