Chapter

Why quantum gravity?

Claus Kiefer

in Quantum Gravity

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199585205
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739378 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585205.003.0001

Series: International Series of Monographs on Physics

Why quantum gravity?

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This introductory chapter presents the general motivations for constructing a quantum theory of gravity. The main argument is the conceptual incompleteness of present theoretical physics. The chapter presents the relevant length and energy scales, that is, the Planck scales and its relation to astrophysical scales, and addresses the experimental status of the relation between quantum theory and gravity. It then discusses the semiclassical Einstein equations and their shortcomings. The chapter concludes with an overview of the main approaches to quantum gravity discussed in this book. This chapter is written in a rather general and non-technical style and should be accessible to a wide audience of people interested in theoretical physics.

Keywords: General motivation; Planck scale; neutron and atom interferometry; quantum field theory in curved spacetime; semiclassical Einstein equations; gedanken experiments

Chapter.  13430 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematical and Statistical Physics

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