Physicists know little about what spacetime is made of or which rules it follows on very small scales. The latest research into quantum mechanics, however, could shed new light on the nature of the fabric of the universe, says theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario.
 
Arkani-Hamed will explain this idea Thursday at 7 P.M. EST in a public lecture that will be broadcast live here on this page. The talk, “Quantum Mechanics and Spacetime in the 21st Century,” is part of the Perimeter Institute’s public lecture series presented by Sun Life Financial.


 
“Theoretical physics really thrives on crises and paradoxes,” Arkani-Hamed says in a trailer video previewing the Webcast. And these days, there are plenty of scientific paradoxes to go around, such as the recent discovery of the so-called black hole firewall paradox, which suggests the laws of physics might break down at a black hole’s event horizon. Controversies such as this are making the current era one of the most exciting times ever to be a physicist, he says. “Many ideas of modern theoretical physics are on a collision course both with each other and with experiments.”
 
Arkani-Hamed is well known for his research into the possibility of extra dimensions beyond the four known dimensions of space and time, which he explained in an August 2000 Scientific American feature he co-authored, “The Universe's Unseen Dimensions.”
 
The public lecture will be viewable on this page as well as at http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca. Online viewers can pose questions to Arkani-Hamed by tweeting to @Perimeter and using the hashtag #piLIVE.