[SydPhil] Foundations of Physics Seminar, March 13: Karim Thébault, Observables and Succession In Quantum Gravity

Matt Farr matt.farr at sydney.edu.au
Thu Mar 6 14:52:52 AEDT 2014

The first Sydney Foundations of Physics seminar of the year will be held on Thursday 13 March at 11:30am. Karim Thébault from the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy, LMU Munich, will speak about observables and succession in quantum gravity - details below.

Speaker. Karim Thébault (MCMP, LMU Munich)
Title. “Observables and Succession In Quantum Gravity.”

Abstract. Certain classical mechanical theories, including general relativity, feature time relabelling symmetries. Informally speaking, such symmetries imply that there is no physical difference implied by a system progressing through a sequence of distinct instantaneous states at different rates. Formally speaking, they imply that the relevant action functional is (globally or locally) reparameterization invariant, which in turn implies (by Euler's homogenous function theorem) that the Hamiltonian of the canonical formalism is weakly vanishing. The correct definition of the physical observables for reparameterization invariant theories is controversial. As is the correct approach to quantization. In this talk I will review the key elements of the dispute, focusing on simple finite dimensional models. The view in which reparameterization invariant theories correspond to a timeless Wheeler-de Witt type quantum formalism will be strongly criticised, and an alternative perspective in which temporal succession is preserved will then be advocated. Finally, a partial reconciliation of the two views will be given based on a connection between the relevant notions of observables.

Time. Thursday 13th March, 11:30-13:00.
Location. Muniment Room S401, Main Quad - A14, University of Sydney.

All are welcome!

Please note that we are seeking speakers for future seminars - any area related to foundational concepts in physics (e.g. space, time, matter, motion, probability, measurement, etc.) is welcome, whether theoretical, philosophical or methodological. If you'd like to give a talk, or know of any future visitors who would like to give a talk, please contact me at matt.farr at sydney.edu.au<mailto:matt.farr at sydney.edu.au>.

The schedule for SydFoP talks is available here: http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/sydfop/

Details for how to subscribe to the SydFoP mailing list are here: http://lists.arts.usyd.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/sydfop

All the best


DR MATT FARR | Postdoctoral Research Fellow

New Agendas for the Study of Time<http://newagendasstudyoftime.wordpress.com/> | Centre for Time

School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Room N494 | Quadrangle A14

University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

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