Physicists have been searching for a quantum theory of gravity some time. Most believe that the new theory will require some kind of modification to general relativity or quantum theory.
One of the ideas in vogue at the moment is that general relativity is actually an emergent phenomenon from some deeper physics.
Now Tomasz Konopka from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and others are developing an idea called quantum graphity that could prove it.
The thinking is that on a fundamental level the universe is like a dynamic graph with vertices and nodes. At high energies, this graph is highly connected and symmetric. But at low energies, it condenses into a system that has properties such as a geometry, thermodynamics and locality (the property that distant objects cannot influence each other).
That sounds suspiciously like the universe we live in, which is manna to theoretical physicists.
Could this so-called “quantum graphity” be the deeper physics from which general relativity emerges?
Who knows but a few physicists think it’s worth exploring further. The idea raises various interesting questions. What is the nature of the temperature at which the condensation occurs? Is it a real physical temperature or something else? How exactly do the familiar properties of geometry and gravity behave in this model?
And, most important of all, what evidence might we look for to confirm the idea that a condensation took place earlier in the history of the cosmos? If these guys can make some kind of testable prediction, then quantum graphity will alreayd be one giant step ahead of every other attempt to create a quantum theory of gravity.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0801.0861: Quantum Graphity: a Model of Eemergent Locality