Any of the various explanations of gravity as a quantum theory, including string theory and loop quantum gravity.

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Why does Stephen Hawking say black holes don't exist?

Recently, I read in the journal Nature that Stephen Hawking wrote a paper claiming that black holes do not exist. How is this possible? Please explain it to me because I didn't understand what he ...
76
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5answers
23k views

What is the actual significance of the amplituhedron?

The news that physicists have discovered a geometrical object that simplifies a lot our models of quantum physics has recently became viral. For an outsider like me, it is difficult to actually ...
44
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2answers
750 views

Analog Hawking radiation

I am confused by most discussions of analog Hawking radiation in fluids (see, for example, the recent experimental result of Weinfurtner et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 021302 (2011), ...
43
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5answers
6k views

A list of inconveniences between quantum mechanics and (general) relativity?

It is well known that quantum mechanics and (general) relativity do not fit well. I am wondering whether it is possible to make a list of contradictions or problems between them? E.g. relativity ...
30
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2answers
2k views

Why is gravity such a unique force?

My knowledge on this particular field of physics is very sketchy, but I frequently hear of a theoretical "graviton", the quantum of the gravitational field. So I guess most physicists' assumption is ...
29
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2answers
3k views

Does the Planck scale imply that spacetime is discrete?

On a quantum scale the smallest unit is the Planck scale, which is a discrete measure. There several question that come to mind: Does that mean that particles can only live in a discrete grid-like ...
28
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2answers
2k views

What are Stephen Hawking's main contributions to research-level physics?

Without a doubt, Stephen Hawking is the most famous living scientist; indeed, his public visibility in all of history seems to be rivaled only by Einstein and easily eclipses giants of physics such as ...
25
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5answers
2k views

Is the graviton hypothetical?

Wikipedia lists the graviton as a hypothetical particle. I wonder whether graviton is indeed hypothetical or does its existence directly follow from modern physics? Does observation of gravitational ...
20
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3answers
220 views

Twistors in Curved Spacetime

I am looking for good and recent references to constructing twistor space for curved spacetime. This could be a general spacetime, or specific ones (say maximally symmetric spaces different from ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Why is gravity so hard to unify with the other 3 fundamental forces?

Electricity and magnetism was unified in the 19th century, and unification of electromagnetism with the weak force followed suit, bringing into play the electroweak force. I've been told that ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Give a description of Loop Quantum Gravity your grandmother could understand

Of course, assuming your grandmother is not a theoretical physicist. I'd like to hear the basics concepts that make LQG tick and the way it relates to the GR. I heard about spin-networks where one ...
18
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6answers
2k views

Is the quantization of gravity necessary for a quantum theory of gravity?

The other day in my string theory class, I asked the professor why we wanted to quantize gravity, in the sense that we want to treat the metric on space-time as a quantum field, as opposed to, for ...
18
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1answer
610 views

Does local physics depend on global topology?

Motivating Example In standard treatments of AdS/CFT (MAGOO for example), one defines $\mathrm{AdS}_{p+2}$ as a particular embedded submanifold of $\mathbb R^{2,p+1}$ which gives it topology ...
17
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4answers
442 views

What does the equivalence principle mean in quantum cases?

We know that electron trapped by nuclear, like the hydrogen system, is described by quantum state,and never fall to the nuclear. So is there any similar situation in the case of electron near the ...
16
votes
6answers
562 views

Classic Literature in Quantum Gravity?

I've seen it said in various places that a major reason people like string theory as a theory of quantum gravity is that it does a good job of matching our prejudices about how a quantum gravity ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Diff(M) as a gauge group and local observables in theories with gravity

In a gauge theory like QED a gauge transformation transforms one mathematical representation of a physical system to another mathematical representation of the same system, where the two mathematical ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Is decoherence even possible in anti de Sitter space?

Is decoherence even possible in anti de Sitter space? The spatial conformal boundary acts as a repulsive wall, thus turning anti de Sitter space into an eternally closed quantum system. Superpositions ...
16
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3answers
644 views

Is there a thought experiment which brings to light the contradiction between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics?

I've been told that GR and QM are not compatible, is there an intuitive reason/thought experiment which demonstrates the issue? (Or one of the issues?)
15
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3answers
1k views

Wouldn't angular momentum of a binary star system decrease?

Consider a binary star system, as these stars go around one another they would emit gravitational waves. Since, the graviton is a spin 2 particle. Wouldn't the angular momentum of the stars decrease? ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Why don't we have a theory of everything?

What is currently stopping us from having a theory of everything? i.e. what mathematical barriers, or others, are stopping us from unifying GR and QM? I have read that string theory is a means to ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Is String Theory formulated in flat or curved spacetime?

String Theory is formulated in 10 or 11 (or 26?) dimensions where it is assumed that all of the space dimensions except for 3 (large) space dimensions and 1 time dimension are a compact manifold with ...
15
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1answer
150 views

Instantons and Non Perturbative Amplitudes in Gravity

In perturbative QFT in flat spacetime the perturbation expansion typically does not converge, and estimates of the large order behaviour of perturbative amplitudes reveals ambiguity of the ...
14
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8answers
2k views

Reversing gravitational decoherence

[Update: Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful replies! I learned something extremely interesting and relevant (namely, the basic way decoherence works in QFT), even though it wasn't what I thought I ...
14
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4answers
5k views

Is spacetime discrete or continuous?

Is the spacetime continuous or discrete? Or better, is the 4-dimensional spacetime of general-relativity discrete or continuous? What if we consider additional dimensions like string theory ...
14
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6answers
2k views

Is the Planck length Lorentz invariant?

The planck length is defined as $l_P = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}}$. So it is a combination of the constants $c, h, G$ which I believe are all Lorentz invariants. So I think the Planck length should ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Is there a maximum possible acceleration?

I'm thinking equivalence principle, possibilities of unbounded space-time curvature, quantum gravity ...
13
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3answers
951 views

Has the black hole information loss paradox been settled?

This question was triggered by a comment of Peter Shor's (he is a skeptic, it seems.) I thought that the holographic principle and AdS/CFT dealt with that, and was enough for Hawking to give John ...
13
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2answers
717 views

Why one-dimensional strings, but not higher-dimensional shells/membranes?

One way that I've seen to sort-of motivate string theory is to 'generalize' the relativistic point particle action, resulting in the Nambu-Goto action. However, once you see how to make this ...
13
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3answers
1k views

What is the current state of research in quantum gravity?

I was browsing through this and was wondering what progress in quantum gravity research has taken place since the (preprint) publication. If anyone can provide some helpful feedback I would be ...
13
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2answers
424 views

Why does nonlinearity in quantum mechanics lead to superluminal signaling?

I recently came across two nice papers on the foundations of quantum mechancis, Aaronson 2004 and Hardy 2001. Aaronson makes the statement, which was new to me, that nonlinearity in QM leads to ...
13
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1answer
179 views

6d Massive Gravity

Massive gravity (with a Fierz-Pauli mass) in 4 dimensions is very well-studied, involving exotic phenomena like the vDVZ discontinuity and the Vainshtein effect that all have an elegant and physically ...
13
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3answers
560 views

Extremal black hole with no angular momentum and no electric charge

A black hole will have a temperature that is a function of the mass, the angular momentum and the electric charge. For a fixed mass, Angular momentum and electric charge are bounded by the extremality ...
13
votes
0answers
452 views

How is Matter Modelled in Loop Quantum Gravity?

I have a basic understanding of how gravitational degrees of freedom are modelled in loop quantum gravity, but as far as I know, the main machinery - spin network states and observables, does not ...
12
votes
4answers
863 views

Why is there a search for an exchange particle for gravity?

If I understand correctly, according to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, mass results in a distortion in space-time. In turn, the motion of the mass is affected by the distortion. A result of ...
12
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3answers
548 views

How do we know that nonperturbative canonical quantum gravity is wrong?

In these forums and elsewhere it is routinely agreed that "we do not have a theory of quantum gravity." My question is, how do we know that canonical quantum gravity is "wrong"? I understand that the ...
12
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5answers
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The final death of a black hole

What are the different death scenarios for a black hole? I know they can evaporate through Hawking radiation - but is there any other way? What if you just kept shoveling more and more mass and ...
12
votes
4answers
710 views

What exactly does the holographic principle say?

Does the holographic principle say given a spatially enclosing boundary satisfying the Bousso condition on expansion parameters, the log of the number of microstates in its interior is bounded by ...
12
votes
1answer
337 views

Quantum uncertainty of particle falling in black hole

A stationary observer at infinity sees a particle of mass m falling in a supermassive Schwarzschild black hole. He observes an increasing redshift and sees the particle ceasing to progress when it ...
11
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5answers
3k views

How to get Planck length

I know that what Planck length equals to. The first question is, how do you get the formula $$\ell_P~=~\sqrt\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}$$ that describes the Planck length? The second question is, will any ...
11
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3answers
633 views

Is there any quantum-gravity theory that has flat space-time and gravitons?

Many quantum-gravity theories are strongly interacting. It is not clear if they produce the gravity as we know it at low energies. So I wonder, is there any quantum-gravity theory that a) is a well ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What happens when a black hole and an “anti-black-hole” collide?

Let's say we have one black hole that formed through the collapse of hydrogen gas and another that formed through the collapse of anti-hydrogen gas. What happens when they collide? Do they (1) ...
11
votes
1answer
352 views

What is the CFT dual to pure gravity on AdS$_3$?

Pure $2+1$-dimensional gravity in $AdS_3$ (parametrized as $S= \int d^3 x \frac{1}{16 \pi G} \sqrt{-g} (R+\frac{2}{l^2})$) is a topological field theory closely related to Chern-Simons theory, and at ...
11
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2answers
314 views

How is causal patch complementarity compatible with behavior during inflation?

Causal patch complementarity is the conjecture that in de Sitter space with a positive cosmological constant, the states within the causal patch are sufficient to fully describe the universe with the ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

What are cosmological “firewalls”?

Reading the funny title of this talk, Black Holes and Firewalls, just made me LOL because I have no idea what it is about but a lively imagination :-P (Sorry Raphael Bousso but the title is just too ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Can Loop Quantum Gravity connect in any way with string theory?

The one difficulty I see with LQG is that it requires an enormous number of degrees of freedom, e.g. these spin variables in the net. This is in contrast to stringy holographic theory where the ...
10
votes
3answers
500 views

Hawking radiation and quark confinement

The simple picture of Hawking radiation is that a pair-antiparticle pair is produced near the event horizon, then one falls into the black hole while the other escapes. Suppose the particles are ...
10
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2answers
941 views

Do traversable wormholes exist as solutions to string theory?

There has been some heated debate as to whether the laws of physics allow for traversable wormholes. Some physicists claim we require exotic matter to construct wormholes, but then others counter the ...
10
votes
5answers
956 views

What is the role spin-networks play in Loop Quantum Gravity?

This is a second question (in what will probably become a series) in my attempt to understand LQG a little. In the previous question I asked about the general concepts behind LQG to which space_cadet ...
10
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2answers
659 views

The Reeh-Schlieder theorem and quantum geometry

There have been some very nice discussions recently centered around the question of whether gravity and the geometry and topology of the classical world we see about us, could be phenomena which ...
9
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4answers
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Discussion of the Rovelli's paper on the black hole entropy in Loop Quantum Gravity

In a recent discussion about black holes, space_cadet provided me with the following paper of Rovelli: Black Hole Entropy from Loop Quantum Gravity which claims to derive the Bekenstein-Hawking ...