Quantum Gravity

This series consists of talks in the area of Quantum Gravity.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Thursday Apr 17, 2014
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Arguments that gravity cannot be a local renormalizable quantum field theory come from both field theory lore and black hole physics. Two current approaches to quantum gravity, asymptotic safety and Horava-Lifshitz gravity, both of which treat quantum gravity as a local renormalizable QFT, are explicitly constructed to counter field theory arguments about the non-renormalizability of gravity. However, any proposed renormalizable theory of quantum gravity must also answer black hole physics based counter-arguments.

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Thursday Apr 10, 2014
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Lorentz invariance is considered a fundamental symmetry of physical theories. However, while Lorentz violations are strongly constrained in the matter sector, constraints in the gravitational sector are weaker, allowing to contemplate the idea of Lorentz-violating gravity theories. In this talk I will discuss the effects of Lorentz violations in the quantum cosmology scenario by analyzing the properties of a simple anisotropic model in the framework of Horava-Lifshitz gravity and, if time permitting, some partial results on the viability of this class of theories.

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Thursday Apr 03, 2014

The perturbative series of colored group field theory are governed by a combinatorial 1/N-expansion. Controlling its coefficients is essential in order to understand the continuum limit. I will show how such a program is naturally related to higher-dimensional generalizations of trees in a colored Boulatov-Ooguri model, and present some partial results on the enumeration of such strucures in melonic graphs. This talk is mainly based on recent results by Baratin, Carrozza, Oriti, Ryan, and Smerlak ("Melonic phase transition in group field theory".

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Thursday Mar 27, 2014
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Recent implications of results from quantum information theory applied to black holes has led to the confusing conclusions that requires either abandoning the equivalence principle (e.g. the firewall picture), or the no-hair theorem (e.g. the fuzzball picture), or even more unpalatable options. The recent discovery of a pulsar orbiting a black hole opens up new possibilities for tests of theories of gravity. We examine possible observational effects of semiclassical quantum gravity in the vicinity of black holes, as probed by pulsars and event horizon telescope imaging of flares.

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Thursday Mar 06, 2014
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Loop quantum gravity has a spinorial representation. Spinors simplify the symplectic structure of the theory, but can they also teach us something about the dynamics? We study this question in three dimensions, and derive the Ponzano–-Regge model from a spinorial action. Our construction starts from the first-order Palatini formalism, and gives the discretised action in the spinorial representation. A one-dimensional refinement limit brings us back to a continuum theory. The three-dimensional action turns into a line integral over the edges of the discretisation.

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Thursday Feb 27, 2014
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I review a class of nonlocally modified gravity models which were proposed to explain the current phase of cosmic acceleration without dark energy. Among the topics considered are deriving causal and conserved field equations, adjusting the model to make it support a given expansion history, why these models do not require an elaborate screening mechanism to evade solar system tests, degrees of freedom and kinetic stability, and the negative verdict of structure formation.

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Thursday Feb 20, 2014
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We compute quantum corrections to the Raychaudhuri equation, by replacing classical geodesics with quantal (Bohmian) trajectories, and show that they prevent focusing of geodesics, and the formation of conjugate points. We discuss implications for the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems, and for curvature singularities. Reference: arXiv: 1311.6539

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Thursday Feb 13, 2014
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It has been argued that if black hole evaporation is a unitary quantum process, then a black hole horizon must be cloaked by a "firewall", i.e. a highly excited state of local quantum fields. This reasoning is based on factorizing the Hilbert space into interior and exterior degrees of freedom. Such factorization ignores the Wheeler-deWitt constraint equation, which arises from the diffeomorphism invariance of quantum gravity. I will argue that this constraint evades the firewall.

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Wednesday Jan 29, 2014
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By focusing on aspects of black hole thermodynamics, I will present some evidences supporting the unexpected role of the complex self-dual variables in quantum gravity. This will also be the occasion of revisiting some aspects of three-dimensional gravity, and in particular the link between the BTZ black hole and the Turaev-Viro state sum model. Also the information on the website for next week needs to be modified: We will not have a seminar on Thursday (as Thursday is PI day).

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Thursday Jan 23, 2014
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In this talk I will review the interpretation of Wilson line operators in the context of higher spin gravity in 2+1 dim and holography. I will show how a Wilson line encapsulates the thermodynamics of black holes. Furthermore it provides an elegant description of massive particles. This opens a new window of observables which will allow us to probe the true geometrical nature of higher spin gravity.

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