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Heising-Simons Foundation Awards $3 Million for Informing Gravity Theory

Green funding announcement graphic.

This month, the Heising-Simons Foundation’s Science program awarded $3 million over three years for two theoretical and experimental research projects on Informing Gravity Theory in the laboratory. These projects focus on exploring how the platforms and techniques of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics can elucidate simple models of quantum gravity and inform the construction of more complex models applicable to the world we inhabit.

The Foundation awarded five grants to six institutions.

The Foundation awarded one grant to a multi-investigator collaboration centered at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) and JILA—a joint institute of CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The project team consists of internationally recognized experts in atomic physics (Dr. Ana Maria Rey, Professor Adjoint and Fellow at CU Boulder and JILA), holography and quantum gravity (Dr. Andrew Lucas, Assistant Professor at CU Boulder, and Dr. Chris Akers, Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study), and experimental quantum simulation using tweezer arrays (Dr. Adam Kaufman, Associate Professor Adjoint and Fellow at CU Boulder and JILA) and optical cavities (Dr. James Thompson, Professor Adjoint and Fellow at CU Boulder and JILA).

CU Boulder and JILA’s project focuses on two key questions: 1) What models are both feasible to implement in experiment, yet also can give rise to quantum emergent spacetime; and 2) How can such emergent spacetime be unambiguously verified in experiment?

The Foundation made the other four grants to Dr. Brian Swingle, Associate Professor of Physics at Brandeis University; Dr. Soonwon Choi, Assistant Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Manuel Endres, Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology; and Dr. Monika Schleier-Smith, Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University. Dr. Swingle, Dr. Choi, Dr. Endres, and Dr. Schleier-Smith’s project has three main research thrusts: information dynamics in black holes, fundamental bounds on quantum dynamics from gravity, and the emergence of geometry from entanglement.

Learn more about the Foundation’s Science program and all of its grants here.

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