The formulation of a quantum theory of gravity remains the major outstanding challenge to our understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe. This project will explore phenomena where our existing theories of general relativity and quantum field theory should be able to provide clues towards discovering the essential features that a quantum theory of gravity must possess. Prominent among these phenomena is the decoherence of a quantum superposition of a massive body resulting from the presence of a black hole or cosmological horizon and the role of gravitons (as opposed to the Newtonian field of the body) in this decoherence. Issues regarding the entropy of black holes will also be investigated.
The project will bring together researchers in general relativity, quantum field theory, and quantum information theory, and will disseminate the results to a broader community. The project will require support of a graduate student, travel funds, as well as funds to hold a conference. It is expected that an extensive series of journal publications will result from the research activities and that these publications together with enhanced interactions among researchers will have a substantial impact on the field.