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JU physicist among prestigious US grant recipients

JU physicist among prestigious US grant recipients

The international consortium Quantum Information Structure of Spacetime has won a prestigious grant, worth over 2 million dollars, from the John Templeton Foundation (USA). Dr Jakub Mielczarek from the Jagiellonian University Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science will be one of the main researchers responsible for running the project and the only Polish member of the research team.

 

The project will be led by Prof. Carlo Rovelli, the Italian researcher who has co-authored the loop quantum gravity theory, a world-famous expert in the field of physics of time, and one of the most widely read popular science book authors. Researchers from the University of Oxford, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada), the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Hong Kong, and Aix Marseille University also take part in the research. The project will last for three years, starting from 1 December 2019.

“The project aims to study the significance of quantum information theory in describing gravitational phenomena, which is related both to such fundamental issues as the possibility of interpreting spacetime as a manifestation of quantum entanglement and the possibility of conducting gravitational experiments with the use of quantum technology”, explains Dr Mielczarek.

The research in the abovementioned area is already underway in the Quantum Cosmos Lab (QCL), headed by Dr Mielczarek. So far, his team has carried out pioneering attempts to simulate quantum gravity using the available superconducting quantum computers. The Templeton Foundation grant will enable wide international cooperation in this field, including an international conference devoted to gravitational physics simulations on quantum computers, to be held in Kraków in 2021.

Research by the QCL is partially funded by the Sonata Bis grant of the National Science Centre. The project is an attempt to create a quantum theory of gravitational phenomena and other field theories characterised by curved phase spaces. The theoretical descriptions of physical fields that have been proposed to date are based on the assumption that phase spaces have zero curvature. In 2016 Dr Janusz Mielczarek and his collaborator Dr Tomasz Trześniewski proposed a new approach known as the Nonlinear Field Space Theory (NFST), rejecting this assumption. 

In 2019 Dr Jakub Mielczarek, together with his doctoral student Danilo Artigas and Prof. Carlo Rovelli, applied the NFST to describe the evolution of the Universe, showing that the compactness of the phase space leads to the recollapse of the Universe after the cosmological constant dominated phase. The results have also opened the door to using quantum computers to simulate gravitational systems, which is the subject of ongoing research.

Dr Jakub Mielczarek works at the Department of Theory of Complex Systems at the JU Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science. In 2012 he defended the PhD thesis Perturbations in Loop Quantum Cosmology, written under the supervision of Prof. Marek Szydłowski. He earlier worked at the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Warsaw and Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie in Grenoble. He specialises in the fields of quantum gravity and quantum cosmology. Besides physics, Dr Mielczarek is interested in complex systems, such as the brain and the nervous system, astrobiology, space exploration, and futurism. He co-founded the Garage of Complexity – an interdisciplinary academic makerspace at the Jagiellonian University and co-authored projects aimed at creating the modern version of Petri dish, a 3d bioprinter, and a stratospheric capsule designed for astrobiological research. In 2013 Dr Mielczarek won the Polityka weekly’s award for researchers. He received scholarships from the National Science Centre, the Foundation for Polish Science, and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

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