Professor John Close

Professor John Close
Head of Department
Department of Quantum Science
Office phone
Physics 1 37

A light beam in curved space time

In this project, we will study  the propagation of a light beam in curved space time. We will be particulalry interested in the effect of the gravitational field produced by the beam itself on the classical and quantum properties of the beam. The project is suitable for students with a good knowledge of vector calculus but no knowledge general relativity, through to students with a good working knowledge of GR. The goals of the project will be adjusted appropriately to match the experience cof the student.


Gravity: what is left to find out ?

By dropping cold atoms at a temperature of 100 nK or less, we can measure gravity in our lab to state of the art precision. In a one second measurement time, the uncertainy in our knowledge in the fractional uncertainty of gravity is a few parts in 10^8 . There are good practical reasons to measure gravity to this precision. Our techniques are potentially applicable to mineral exploration, monitoring of the movement of underground water, oil well monitoring, carbon sequestration monitoring and precision inertial navigation.

In this project, we focus on fundamental physics and ask the question, what is left to know about gravity ? We will conisder this question in the context of alternate classical theories of gravity and possible quantum theories of gravity. We will take a practical approach to this problem belnding theory and experimental evidence. The aim is to propose some new tractiable questions and directions that will advance the field. The project suitabel for students who have a good background in vector calculus but no knledge of general relativity through to students who have a working knowledge of GR. The goals of the project will be matched to the experience cof the student.

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