19R1 D. Anselmi
Theories of gravitation

Last update: October 5th 2018

PhD course – 54 hours – Videos of lectures and PDF files of slides

To be held in the first part of 2019 – Stay tuned


Recent Papers

Reviews – Seminars – Courses

Review papers, seminars, talks, courses and lectures on quantum field theory, quantum gravity, renormalization and related subjects

Talk given at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Southampton University, UK, on Nov 16th, 2018

I introduce the concept of fake particle and study how it is used to formulate a consistent theory of quantum gravity. Fakeons arise from a new quantization prescription, alternative to the Feynman one, for the poles of higher-derivative theories, which avoids the problem of ghosts. The fake particles mediate interactions and simulate true particles in many situations. Nevertheless, they are not asymptotic states and cannot be detected directly. The Wick rotation and the S matrix are regionwise analytic and the amplitudes can be calculated in all regions starting from the Euclidean one by means of an unambiguous, but nonanalytic operation. By reconciling renormalizability and unitarity in higher-derivative theories, the models containing both true and fake particles are good candidates to explain quantum gravity. In pole position is the unique theory that is strictly renormalizable. One of the major physical predictions due to the fakeons is the violation of microcausality. I discuss the classical limit of the theory and the acausal corrections to the Einstein equations.


Talk given at the conference

Progress and Visions in Quantum Theory in View of Gravity: Bridging foundations of physics and mathematics

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig

October 04, 2018

I claim that the best correspondence principle for quantum field theory and quantum gravity is made of unitarity, locality and proper renormalizability (which is a refinement of strict renormalizability), combined with fundamental local symmetries and the requirement of having a finite number of fields. Quantum gravity is identified in an essentially unique way. It emerges from a new quantization prescription, which introduces the notion of fake particle, or “fakeon”, and uses it to resolve the long-standing problem of the higher-derivative ghosts. I discuss the major physical prediction of the theory, which is the violation of causality at small distances. The correspondence principle identifies the gauge interactions uniquely in form, but does not predict the gauge group. On the other hand, the matter sector remains almost completely unrestricted.


The properties of quantum gravity are reviewed from the point of view of renormalization. Various attempts to overcome the problem of nonrenormalizability are presented, and the reasons why most of them fail for quantum gravity are discussed. Interesting possibilities come from relaxing the locality assumption, which can inspire the investigation of a largely unexplored sector of quantum field theory. Another possibility is to work with infinitely many independent couplings, and search for physical quantities that only depend on a finite subset of them. In this spirit, it is useful to organize the classical action of quantum gravity, determined by renormalization, in a convenient way. Taking advantage of perturbative local field redefinitions, we write the action as the sum of the Hilbert term, the cosmological term, a peculiar scalar that is important only in higher dimensions, plus invariants constructed with at least three Weyl tensors. We show that the FRLW configurations, and many other locally conformally flat metrics, are exact solutions of the field equations in arbitrary dimensions $d>3$. If the metric is expanded around such configurations the quadratic part of the action is free of higher-time derivatives. Other well-known metrics, such as those of black holes, are instead affected in nontrivial ways by the classical corrections of quantum origin.


Mod. Phys. Lett. A 30 (2015) 1540004 | DOI: 10.1142/S0217732315400040

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14B1 D. Anselmi

Read in flash format


Last update: May 9th 2015, 230 pages

1. Functional integral
2. Renormalization
3. Renormalization group
4. Gauge symmetry
5. Canonical formalism
6. Quantum electrodynamics
7. Non-Abelian gauge field theories
Notation and useful formulas

Course on renormalization, taught in Pisa in 2015. (More chapters will be added later.)