Quantum Gravity LABORATORY
Our previous experimental studies gain more and more on popularity. The Big Bang Theory TV series mentioned "Hydrodynamic simulations of black holes" in Season 6, episode 24, 'The Bon Voyage Reaction'.
Unfortunately they got some things mixed up: It is not Hawking that measured the Unruh effect, it was Unruh that detected the Hawking effect. The way we did it, was to use an analogue gravity system. The first person to realize the possiblity to use analogue gravity systems to mearuse black hole evaporation (also referred to as Hawking radiation/effect) was Bill Unruh.
More information about the experiment mentioned in the Big Bang theory, and our new projects can found here.
In the beginning of 20th century two new theories appeared, that radically changed our understanding of the physical world. In 1916 Einstein introduced general relativity, which was to replace Newton's theory of gravitation. In the same period the scientific community was beginning to realize that matter at atomic and sub-atomic scales exhibits unexpected behaviour and that physical quantities associated to it appear to change in discrete amounts, referred to as quanta.
Quantum theory and general relativity set the foundations of modern physics, but at the same time they caused a divide. One of the main reasons for which progress is quantum gravity has not been as fast as we would have hoped is precisely the fact that the regimes in which it is relevant are particularly hard to access experimentally and observationally. Thankfully, this lack of experimental guidance can be to some extend compensated by the careful analysis of "analogue systems".