Arnold Sommerfeld Center

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Microscopic Nonlocality and Laplace's Demon

Neil Barnaby (Canadian Inst. Theor. Astrophys.)

06.05.2010 at 16:15 

In 1814 Laplace boldly declared that, given the position and velocity of every particle in the universe at some instant, it would merely be a computational problem to predict their subsequent motions arbitrarily far into the future. Notwithstanding the ignorance of quantum mechanics and chaos theory, this statement reflects a theoretical prejudice which underlies nearly all fields of physics. That is, Laplace was assuming that the laws of physics are local in time, even at very short distance scales. In this talk I will discuss the possibility that this assumption can be relaxed, as many theories of high energy particle physics (including string theory) suggest it must. I will show that microscopic nonlocality has interesting implications for early universe cosmology, and also discuss a rather surprising analogy between D-brane decay and theoretical biology.

Arnold Sommerfeld Center
Theresienstrasse 37
Room 348/349