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High Energy-Astrophysics | Holographic Noise in Michelson Interferometers: a Direct Experimental Probe of Unification at the Planck Scale

Monday, March 22, 2010
4:00 AM
335 West Hall

Speaker: Craig Hogan (Fermilab and University of Chicago)


Classical spacetime and quantum mass-energy form the basis of all of physics. They become inconsistent with each other at the Planck scale, 5.4 × 10-44 seconds, which may signify a need for reconciliation in a unified theory. Although proposals for unified theories exist, a direct experimental probe of this scale, 16 orders of magnitude above Everton energy, has seemed hopelessly out of reach. However in a particular interpretation of holographic unified theories, derived from black hole evaporation physics, a world assembled out of Planck-scale waves displays effects of unification with a new kind of uncertainty in position at the Planck diffraction scale, the geometric mean of the Planck length and the apparatus size. In this case a new phenomenon may measurable, an indeterminacy of spacetime position that appears as noise in interferometers. The colloquium will discuss the theory of the effect, and our plans to build a holographic interferometer at Fermilab to measure it.