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According to John Wheeler’s summary of general relativity, “space-time tells matter how to move; matter tells space-time how to curve.” How this relationship plays out at the quantum scale is not known, because extending quantum experiments to curved space poses a challenge. In 2019, Alicia Kollár and colleagues at Princeton University met that challenge with a photonic circuit that represents the negatively curved space of an expanding universe [1]. Now, Igor Boettcher and colleagues at the University of Maryland, College Park, describe those experiments with a new theoretical framework [2]. Together, the studies offer a toolkit for studying quantum mechanics in curved space that could help answer fundamental questions about cosmology.

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Category: Science