A major goal of modern physics is to understand and test the regime where quantum mechanics and general relativity both play a role. Until recently, new effects of this regime were thought to be relevant only at high energies or in strong gravitational fields. I will discuss how and why looking at composite particles — with internal dynamical degrees of freedom — opens new avenues and may finally enable laboratory tests of quantum and general relativistic effects. I will also show that such particles have a natural interpretation as ideal quantum clocks, detectors, and even thermometers, and will highlight recent insights arising from this approach: e.g. that semi-classical states of free composite particles are not Gaussian but a new class of states derived from a new uncertainty inequality — for configuration space rather than for phase space variables.
Dr Magdalena Zych is a Research Fellow at the School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland. Her research areas of interest include quantum physics, Einstein's General Relativity, quantum gravity, and time in physics. Dr Zych was the recipient of the 2020 AIP Ruby Payne-Scott Early Career Research Award.