Quantum Gravity in a Nutshell

This week, Clifford Johnson takes us into the greatest breach in physics today: the gulf that divides general relativity from quantum physics. Both provide excellent solutions for the problems they were designed to solve, and yet they are in fundamental disagreement. General relativity describes stars, planets, and galaxies to a T, and quantum physics makes impeccable predictions about of the subatomic world. But when the two meet—in tiny but gravitationally extreme regimes like the inside of a black hole or the moment of the Big Bang—they break down. Will physicists ever be able to unite these two theories into a single system of “quantum gravity”? In three pencasts, Johnson explains why we need quantum gravity, how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go. Prepare to go deeper with each pencast.

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Clifford Johnson

    Clifford Johnson is a theoretical physicist at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on strongly coupled phenomena in a wide variety of physics topics including quantum gravity, particle physics, cosmology, black holes, string theory, field theory, and nuclear physics. His other activities include music, gardening, cooking, sketching, and writing. He's currently working on a graphic novel about physics. He blogs at Asymptotia.