‘Conversations on quantum gravity’ is physicist Jay Armas’ new book on the ongoing search for a theory of everything. In the book, Armas talks to 37 researchers – inlcuding five Nobel laureates and two Fields medalists - who share the current debates, the impact of their own discoveries and those of others, and their motivations to pursue the biggest questions about the world around us.
The holy grail of modern theoretical physics is to find a theory of everything. Such a theory would combine all the forces of nature, including gravity, in a way consistent with the lessons we learned from quantum mechanics. ‘Conversations on quantum gravity’ addresses the question: how far are we from such a discovery?
Over the last few decades, multiple roads to finding a quantum theory of gravity have been proposed, but no obvious unifying description of nature has emerged. What is to be made of this situation? The book probes the state of the art in this daunting quest of theoretical physics by collecting critical interviews with nearly forty leading theorists in this field.
These broad-ranging conversations give important insights and candid opinions on the various approaches to quantum gravity, including string theory, loop quantum gravity, causal set theory and asymptotic safety. The unique, readable overview provides a gateway into cutting edge research for anyone who wishes to engage with the open problem of quantum gravity.
Jácome (Jay) Armas is an assistant professor at the UvA-Institute of Physics and coordinator of the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena. He completed his Ph.D. at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Bern and Université Libre de Bruxelles. His research interests span foundational issues in string theory, hydrodynamics and black holes, as well as emergent phenomena in quantum and soft matter. In addition to his research activities, Armas established Science & Cocktails, the international science outreach platform and event series. ‘Conversations on quantum gravity’, compiled over more than 10 years of mainly in-person interviews, is his gift to the physics community.
Conversations in quantum gravity, edited by Jácome (Jay) Armas, Cambridge University Press 2021, 716 pages, ISBN 9781107168879. To order: www.cambridge.org/9781107168879. Available from 26 August 2021.