A groundbreaking theory may reconcile two massive explanations of how the universe works that have been at odds with one another.

Professor Jonathan Oppenheim and his team at University College London have proposed a theory reconciling the differences between quantum physics, which has been used to explain how the smallest particles in the universe work, and Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which explains how gravity affects spacetime. Quantum theory propounds that we do not know any particle’s position or velocity at the same time and we cannot know their position or velocity until they are measured. Quantum physics also contends that information is permanent; thus, when an object enters a black hole, the information it carries should be emitted back out. But general relativity argues that the information would be destroyed.

“Quantum theory and Einstein’s theory of general relativity are mathematically incompatible with each other, so it’s important to understand how this contradiction is resolved,” Oppenheimer writes in the scientific paper published in Physical Review X (PRX).

“Spacetime experiences random and violent fluctuations that exceed the expectations set by quantum theory,” Joseph Shavit notes at TheBrighterSide. “These fluctuations, if measured precisely enough, render the apparent weight of objects unpredictable.”

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“There is no strong case that gravity is exceptional, and the overwhelming consensus has been that we must quantize it along with all the other fields,” Oppenheimer states in the paper. “In part, this is due to a number of no-go theorems and arguments over the years purporting to require the quantization of the gravitational field.”

A result of the new theory is the “measurement postulate,” which posits that if you measure a quantum system, its wave function collapses and is eliminated. The supposition argues that *“*quantum superpositions naturally localize through their interaction with classical spacetime, obviating the need for this postulate,” Shavit explains, adding, “The postquantum theory offers a unique perspective, suggesting that the fundamental breakdown in predictability inherent to spacetime allows for information to be destroyed, resolving this long-standing paradox.”

“Experiments to test the nature of spacetime will take a large-scale effort, but they’re of huge importance from the perspective of understanding the fundamental laws of nature,” Professor Sougato Bose of UCL stated. “I believe these experiments are within reach – these things are difficult to predict, but perhaps we’ll know the answer within the next 20 years.”