It’s hard for Professor Brian Cox to hide his enthusiasm for black holes, and he didn’t really try as he explained to him record How advances in understanding celestial phenomena contribute to the development of quantum computing.
“The study of black holes in the past few years has changed our view of what space and time are,” Cox said. record Last week from Sydney, Australia where he was hosting his live show, horizons, before the December 2022 sweep across Asia. “We’ve seen close links between understanding black holes – the way they behave and how information can escape them – and quantum computing.”
Cox said that humans’ understanding of black holes has completely transformed over the past decade, bringing with it a previously unimaginable window into the theory of quantum gravity, and thus also into how quantum computers are built and operated.
“It is remarkable that the problems and challenges that we see and understand in the black hole information paradox, and things like quantum error-correcting codes—the way we protect quantum computers’ memory from errors—that intersection is intimate. It’s almost a complete crossover,” said the former physicist and musician. .
“You imagine that you want to see the quantum structure of space and time. What you really want to do is cut out a piece of space, so you can see how it relates to other parts of space, right? Now, you wouldn’t do that, except that the black hole does that. And that’s What a black hole is. So studying these things will give you an insight into the basic structure of space.”
That’s one reason Cox thinks projects like the Event Horizon Telescope – a group of eight ground-based radio telescopes around the world used to observe black holes – are so important. He is also a fan of the James Webb Telescope, the JPL Mars Sample Return mission, the Europa Clipper and the proposed large missions of gravitational wave detectors in space.
He referred to the current era as the “golden age” of space research.
“In a few years, it will be impossible to imagine astronomy without the James Webb Telescope in the same way it is impossible to imagine without Hubble,” Cox said.
Webb is able to look at the composition of the first galaxies, and is sensitive enough to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets.
“James Webb is one of the first tools, and certainly I think it would be fair to say the most powerful tool at the moment, in being able to examine that atmosphere and look for things like potential biosignatures,” Cox said.
Cox distinguishes between microbes and complex life – microbes are likely more abundant in the universe than complex life.
“I think there is probably on average one civilization in every galaxy,” the physicist said. “I think most people would agree. Not many. Whereas there may be microbes everywhere.” ®
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