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Physics  1999 

Exotic Spaces in Quantum Gravity I: Euclidean Quantum Gravity in Seven Dimensions

DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/16/7/319

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It is well known that in four or more dimensions, there exist exotic manifolds; manifolds that are homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to each other. More precisely, exotic manifolds are the same topological manifold but have inequivalent differentiable structures. This situation is in contrast to the uniqueness of the differentiable structure on topological manifolds in one, two and three dimensions. As exotic manifolds are not diffeomorphic, one can argue that quantum amplitudes for gravity formulated as functional integrals should include a sum over not only physically distinct geometries and topologies but also inequivalent differentiable structures. But can the inclusion of exotic manifolds in such sums make a significant contribution to these quantum amplitudes? This paper will demonstrate that it will. Simply connected exotic Einstein manifolds with positive curvature exist in seven dimensions. Their metrics are found numerically; they are shown to have volumes of the same order of magnitude. Their contribution to the semiclassical evaluation of the partition function for Euclidean quantum gravity in seven dimensions is evaluated and found to be nontrivial. Consequently, inequivalent differentiable structures should be included in the formulation of sums over histories for quantum gravity.


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