Searching for the Quantum Origins of Space and Time

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Einstein's theory of General Relativity has taught us that empty space (or, more precisely, spacetime) is in itself a dynamical and wonderfully rich entity for both theoretical physicists and science fiction authors alike. Although it may stretch our imagination, astrophysical observations leave little doubt that spacetime can bend, move and vibrate. If we want to explain these phenomena from an underlying microscopic and more fundamental structure, we need to bring in quantum theory, leading to even more exotic possibilities such as spacetime foam and wormholes. Do they really exist? How would we know? Are they in conflict with known physics? At least some of these questions may already be within the reach of our fundamental physical theories, not just qualitatively, but also quantitatively. In this talk, Professor Loll will share her insights into how much we know and how much we can still hope to learn about quantum gravity - the elusive quantum theory of space and time.