Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 12:07 am | Fair 51º



July 15, 2015 from 7:00pm - 8:30pm

GRITtalks: Ground-breaking Research/Innovative Technology

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics: Spacetime Versus the Quantum

The event is free, but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat.

Dr. Polchinski will talk about the search for a unified theory of the laws of physics including quantum mechanics, which governs the very small, and general relativity, which governs the very large. Stephen Hawking showed 40 years ago that these theories make conflicting predictions near black holes. This ignited a battle that continues to this day: either quantum mechanics must break down, or our understanding of spacetime must be wrong. The latest is the `firewall’ paradox: if quantum mechanics is to be saved, then an astronaut falling into a black hole will have an experience very different from what Einstein’s theory predicts. This has led to many new ideas that may lead to the unification of these two great theories.


Joseph Polchinski (Joe) received his BS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1975, and his PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley in 1980. After two-year stints as a research associate at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and at Harvard, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984. He moved to UC Santa Barbara in 1992, where he is a Professor of Physics and a Permanent Member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Reception will follow in the Michael Douglas Lobby.

This event is co-sponsored by UCSB Summer Sessions, the Carsey-Wolf Center, and the Alumni Association.

For additional information on GRITtalks, go to


Event Details