Loop Gravity as the Dynamics of Topological Defects

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A charged particle can detect the presence of a magnetic field confined into a solenoid. The strength of the effect depends only on the phase shift experienced by the particle's wave function, as dictated by the Wilson loop of the Maxwell connection around the solenoid. In this seminar I'll show that Loop Gravity has a structure analogous to the one relevant in the Aharonov-Bohm effect described above: it is a quantum theory of connections with curvature vanishing everywhere, except on a 1d network of topological defects. Loop states measure the flux of the gravitational magnetic field through a defect line. A feature of this reformulation is that the space of states of Loop Gravity can be derived from an ordinary QFT quantization of a classical diffeomorphism-invariant theory defined on a manifold. I'll discuss the role quantum geometry operators play in this picture, and the perspective of formulating the Spin Foam dynamics as the local interaction of topological defects.