Looking for literature re imperfect quantum gravity models

In summary, there are lots of times in physics when we use approximations of a more accurate or fundamental physics theory because it is easier to work with. For example, in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) lots of calculations are done using the Schwinger-Dyson equations rather than the actual equations of QCD directly, even though the Schwinger-Dyson equations are merely an approximation with a limited range of applicability. Similarly, lots of N-body simulations in astronomy use Newtonian gravity to model complex many body systems because the math is much easier and the benefits of using full general relativity (GR) are modest. Again, the physicists doing this know that it is a toy model and not a correct description of the universe,
  • #1
ohwilleke
Gold Member
2,388
1,380
Preface

There are lots of times in physics when we use approximations of a more accurate or fundamental physics theory because it is easier to work with.

For example, in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) lots of calculations are done using the Schwinger-Dyson equations rather than the actual equations of QCD directly, even though the Schwinger-Dyson equations are merely an approximation with a limited range of applicability.

Similarly, lots of N-body simulations in astronomy use Newtonian gravity to model complex many body systems because the math is much easier and the benefits of using full general relativity (GR) are modest. Again, the physicists doing this know that it is a toy model and not a correct description of the universe, but sacrifice accuracy in exchange for a model that is easier to work with and is good enough for some purposes.

Application to Quantum Gravity

It is much easier to formulate something very similar to Newtonian gravity as a quantum gravity theory, than it is to do so with GR. It is simply a massless, non-self-interacting scalar boson (basically a spin-0 photon). This isn't exactly Newtonian gravity, because it doesn't propagate instantaneously and instead does so at the speed of light. But, the mathematical dilemmas of trying to model a massless, self-interacting, spin-2 boson are avoided.

One could fairly easily make some generalizations of this almost Newtonian toy model of a quantum gravity theory without rendering the result impossible to deal with mathematically. For example, you could allow these spin-0 toy gravitons to couple to the total mass-energy of all particles other than gravitons, rather than merely to mass as in Newtonian gravity. If you were really bold, perhaps you could even generalize the theory further to allow the spin-0 toy graviton to couple to itself although this would make the mathematics much harder (but still much easier than GR with a spin-2 graviton - basically, this would be a static universe version of GR).

Note that I'm not trying to do original theory here and honestly the details I what I've sketched out above may be inaccurate in one or more respects. I'm simply trying to communicate with an example the kind of approach that I am wondering about, because I would like to know if this general approach has been pursued, and if so, when and by whom. I am not intending to make any affirmative claims about these toy model theories.

My Question

My question is this:

Is anyone aware of any efforts to come up with an imperfect version of quantum gravity by starting with a toy model that is a quantum version of Newtonian gravity and then generalizing it? I'm not really sure how to query the literature on the subject to find what I'm looking for.

On the other hand, if no one has done this, is there a reason for that? For example, is there a no-go theorem of some kind that makes it clear that this is not useful for any purpose?
 
  • Like
Likes haushofer
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #3
PAllen said:
How is what you seek different from the effective field theory program:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1209.3511

The EFT article is really well written and does indeed involve one choice of an imperfection in the EFT model (a low energy domain of applicability).

What I am seeking is any literature in which the investigators explore a different imperfection than the one that the article attempts to do with a low energy quantization of full tensor GR. Instead of trying to approximate full fledged GR, it would attempt to approximate Newtonian gravity with a bit of post-Newtonian tweaking in the classical limit, to see if process could be made on any of the fronts that are insurmountable in the kind of EFT explored in that article. It could be that this alternative approach doesn't provide anything useful, but it would be interesting to know what has been tried and what they found.
 
  • #4
ohwilleke said:
Is anyone aware of any efforts to come up with an imperfect version of quantum gravity by starting with a toy model that is a quantum version of Newtonian gravity and then generalizing it? I'm not really sure how to query the literature on the subject to find what I'm looking for.

On the other hand, if no one has done this, is there a reason for that? For example, is there a no-go theorem of some kind that makes it clear that this is not useful for any purpose?
Newtonian gravity is not a dynamical theory, in the sense that there is no canonical momentum for Newtonian gravity. Therefore it cannot be quantized, or at least not in the usual sense.
 
  • #5
I have heard Julian Barbour state he thinks that QG should be derived from the simplest non-trivial system in gravity, the Newtonian 3-body problem, just as Schrodinger used the simplest non-trivial mechanical system, the pendulum, as a toy model for quantum mechanics.

His "Janus point" papers are part of that effort but are still only classical so far. They are the most recent half dozen papers of his on arxiv.
 
  • #6
spacejunkie said:
I have heard Julian Barbour state he thinks that QG should be derived from the simplest non-trivial system in gravity, the Newtonian 3-body problem, just as Schrodinger used the simplest non-trivial mechanical system, the pendulum, as a toy model for quantum mechanics.

His "Janus point" papers are part of that effort but are still only classical so far. They are the most recent half dozen papers of his on arxiv.
Can you explain more or give explicit references? I do not see any of his papers even remotely dealing with quantizing Newtonian gravity, nor even with quantizing any formulation of 3 body problem.
 

Related to Looking for literature re imperfect quantum gravity models

1. What is quantum gravity?

Quantum gravity is a theoretical framework that aims to reconcile the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It seeks to explain how gravity works on a quantum level, which is currently not fully understood.

2. Why is it important to study imperfect quantum gravity models?

Imperfect quantum gravity models allow us to better understand the limitations of our current understanding of quantum gravity. By studying these models, we can gain insights into the fundamental properties of space, time, and matter.

3. How are imperfect quantum gravity models different from other models?

Imperfect quantum gravity models incorporate small deviations or imperfections into the fundamental theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity. These deviations can provide valuable information about the underlying laws of nature and help guide future research.

4. What challenges do scientists face when studying imperfect quantum gravity models?

One of the main challenges is the lack of empirical evidence for these models. Since quantum gravity is still a developing field, there is a limited amount of experimental data to support or refute these models. Additionally, the mathematical complexity of these models can also make them difficult to study.

5. How can studying imperfect quantum gravity models benefit society?

Understanding quantum gravity is crucial for advancing our knowledge of the universe and potentially developing new technologies. By studying imperfect models, we can gain insights into the fundamental laws of nature and potentially uncover new possibilities for scientific breakthroughs.

Similar threads

  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
9
Views
735
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
13
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
24
Views
4K
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
1
Views
370
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
17
Views
2K
  • Beyond the Standard Models
Replies
7
Views
1K
Back
Top