16:00 (CET) February 22, Prof. Dr. Konstantin Eder (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
Title: Spacetime from atoms - an introduction to loop quantum gravity
Abstract: The question of unification of quantum field theory and general relativity is currently one of the most central questions of fundamental physics. First attempts in this direction, trying to quantize gravity perturbatively failed: Due to perturbative non-renormalizability one has to fix infinitely many free parameters and therefore looses predictability.
Hence, alternative approaches towards the formulation of a quantum theory of gravity - such as string theory or loop quantum gravity (LQG) - have been proposed.
In contrast to string theory, loop quantum gravity (LQG) takes a more conservative viewpoint and quantizes gravity by introducing a new quantization technique which is non-perturbative and implements background independence - one of the central principles of general relativity - as much as possible. As an immediate consequence of the theory, it follows that the geometry of space is quantized. This leads to the intriguing picture that space may be interpreted as a kind of a molecule consisting of elementary quantized geometrical atoms.
This talk is meant to provide a broad introduction to the foundations of the theory. To this end, I will discuss central aspects of the classical as well as the quantum theory. In particular, the quantum geometric operators such as area and volume will be discussed as well as some of their most important properties. Moreover, I will outline the dynamics of theory and draw connections to so-called spin foam models. Finally, I will give an overview on recent developments of the theory and possible extensions including supersymmetric field theories.
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