Bianca Dittrich wins CAP-CRM Prize

account_circle By Scott Johnston
The 2024 CAP-CRM Prize recognizes Bianca Dittrich, Faculty Chair at Perimeter Institute, for her significant contributions to quantum gravity research.

The 2024 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics was awarded today to Perimeter Institute Faculty Chair Bianca Dittrich.

The award commends Dittrich for her “important contribution to our understanding of the problem of observables in quantum gravity, and for her advancement of spin foam approaches to quantum gravity.”

“Without a doubt, Bianca Dittrich is an incredibly deserving recipient of this year’s CAP-CRM Prize,” said Perimeter Institute Director Robert Myers. “She is a brilliant scientist and an international leader in quantum gravity. With acute technical and mathematical expertise and deep creativity, she has opened multiple new perspectives in our fundamental understanding of spacetime.”

Quantum gravity research aims to reconcile quantum field theory with Einstein’s theory of gravity. Both are highly successful theories fundamental to our understanding of the universe, but they remain incompatible. Uniting them is one of the grand challenges of modern physics.

Dittrich recently broke through a decades-long impasse in this area by demonstrating an entirely novel construction of quantum geometry, one which makes it possible to extract information about long-range physics.

Before this breakthrough, only one such construction was known, and it produced degenerate spacetimes that made long-range physics inaccessible, and was therefore ill-equipped to confirm whether the quantized geometry could replicate the predictions of general relativity. Dittrich’s new quantum geometry construction produces non-degenerate and nearly flat spacetimes similar to the observed universe, which has enabled rapid progress in this area.

Similarly revolutionary is Dittrich’s work developing “effective spin foams”, a tool that enables tests of quantum gravity models without the need for supercomputers, making them computationally feasible for the first time.

“I am deeply honoured, very happy, and thankful for receiving this prize,” said Dittrich. “I want to thank the CAP and the CRM for this recognition, as well as my remarkable colleagues, students, and collaborators, with whom it has been a joy to work alongside.”

The CAP-CRM Prize is jointly awarded by the Canadian Association of Physicists and the Centre de recherches mathématiques.

About PI

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 

For more information, contact:
Mike Brown
Manager, Communications & Media
519-569-7600 x5131