Can chaos be observed in quantum gravity?
Author(s): B. Dittrich, P. A. Hoehn, T. A. Koslowski, M. I. Nelson
Link: Link to publication
Full general relativity is almost certainly non-integrable and likely chaotic and therefore almost certainly possesses neither differentiable Dirac observables nor a reduced phase space. It follows that the standard notion of observable has to be extended to include non-differentiable or even discontinuous generalized observables. These cannot carry Poisson-algebraic structures and do not admit a standard quantization; one thus faces a quantum representation problem of gravitational observables. This has deep consequences for a quantum theory of gravity, which we investigate in a simple model for a system with Hamiltonian constraint that fails to be completely integrable. We show that basing the quantization on standard topology precludes a semiclassical limit and can even prohibit any solutions to the quantum constraints. Our proposed solution to this problem is to refine topology such that a complete set of Dirac observables becomes continuous. In the toy model, it turns out that a refinement to a polymer-type topology, as e.g. used in loop gravity, is sufficient. Basing quantization of the toy model on this finer topology, we find a complete set of quantum Dirac observables and a suitable semiclassical limit. This strategy is applicable to realistic candidate theories of quantum gravity and thereby suggests a solution to a long-standing problem which implies ramifications for the very concept of quantization. Our work reveals a qualitatively novel facet of chaos in physics and opens up a new avenue of research on chaos in gravity which hints at deep insights into the structure of quantum gravity.