A Rubicon grant was awarded to UvA PhD-candidate Benjamin Mosk for his research proposal ‘Gravity by Entanglement’, by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research NWO. The grant provides funding for two years of postdoctoral research. Benjamin Mosk will start his research at Stanford University in October 2015, under the supervision of Leonard Susskind. He will investigate the relation between gravity and quantum entanglement.
The theory of general relativity has taught us many things about gravity. However, it fails to explain gravity at the quantum level. At high energies and in the early universe, the intuitive description of spacetime breaks down. Luckily, general relativity gave us some hints where to look next. The study of black holes revealed a fundamental relation between gravity and entropy.
This relation between gravity and entropy became even more apparent in holography. The holographic principle states that the fundamental degrees of freedom in a volume of space can be described by a model on the boundary of such a volume, just like a hologram uses only two dimensions to form a three dimensional image. In holography, gravity is intimately related with the entropy of quantum entanglement.
In his research, Benjamin Mosk will attempt to define a ‘point of spacetime’ in terms of entanglement entropies. A proper definition of such a fundamental building block allows us to address the question: when is spacetime well behaved and when does our intuitive picture break down? Recent work of Stanford postdocs Bartlomiej Czech and James Sully provides a first step in this direction. Benjamin Mosk will use methods from holography as well as integral geometry and quantum information theory.
The Rubicon funding programme offers talented researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands. International research experience is likely to be an advantage in the applicant's academic career.