This series consists of talks in the area of Quantum Gravity.
General relativity is invariant under diffeomorphisms, and
excitations of the metric corresponding to diffeomorphisms
are nonphysical. In the presence of a boundary, though --
including a boundary at infinity -- the Einstein-Hilbert
action with suitable boundary terms is no longer fully
invariant, and certain diffeomorphisms are promoted to
physical degrees of freedom. After briefly describing how
this happens in (2+1)-dimensional AdS gravity, I will
report on work in progress on the asymptotically flat case,
We present results from a study of Euclidean dynamical triangulations in an attempt to make contact with Weinberg's asymptotic safety scenario. We find that a fine-tuning is necessary in order to recover semiclassical behavior, and that once this tuning is performed, our simulations provide evidence in support of the asymptotic safety scenario for gravity. We discuss our motivation for the tuning and present our numerical results.
In the geometric models of matter, proposed in a joint paper with Michael Atiyah and Nick Manton, static particles like the electron or proton are modelled by Riemannian 4-manifolds. In this talk I will explain how the spin degrees of freedom appear in the geometric framework. I will also discuss a proposal for time evolution in one particular model, namely the Taub-NUT model of the electron.
The fact that the Einstein-Hilbert action, by itself, does not lead to a well-posed variational principle has become textbook knowledge. It can be made well-posed by the addition of suitable boundary terms. There are many boundary terms available in the literature, of which the most famous and most widely used is the Gibbons-Hawking-York (GHY) boundary term. The GHY term is ostensibly defined only for a non-null boundary. There have been very few efforts in the literature to extend its definition to null boundaries.
I will present recent result on constructing effective quantum gravity theory as a locally covariant QFT. The approach I advocate uses the BV formalism for dealing with the gauge freedom and Epstein-Glaser renormalization to control the UV divergences. I will show how gauge invariant observables that satisfy a weak notion of locality can be constructed in this framework and I will sketch the argument for perturbative background independence. Recently these ideas were applied to models relevant in cosmology.
In this talk I discuss the effects of nonlinear backreaction of small scale density inhomogeneities in general relativistic cosmology. It has been proposed that in an inhomogeneous universe, nonlinear terms in the Einstein equation could, if properly averaged and taken into account, affect the large scale Friedmannian evolution of the universe. In particular, it was hoped that these terms might mimic a cosmological constant and eliminate the need for dark energy. After reviewing some of these approaches, and some of their flaws, I will describe a perturbative framework (developed with R.