This series consists of talks in the area of Quantum Gravity.
The relation between loop quantum gravity (LQG) and ordinary quantum field theory (QFT) on a fixed background spacetime still bears many obstacles. When looking at LQG and ordinary QFT from a mathematical perspective it turns out that the two frameworks are rather different: Although LQG is a true continuum theory its Hilbert space is defined in terms of certain embedded graphs which are labeled by irreducible representations of SU(2). The natural arena for ordinary QFT, on the other hand, is a Fock space which strongly uses the metric properties of the underlying continuum spacetime.
How sure are you that spacetime is continuous? One approach to quantum gravity, causal set theory, models spacetime as a discrete structure: a causal set. This talk begins with a brief introduction to causal sets, then describes a new approach to modelling a quantum scalar field on a causal set. We obtain the Feynman propagator for the field by a novel procedure starting with the Pauli-Jordan commutation function. The candidate Feynman propagator is shown to agree with the continuum result. This model opens the door to physical predictions for scalar matter on a causal set.
We review some recent results on tachyon nonperturbative solutions of the nonlocal, lowest-level, effective action of string field theory. It is shown how nonlocality is encoded in a spacetime diffusion equation and how the latter emerges from the symmteries of the full, background-independent theory.
The idea behind an intersection between loop quantum gravity and noncommutative geometry is to combine elements of unification with a setup of canonical quantum gravity. In my talk I will first review the construction of a semi-finite spectral triple build over an algebra of holonomy loops. Here, the loop algebra is a noncommutative algebra of functions over a configurations space of connections, and the interaction between the Dirac type operator and the loop algebra captures information of the kinematical part of canonical quantum gravity.
Collisions and subsequent decays of higher dimensional branes leave
behind three-dimensional branes, one of which could play the role of
our universe. This process also leads to the production of
one-dimensional branes, D-strings, and fundamental ones (F-strings),
known as cosmic superstrings. In the first part of this talk, I will discuss the mechanism we have proposed in order to explain the origin of the space-time dimensionality, while in the second part I will review formation and dynamics of cosmic superstrings.
I will discuss the contribution to black hole thermodynamics from a variation in the cosmological constant. The description of black hole with a cosmological constant is facilitated by introducing a two-form potential for the static Killing field. The resulting Smarr formula then includes a term proportional to the cosmological constant times an effective volume, which arises as the difference between the Killing potential on the horizon and the boundary at infinity.
As a necessary step towards the extraction of realistic results from Loop Quantum Cosmology, we analyze the physical consequences of including inhomogeneities. We consider a gravitational model in vacuo which possesses local degrees of freedom, namely, the linearly polarized Gowdy cosmologies. We carry out a hybrid quantization which combines loop and Fock techniques.
I comment on rather significant recent developments that are relevant for proposals I had presented in previous PI seminars. The Fermi/GLAST space telescope has reported observations that would naturally fit previous formalizations of Planck-scale-induced in-vacuo dispersion (but also quite a few other things). And the unexplained excess noise found at the GEO600 interferometer is just of the type that had been previously described in terms of phenomenological models of spacetime foam (but may well be caused by quite a few other things).