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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


Gonçalo Araújo Regado


Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Jesus College

PhD thesis: On the relationship between canonical quantum gravity and the holographic principle

Research interests
1. Holographic principle
2. Black hole information paradox
3. Quantum codes


My PhD focuses on developing a theory of quantum gravity. The answers to important questions such as:

  • What happens to a particle when it falls inside a black hole?
  • What happened just after the Big Bang?
  • Why is the Universe expanding?
  • What makes up the fabric of spacetime itself?

These all rely on understanding quantum gravity. There is a beautiful hypothesis roaming around theoretical physics. It is called the holographic principle and it states that all the information characterizing a volume of spacetime with gravity is encoded on its surface boundary…just like a 2D hologram can project a 3D image! My central aim is to understand how the interactions of the particles on the surface map onto the geometry of the spacetime inside. This is a stepping-stone to reaching a full theory of quantum gravity.


After graduating, Goncalo started a postdoc position at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, continuing his research in quantum gravity.


Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

I was inspired to pursue my research interests by the conceptual richness of the field. Paradoxes are the playground of the theorist and they require him/her to see things from a different perspective. My field is full of paradoxes! Stephen Hawking discovered one of the most notable: black holes evaporate, so… what happens to the information of the particles that fell inside? As our species delves deeper into the intricacies of such questions, we can begin appreciating “the complexity, the inconceivable nature… of Nature” –Richard Feynman. Humankind’s journey in this quest has been extraordinary. I want to take it further!