::'quantum gravity'



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Quantum gravity (QG) is a field of theoretical physics that seeks to describe the force of gravity according to the principles of quantum mechanics.

The current understanding of gravity is based on Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which is formulated within the framework of classical physics. On the other hand, the nongravitational forces are described within the framework of quantum mechanics, a radically different formalism for describing physical phenomena based on probability.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The necessity of a quantum mechanical description of gravity follows from the fact that one cannot consistently couple a classical system to a quantum one.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Although a quantum theory of gravity is needed in order to reconcile general relativity with the principles of quantum mechanics, difficulties arise when one attempts to apply the usual prescriptions of quantum field theory to the force of gravity.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> From a technical point of view, the problem is that the theory one gets in this way is not renormalizable and therefore cannot be used to make meaningful physical predictions. As a result, theorists have taken up more radical approaches to the problem of quantum gravity, the most popular approaches being string theory and loop quantum gravity.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> A recent development is the theory of causal fermion systems which gives quantum mechanics, general relativity, and quantum field theory as limiting cases.<ref name="CFSIntro">F. Finster, J. Kleiner, Causal Fermion Systems as a Candidate for a Unified Physical Theory, http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.03587</ref><ref name="PFP">F. Finster, The Principle of the Fermionic Projector, hep-th/0001048, hep-th/0202059, hep- th/0210121, AMS/IP Studies in Advanced Mathematics, vol. 35, American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI, 2006.</ref><ref name="srev">F. Finster, A formulation of quantum field theory realizing a sea of interacting Dirac particles, arXiv:0911.2102 [hep-th], Lett. Math. Phys. 97 (2011), no. 2, 165–183.</ref><ref name="sector">F. Finster, An action principle for an interacting fermion system and its analysis in the continuum limit, arXiv:0908.1542 [math-ph] (2009).</ref><ref name="lepton">F. Finster, The continuum limit of a fermion system involving neutrinos: Weak and gravitational interactions, arXiv:1211.3351 [math-ph] (2012).</ref><ref name="qft">F. Finster, Perturbative quantum field theory in the framework of the fermionic projector, arXiv:1310.4121 [math-ph], J. Math. Phys. 55 (2014), no. 4, 042301.</ref>

Strictly speaking, the aim of quantum gravity is only to describe the quantum behavior of the gravitational field and should not be confused with the objective of unifying all fundamental interactions into a single mathematical framework. While any substantial improvement into the present understanding of gravity would aid further work towards unification, study of quantum gravity is a field in its own right with various branches having different approaches to unification. Although some quantum gravity theories, such as string theory, try to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces, others, such as loop quantum gravity, make no such attempt; instead, they make an effort to quantize the gravitational field while it is kept separate from the other forces. A theory of quantum gravity that is also a grand unification of all known interactions is sometimes referred to as a theory of everything (TOE).

One of the difficulties of quantum gravity is that quantum gravitational effects are only expected to become apparent near the Planck scale, a scale far smaller in distance (equivalently, far larger in energy) than what is currently accessible at high energy particle accelerators. As a result, quantum gravity is a mainly theoretical enterprise, although there are speculations about how quantum gravity effects might be observed in existing experiments.<ref>Quantum effects in the early universe might have an observable effect on the structure of the present universe, for example, or gravity might play a role in the unification of the other forces. Cf. the text by Wald cited above.</ref>

'quantum gravity' sections