Emergent time - operationalism, quantum clocks and thermodynamics
Time remains one of the most elusive concepts in quantum physics. It appears only as a parameter that can never be directly measured, but only inferred from correlations with other quantum systems, which we use as clocks. In this project, we take an operational approach to time which can only refer to actually observed ticks of a clock. This allows us to consider how the fundamental limits of quantum measurements modify this 'parametric' view and an exploration of the connection between the arrow of time and the second law of thermodynamics. In fact, our aim is to go one step further and elevate operationalism to a fundamental principle, and seek to develop a model where the concept of time itself emerges from the correlations between quantum systems.
The ESQ provides highly flexible sources of funding in high-risk projects that would otherwise be hard to get funded. Especially for basic science and foundational projects, this creates a framework of intellectual freedom that is required for real progress.