Physics Beyond the Event Horizon

The inside of a black hole is hidden behind broken equations and a gravitational field so strong that even light cannot escape. Although general relativity predicts that black holes exist, the theory breaks down at the event horizon. It is widely believed that understanding the inside of a black hole will require a new theory of physics: a theory of quantum gravity.

General relativity uses spacetime geometry to explain gravity. Knot Physics extends this geometric description by assuming that spacetime is a branched manifold. In Knot Physics, both quantum mechanics and gravity result from the behavior of the branches of spacetime. This theory of quantum gravity makes predictions about the interior of black holes, extending our knowledge of physics beyond the event horizon.

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At 4 kelvin, helium condenses into a liquid with properties similar to water or any other liquid. At 2 kelvin, helium becomes a superfluid with properties unlike any other fluid we can create.

One of the strangest properties of superfluid helium is that it has zero viscosity. A flowing liquid experiences viscosity that causes it to slow down; for instance, stirred coffee eventually stops spinning. Superfluid helium has zero viscosity, and it spontaneously creates vortices that spin without resistance.

In Knot Physics, superfluidity results from the properties of the branched spacetime manifold.

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Schrödinger’s Cat

At the center of physics is a conundrum that has persisted since the early days of quantum mechanics.

Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment involves a cat in a box. The cat is locked in a box with a vial of poison gas. The gas will be released if a radioactive atom decays. From outside the box, the experimenter does not know whether the cat is alive or dead. Schrödinger’s thought experiment illuminates a perplexing question: How can we reconcile quantum and classical physics?

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Visualizing Knots in Spacetime

In Knot Physics, elementary fermions—like electrons and quarks—are topological defects in the spacetime manifold, which we often refer to as knots.1 We can think of spacetime as a 3-dimensional manifold that changes over time; as such, the fermions of Knot Physics are topological defects in that 3-dimensional manifold.

To understand their topology, we first consider the 2-dimensional version of these topological defects and then extend the concept to 3 dimensions. We will use a process known as topological surgery, where we take familiar manifolds and then cut and glue them to create the topological defects.

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One of the most common questions that people ask about Knot Physics is why we are not affiliated with an institution. There are many advantages to working in academia, especially when it comes to communicating new ideas. The credentials that come along with an academic position are very helpful for reaching an audience. That said, there are also many constraints, including numerous demands on the time and attention of the researcher. 

When this project began, it was just an idea. Developing the idea required long periods of talking to no one and staring at walls—uninterrupted blocks of time that an academic career would not afford. As the idea progressed, it became clear that it had substance. Eventually, it was a fully formed theory that had developed as independent research.

From idea to theory

The theory began as a question: Can all of physics be described using only the spacetime manifold? General relativity succeeded in describing gravity as curvature of spacetime. Could that description be extended to particles? If spacetime can bend, perhaps it can bend so much that it forms a knot. What if those knots are the elementary particles?

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