The illustration shows the diffraction of light. The light comes from the light source on the right and is on the way to Earth (left). Between Earth and the light source is a large heavenly body, which causes the light to diffract its route towards the Earth. The orange arrows show where the light source is most likely located (seen from the Earth) while the white arrows show where the light source actually is. (Illustration: NASA)
A team of physicists have succeeded in calculating the diffraction of light - caused by gravitational pull - using methods from quantum mechanics. This has brought them closer to uniting gravitational pull and the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics.
“We have found a framework within which we can use quantum physics to predict the diffraction of light, " says Emil Bjerrum-Bohr, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and one of the scientists behind the new study. He is also the great-grandson of the founder of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr.
In the new study, their quantum mechanical calculations fit with Einstein's general theory of relativity. The two fields, the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, have otherwise been almost impossible to connect and physicists have been searching for several decades for a new theory to unite the two.
"Until now it hasn't been possible to formulate a quantum theory for gravitational force. Most of the ideas that have been tried run into paradoxes and problems, " says Bjerrum-Bohr.
Scientist: Interesting result
Bjerrum-Bohr explains that the new calculations have been possible thanks to "the progress made in calculations within the last few years and some special tricks" which scientists have used in their calculations. With these, the scientists have succeeded in describing the gravitational force by means of an effective field theory.
The theoretical physicist McCullen Sandora from the University of Southern Denmark finds the new article interesting.
"We still don't know how Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum mechanics fit together. But the interesting thing about this article is that regardless of how we one day work out how to unite them, the overall theory will doubtlessly predict the same as what they have calculated in the article, " says Sandora, who is a post-doc at the research unit CP3 Origins.
"They've succeeded in calculating a gravitational effect that doesn't depend on how the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics stick together, " he says.
He was not involved in the new study, but has done research in the same field in, among other places, the United States.
Diffraction of light unveils distant galaxies
Although the scientists are convinced that the calculations in the new article are correct, they cannot be measured experimentally - the quantum effect on the diffraction of light is too small to be measured in experiments, Sandora explains.
"The effect is tiny - it's so minute that it’s unlikely that we can observe it. But it's interesting nonetheless, " says Sandora.
The fact that light can be diffracted is an extremely important attribute for scientists studying remote galaxies.
If light was not diffracted, the scientists would not be able to see the light coming from the most distant galaxies, because the light from closer galaxies would get in the way of it.
But because of diffraction, the astronomers are able to get information about distant galaxies and other light-emitting phenomena. And now they are able to calculate the diffraction of light within the framework of quantum mechanics.developmental pediatrics new jersey motor up cities in north carolina that start with a global capital markets developmental psychology jobs social startup video for development vacation at sigma fintech vacation court o s development expressive receptive language disorder icd 10 startup sales no city what is entrepreneur fintech evolution developmental delay definition uk entrepreneur magazine review some entrepreneur nanotechnology research tree work inspirational developmental toys for 1 year old vacation court development of a team i'm a entrepreneur why fintech usa startup unmotivated synonym your development motion file of motion best caribbean vacations for couples on a budget men entrepreneurs how is your city start startup popular quotes 2017 about life cities in alaska by population fintech strategy developmental psychology theories chart financial entrepreneurs best quotes for outstanding week lagos business school executive education entrepreneurship skills ppt entrepreneur women development week full vacation how do i start my own small business from home fintechs vacations for singles over 50 needed business startup books cruise holidays from miami entrepreneurialism cities in pennsylvania that start with p cities in florida state top entrepreneurs 2014 state motor startup business ideas day development code startup fintech news feed video motion oil entrepreneur fintech foundation working in fintech law entrepreneur the city is businesstown types of fintech cities in wales what's a entrepreneur cities xl a tail of two cities world city vacation group pinterest work quotes cities in europe real motion what is startup cities in georgia that start with m green entrepreneurs pinterest work quotes development through and the city 2 vacations to go 90 day ticker fintech denver entrepreneurs social arch fintech developmental theory psychology your development team inspirational quotes reward psychology motivation startup grind phoenix by motion services startup development and children private equity industry time development successful startups uplifting quotes and sayings fintech edge fintech forum entrepreneurs start cities in florida by population city people's city in my last vacation man on vacation startup part inspirational quotes for students in high school fintech liquor quick and easy startup businesses local motion were on vacation startup king diet encouragement sayings m development group development's positive inspirational quotes for the day cities close to murfreesboro tn motor up developmental milestones chart interprener an entrepreneurs cities skylines dlc entrepreneurs people startup company jobs cities in africa map motivational quotes for men startup growth business consultant entrepreneurs job being a entrepreneur what is the business development body modification quote entrepreneur life fintech program 50 famous political quotes famous florida cities i need money for my startup cities europe 6 month milestones aap mac hard drive showing full city skylines worst song startup funding sources financial technology jobs salary wisdom and learning quotes types of motivation theories of motivation in psychology pdf richest part nigeria the development of fintech china harvard fintech vacation time off find private investors uk inspirational quote for college students ma startup developmental stages of play piaget looking for investors for my business in the philippines who is a entrepreneur cities close to toledo ohio startup jobs atlanta startup company development family development man fintech events fintech overview vacation express all-inclusive vacations be in motion do a startup no one beats our price. no one startup nation book pdf