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Category# Quantum gravity

Summary

Quantum gravity (QG) is a field of theoretical physics that seeks to describe gravity according to the principles of quantum mechanics. It deals with environments in which neither gravitational nor quantum effects can be ignored, such as in the vicinity of black holes or similar compact astrophysical objects, such as neutron stars as well as in the early stages of the universe moments after the Big Bang
Three of the four fundamental forces of nature are described within the framework of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory: the electromagnetic interaction, the strong force, and the weak force; this leaves gravity as the only interaction that has not been fully accommodated. The current understanding of gravity is based on Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which incorporates his theory of special relativity and deeply modifies the understanding of concepts like time and space. Although General Relativity is highly regarded for its elegance it is not without limitations: the gravitational singularities inside of black holes, the ad. hoc. postulation of Dark Matter, as well as Dark Energy and it's relation to the Cosmological Constant are among the current unsolved mysteries regarding gravity; all of which signal the collapse of the general theory of relativity at different scales and highlight the need for a gravitational theory that goes into the quantum realm. At distances close to the Planck length, like those near the center of the black hole, quantum fluctuations of spacetime are expected to play an important role. The breakdown of general relativity at galactic and cosmological scales also points out the necessity for a more robust theory. Finally the discrepancies between the predicted value for the vacuum energy and the observed values (which, depending on the considerations, can be of 60 or 120 orders of magnitude) highlight the necessity for a quantum theory of gravity.
The field of quantum gravity is actively developing, and theorists are exploring a variety of approaches to the problem of quantum gravity, the most popular being M-theory and loop quantum gravity.

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Quantum field theory in curved spacetime

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory in curved spacetime (QFTCS) is an extension of quantum field theory from Minkowski spacetime to a general curved spacetime. This theory uses a semi-classical approach; it treats spacetime as a fixed, classical background, while giving a quantum-mechanical description of the matter and energy propagating through that spacetime. A general prediction of this theory is that particles can be created by time-dependent gravitational fields (multigraviton pair production), or by time-independent gravitational fields that contain horizons.

S-matrix theory

S-matrix theory was a proposal for replacing local quantum field theory as the basic principle of elementary particle physics. It avoided the notion of space and time by replacing it with abstract mathematical properties of the S-matrix. In S-matrix theory, the S-matrix relates the infinite past to the infinite future in one step, without being decomposable into intermediate steps corresponding to time-slices. This program was very influential in the 1960s, because it was a plausible substitute for quantum field theory, which was plagued with the zero interaction phenomenon at strong coupling.

Holographic principle

The holographic principle is a property of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region — such as a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard 't Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind, who combined his ideas with previous ones of 't Hooft and Charles Thorn.

Physical cosmology

Physical cosmology is a branch of cosmology concerned with the study of cosmological models. A cosmological model, or simply cosmology, provides a description of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and allows study of fundamental questions about its origin, structure, evolution, and ultimate fate. Cosmology as a science originated with the Copernican principle, which implies that celestial bodies obey identical physical laws to those on Earth, and Newtonian mechanics, which first allowed those physical laws to be understood.

Topics in quantum field theory

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework that combines classical field theory, special relativity, and quantum mechanics. QFT is used in particle physics to construct physical models of subatomic particles and in condensed matter physics to construct models of quasiparticles. QFT treats particles as excited states (also called quanta) of their underlying quantum fields, which are more fundamental than the particles.

General relativity

General relativity, also known as the general theory of relativity and Einstein's theory of gravity, is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915 and is the current description of gravitation in modern physics. General relativity generalizes special relativity and refines Newton's law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time or four-dimensional spacetime.

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, , , , , , , , ,

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