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

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81
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3answers
21k views

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 ...
74
votes
5answers
22k views

What is the actual significance of the amplituhedron?

A news has recently became viral that physicists have discovered a geometrical object that simplifies a lot our models quantum physics. For an outsider like me, it is difficult to actually understand ...
43
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2answers
717 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), ...
36
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5answers
5k 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 ...
25
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5answers
1k 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 ...
25
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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 ...
22
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2answers
2k 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 ...
19
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3answers
180 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 ...
18
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3answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
586 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
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 ...
17
votes
4answers
435 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
1k 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 ...
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
629 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
votes
6answers
501 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 ...
15
votes
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
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
14
votes
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
votes
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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there a maximum possible acceleration?

I'm thinking equivalence principle, possibilities of unbounded space-time curvature, quantum gravity ...
13
votes
3answers
905 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
votes
3answers
970 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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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
votes
2answers
379 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
votes
1answer
168 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
535 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
382 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
2answers
658 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
511 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
votes
4answers
684 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
328 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
votes
5answers
2k 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
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
812 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
584 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
votes
1answer
286 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
votes
2answers
295 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
478 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
votes
2answers
611 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 ...
10
votes
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) ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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5answers
968 views

Why is Mendel Sachs's work not taken seriously? Or is it? [closed]

Back in college I remember coming across a few books in the physics library by Mendel Sachs. Examples are: General Relativity and Matter Quantum Mechanics and Gravity Quantum Mechanics from General ...
9
votes
1answer
127 views

Quantum gravity at D = 3

Quantization of gravity (general relativity) seems to be impossible for spacetime dimension D >= 4. Instead, quantum gravity is described by string theory which is something more than quantization ...
9
votes
5answers
888 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
394 views

Does the dimensionality of phase space go up as the universe expands?

Ever since Hubble, it is well known that the universe is expanding from a Big Bang. The size of the universe had gone up by many many orders of magnitude as space expanded. If the dimensionality of ...