Abstract:
We use our recently developed algebraic methods for the calculation of the heat kernel on homogeneous bundles over symmetric spaces to evaluate the non-perturbative low-energy effective action in quantum general relativity and Yang-Mills gauge theory in curved space. We obtain an exact integral repesentation for the effective action that generates all terms in the standard asymptotic epxansion of the effective action without derivatives of the curvatures effectively summing up the whole infinite subseries of all quantum corrections with low momenta.

Abstract:
We integrate out fast varying quantum fluctuations around static A_4 and A_i fields for the SU(N) gauge group. By assuming that the gluon fields are slowly varying but allowing for an arbitrary amplitude of A_4 we obtain two variants of the effective high-temperature theory for the Polyakov line. One is the effective action for the gauge-invariant eigenvalues of the Polyakov line, and it is explicitly Z(N) symmetric. The other is the effective action for the Polyakov line itself as an element of the SU(N). In this case the theory necessarily includes the spatial components A_i to ensure its gauge invariance under spatial gauge transformations. We derive the 1-loop effective action in the `electric' and `magnetic' sectors, summing up all powers of A_4.

Abstract:
An overview about recent progress in the calculation of the heat kernel and the one-loop effective action in quantum gravity and gauge theories is given. We analyse the general structure of the standard Schwinger-De Witt asymptotic expansion and discuss the applicability of that to the case of strongly curved manifolds and strong background fields. We argue that the low-energy limit in gauge theories and quantum gravity, when formulated in a covariant way, should be related to background fields with covariantly constant curvature, gauge field strength and potential term. It is shown that the condition of the covariant constancy of the background curvatures brings into existence some Lie algebra. The heat kernel operator for the Laplace operator is presented then as an average over the corresponding Lie group with some nontrivial Gaussian measure. Using this representation the heat kernel diagonal is obtained. The result is expressed purely in terms of curvature invariants and is explicitly covariant. Related topics concerning the structure of symmetric spaces and the calculation of the effective action are discussed.

Abstract:
We present an alternative to Polyakov's induced action for the noncritical string. Our Yang-Mills like action is both local and invariant under coordinate transformations. It defines a teleparallel theory of gravity with interesting links to Horava-Lifshitz and Einstein-aether theories. It is of Liouville type in the conformal gauge while, remarkably, in the proper-time gauge it gives an effective action familiar from the Causal Dynamical Triangulation (CDT) approach to 2d quantum gravity. In the latter gauge the effective action is especially interesting since its quantization is known to reduce to a quantum mechanical model.

Abstract:
The effective action in gauge theories is known to depend on a choice of gauge fixing conditions. This dependence is such that any change of gauge conditions is equivalent to a field redefinition in the effective action. In this sense, the quantum deformation of conformal symmetry in the N = 4 super Yang-Mills theory, which was computed in 't Hooft gauge in hep-th/9808039 and hep-th/0203236, is gauge dependent. The deformation is an intrinsic property of the theory in that it cannot be eliminated by a local choice of gauge (although we sketch a field redefinition induced by a nonlocal gauge which, on the Coulomb branch of the theory, converts the one-loop quantum-corrected conformal transformations to the classical ones). We explicitly compute the deformed conformal symmetry in R_\xi gauge. The conformal transformation law of the gauge field turns out to be \xi-independent. We construct the scalar field redefinition which relates the 't Hooft and R_\xi gauge results. A unique feature of 't Hooft gauge is that it makes it possible to consistently truncate the one-loop conformal deformation to the terms of first order in derivatives of the fields such that the corresponding transformations form a field realization of the conformal algebra.

Abstract:
In this letter a new gauge invariant, metric independent action is introduced from which Witten's Topological Quantum Field Theory may be obtained after gauge fixing using standard BRST techniques. In our model the BRST algebra of transformations, under which the effective action is invariant, close off-shell in distintion with what occurs in the one proposed by Labastida and Pernici. Our approach provides the geometrical principle for the quantum theory. We also compare our results with an alternative formulation presented by Baulieu and Singer.

Abstract:
Using a $W_{N}$-gauge theory to describe electromagnetic interactions of spinless fermions in the lowest Landau level, where the $W_{N}$ transformations are nonlinear realizations of U(1) gauge transformations, we construct the effective action describing electromagnetic interactions of a higher dimensional quantum Hall droplet. We also discuss how this is related to the Abelian Seiberg-Witten map. Explicit calculations are presented for the quantum Hall effect on ${\bf CP}^k$ with U(1) background magnetic field. The bulk action is a K\"ahler-Chern-Simons term whose anomaly is cancelled by a boundary contribution so that gauge invariance is explicitly satisfied.

Abstract:
We study exhaustively the solution-generating transformations (dualities) that occur in the context of the low-energy effective action of superstring theory. We first consider target-space duality (``T duality'') transformations in absence of vector fields. We find that for one isometry the full duality group is (SO^{\uparrow}(1,1))^{3} x D_{4}, the discrete part (D_{4}) being non-Abelian. We, then, include non-Abelian Yang--Mills fields and find the corresponding generalization of the T duality transformations. We study the \alpha^{\prime} corrections to these transformations and show that the T duality rules considerably simplify if the gauge group is embedded in the holonomy group. Next, in the case in which there are Abelian vector fields, we consider the duality group that includes the transformation introduced by Sen that rotates among themselves components of the metric, axion and vector field. Finally we list the duality symmetries of the Type II theories with one isometry.

Abstract:
The effective action of a Higgs theory should be gauge-invariant. However, the quantum and/or thermal contributions to the effective potential seem to be gauge-dependent, posing a problem for its physical interpretation. In this paper, we identify the source of the problem and argue that in a Higgs theory, perturbative contributions should be evaluated with the Higgs fields in the polar basis, not in the Cartesian basis. Formally, this observation can be made from the derivation of the Higgs theorem, which we provide. We show explicitly that, properly defined, the effective action for the Abelian Higgs theory is gauge invariant to all orders in perturbation expansion when evaluated in the covariant gauge in the polar basis. In particular, the effective potential is gauge invariant. We also show the equivalence between the calculations in the covariant gauge in the polar basis and the unitary gauge. These points are illustrated explicitly with the one-loop calculations of the effective action. With a field redefinition, we obtain the physical effective potential. The SU(2) non-Abelian case is also discussed.

Abstract:
We study the gauge dependence of the effective average action Gamma_k and Newtonian gravitational constant using the RG equation for Gamma_k. Then we truncate the space of action functionals to get a solution of this equation. We solve the truncated evolution equation for the Einstein gravity in the De Sitter background for a general gauge parameter alpha and obtain a system of equations for the cosmological and the Newtonian constants. Analyzing the running of the gravitational constant we find that the Newtonian constant depends strongly on the gauge parameter. This leads to the appearance of antiscreening and screening behavior of the quantum gravity. The resolution of the gauge dependence problem is suggested. For physical gauges like the Landau-De Witt gauge the Newtonian constant shows an antiscreening.