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The guiding question of this project is what comes first in the order of explanation, entanglement or space? Entanglement is the most elusive aspect of quantum mechanics. It is what makes quantum physics non-classical, exemplified by entanglement being what allows quantum computers to perform tasks beyond the capabilities of traditional computers. From its workings in, for instance quantum computers, it would seem most natural to assume that entanglement is a feature of things that already stand in spatial relations to each other. We will instead investigate the possibility that entanglement is more fundamental than spatiality.

To investigate this possibility, the project leader (Halvorson) proposes to hire a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in physics and philosophy complementary to his own expertise in mathematics and philosophy. Together with the postdoc, Halvorson will investigate this question, and publish results in several research articles.

This project is needed because current research on this topic has been stalled by lack of interdisciplinary expertise. Within quantum gravity research, speculations already exist that entanglement and space are connected. These works, however, reflect little on the order of explanation between space and entanglement, and they operate with a rather limited mathematical toolkit. And within philosophy of physics, the connection between space and entanglement has barely been noticed. This project thus takes an interdisciplinary approach to the connection between space and entanglement. The project will contribute to developing a coherent metaphysical, mathematical, and physical picture of the world where entanglement is more fundamental than space.

The impact of the project will be both immediate (in delivering new research results, and in fostering the career of younger researchers) and long-term (in encouraging the pursuit of Big Questions in physics).