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A new look at spacetime

  1. Jun 16, 2005 #1


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    Title: Glimmers of a pre-geometric perspective
    Authors: Federico Piazza
    Comments: 30 pages

    Space-time measurements and gravitational experiments are made by using objects, matter fields or particles and their mutual relationships. As a consequence, any operationally meaningful assertion about space-time is in fact an assertion about the degrees of freedom of the matter (\emph{i.e.} non gravitational) fields; those, say for definiteness, of the Standard Model of particle physics. As for any quantum theory, the dynamics of the matter fields can be described in terms of a unitary evolution of a state vector in a Hilbert space. By writing the Hilbert space as a generic tensor product of ``subsystems'' we analyse the evolution of a state vector on an information theoretical basis and attempt to recover the usual space-time relations from the information exchanges between these subsystems. We consider generic interacting second quantized models with a finite number of fermionic degrees of freedom and characterize on physical grounds the tensor product structure associated with the class of ``localized systems'' and therefore with "position". We find that in the case of free theories no space-time relation is operationally definable. On the contrary, by applying the same procedure to the simple interacting model of a one-dimensional Heisenberg spin chain we recover the tensor product structure usually associated with ``position''. Finally, we discuss the possible role of gravity in this framework.
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