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Is Quantum Gravity a Chern-Simons Theory?
February 15, 20162:00 pm – 3:00 pm (CDT)

Is Quantum Gravity a Chern-Simons Theory?


Andrew Waldron (University of California, Davis)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

We propose a model of quantum gravity in arbitrary dimensions defined by the BV quantization of a supersymmetric, infinite dimensional matrix model. This gives an (AKSZ-type) Chern-Simons theory with gauge algebra the space of observables of a quantum mechanical Hilbert space H. The model is motivated by previous attempts to formulate gravity in terms of non-commutative, phase space, field theories as well as the Fefferman-Graham curved analog of Dirac spaces for conformally invariant wave equations. The field equations are flat connection conditions amounting to zero curvature and parallel conditions on operators acting on H. These matrix-type models may give a better defined setting for a quantum gravity path integral. We demonstrate that its underlying physics is a summation over Hamiltonians labeled by a conformal class of metrics and thus a sum over causal structures. This gives in turn a model summing over fluctuating metrics plus a tower of additional higher spin modes-we speculate that these could yield improved UV behavior.

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