Course

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

Program

Recent Papers

Nonrenormalizable theories

As it stands, quantum gravity coupled with matter in three spacetime dimensions is not finite. In this paper I show that an algorithmic procedure that makes it finite exists, under certain conditions. To achieve this result, gravity is coupled with an interacting conformal field theory $C$. The Newton constant and the marginal parameters of $C$ are taken as independent couplings. The values of the other irrelevant couplings are determined iteratively in the loop- and energy-expansions, imposing that their beta functions vanish. The finiteness equations are solvable thanks to the following properties: the beta functions of the irrelevant couplings have a simple structure; the irrelevant terms made with the Riemann tensor can be reabsorbed by means of field redefinitions; the other irrelevant terms have, generically, non-vanishing anomalous dimensions. The perturbative expansion is governed by an effective Planck mass that takes care of the interactions in the matter sector. As an example, I study gravity coupled with Chern-Simons $U(1)$ gauge theory with massless fermions, solve the finiteness equations and determine the four-fermion couplings to two-loop order. The construction of this paper does not immediately apply to four-dimensional quantum gravity.

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Nucl.Phys. B687 (2004) 124-142 | DOI: 10.1016/j.nuclphysb.2004.03.024

arXiv:hep-th/0309250

In three spacetime dimensions, where no graviton propagates, pure gravity is known to be finite. It is natural to inquire whether finiteness survives the coupling with matter. Standard arguments ensure that there exists a subtraction scheme where no Lorentz-Chern-Simons term is generated by radiative corrections, but are not sufficiently powerful to ensure finiteness. Therefore, it is necessary to perform an explicit (two-loop) computation in a specific model. I consider quantum gravity coupled with Chern-Simons U(1) gauge theory and massless fermions and show that renormalization originates four-fermion divergent vertices at the second loop order. I conclude that quantum gravity coupled with matter, as it stands, is not finite in three spacetime dimensions.

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Nucl.Phys. B687 (2004) 143-160 | DOI: 10.1016/j.nuclphysb.2004.03.023

arXiv:hep-th/0309249

I study some aspects of the renormalization of quantum field theories with infinitely many couplings in arbitrary space-time dimensions. I prove that when the space-time manifold admits a metric of constant curvature the propagator is not affected by terms with higher derivatives. More generally, certain lagrangian terms are not turned on by renormalization, if they are absent at the tree level. This restricts the form of the action of a non-renormalizable theory, and has applications to quantum gravity. The new action contains infinitely many couplings, but not all of the ones that might have been expected. In quantum gravity, the metric of constant curvature is an extremal, but not a minimum, of the complete action. Nonetheless, it appears to be the right perturbative vacuum, at least when the curvature is negative, suggesting that the quantum vacuum has a negative asymptotically constant curvature. The results of this paper give also a set of rules for a more economical use of effective quantum field theories and suggest that it might be possible to give mathematical sense to theories with infinitely many couplings at high energies, to search for physical predictions.

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Class.Quant.Grav. 20 (2003) 2355-2378 | DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/20/11/326

arXiv:hep-th/0212013

We go on in the program of investigating the removal of divergences of a generical quantum gauge field theory, in the context of the Batalin-Vilkovisky formalism. We extend to open gauge-algebrae a recently formulated algorithm, based on redefinitions $\delta\lambda$ of the parameters $\lambda$ of the classical Lagrangian and canonical transformations, by generalizing a well-known conjecture on the form of the divergent terms. We also show that it is possible to reach a complete control on the effects of the subtraction algorithm on the space $M_{gf}$ of the gauge-fixing parameters. A principal fiber bundle $E \rightarrow M_{gf}$ with a connection $\omega_1$ is defined, such that the canonical transformations are gauge transformations for $\omega_1$. This provides an intuitive geometrical description of the fact the on shell physical amplitudes cannot depend on $M_{gf}$. A geometrical description of the effect of the subtraction algorithm on the space $M_{ph}$ of the physical parameters lambda is also proposed. At the end, the full subtraction algorithm can be described as a series of diffeomorphisms on $M_{ph}$, orthogonal to $M_{gf}$ (under which the action transforms as a scalar), and gauge transformations on $E$. In this geometrical context, a suitable concept of predictivity is formulated. We give some examples of (unphysical) toy models that satisfy this requirement, though being neither power counting renormalizable, nor finite.

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Class.Quant.Grav. 12 (1995) 319-350 | DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/12/2/005

arXiv:hep-th/9407023

We consider the problem of removing the divergences in an arbitrary gauge-field theory (possibly nonrenormalizable). We show that this can be achieved by performing, order by order in the loop expansion, a redefinition of some parameters (possibly infinitely many) and a canonical transformation (in the sense of Batalin and Vilkovisky) of fields and BRS sources. Gauge-invariance is turned into a suitable quantum generalization of BRS-invariance. We define quantum observables and study their properties. We apply the result to renormalizable gauge-field theories that are gauge-fixed with a nonrenormalizable gauge-fixing and prove that their predictivity is retained. A corollary is that topological field theories are predictive. Analogies and differences with the formalisms of classical and quantum mechanics are pointed out.

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Class.Quant.Grav. 11 (1994) 2181-2204 | DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/11/9/005

arXiv:hep-th/9309085

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Book

14B1 D. Anselmi
Renormalization

Read in flash format

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Last update: May 9th 2015, 230 pages

Contents:
Preface
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
References

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