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Zenith Grant Awardee

Dr. Louis Crane

Kansas State University

Project Title

A New Approach to Quantum Gravity, with Possible Applications to the Origin & Future of Life

Project Summary

In this project, I will complete the interpretation of a model for quantum gravity I helped develop (the BC model) by finding expressions for its classical histories. This will make it possible to compute quantum effects for experiments involving gravity.

This technique will be applied to small black holes to see how their formation, radiation and interaction with matter differs from the semiclassical predictions. This information will be used to study the feasibility of using small artificial black holes as sources of energy and as propulsion methods for starships. The BC model can be extended to include singular points in the space-time, which have interesting similarities to ordinary matter. These are referred to as conical matter. Calculations using the classical states for the BC model will be used to explore the behavior of conical matter, and its interactions with black holes. A more distant goal is to explore the Evolutionary Universe hypothesis, which explains the fine-tuning of the laws of Physics for life by means of an evolution of baby universes.

Technical Abstract

The Barrett-Crane model is a finite candidate for a quantum theory of gravity. Unfortunately, its interpretation is difficult because it is not a path integram, but a summation over quantum states for subsystems.

The first goal of the proposal is to find the classical histories for the model using the decoherent histories approach. This work requires two stages. In the first we will apply microlocal analysis to the phase spaces of "large" regions to find wavepacket states with sharp geometric variables. In the second, we will use a Brownian motion approximation to compute the decoherence of the large histories due to their interaction with the "small" internal geometry.

We will then use these results to formulate descriptions of experiments in order to find quantum corrections to gravitational processes. We will apply this to black hole solutions to look for corrections to Hawking radiation superradiance and black hole evaporation. We will also attempt to estimate the significance of our results for black hole power sources and propulsion systems.

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