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17050056

On the path towards quantum gravity we find friction between temporal relations in quantum mechanics (QM) (where they are fixed and field-independent), and in general relativity (where they are field-dependent and dynamic). In this talk, I will erase that distinction. I encode gravity, along with other types of interactions, in the timeless configuration space of spatial fields, with dynamics obtained through a path integral formulation. The framework demands that boundary conditions for this path integral be uniquely given. Such uniqueness arises if a reduced configuration space can be defined and if it has a profoundly asymmetric fundamental structure. These requirements place strong restrictions on the field and symmetry content of theories encompassed here. When these constraints are met, the emerging theory has no non-unitary measurement process; the Born rule is given merely by a particular volume element built from the path integral in (reduced) configuration space. Time, including space-time, emerges as an effective concept; valid for certain curves in configuration space but not assumed from the start. When some notion of time becomes available, conservation of (positive) probability currents ensues. I will show that, in the appropriate limits, a Schroedinger equation dictates the evolution of weakly coupled source fields on a classical gravitational background. Due to the asymmetry of reduced configuration space, these probabilities and currents avoid a known difficulty of standard WKB approximations for Wheeler DeWitt in minisuperspace: the selection of a unique Hamilton-Jacobi solution to serve as background. I illustrate these constructions with a simple example of a quantum gravitational theory for which the formalism is applicable, and give a formula for calculating gravitational semi-classical relative probabilities in it. Although this simple model gives the same likelihood for the evolution of all TT gravitational modes, there is evidence that a slightly more complicated model would favor modes with the smallest eigenvalues of the Laplacian and thus drive towards homogeneity.

©2012 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics