Abstract:
We apply a recent argument of Verlinde to loop quantum gravity, to conclude that Newton's law of gravity emerges in an appropriate limit and setting. This is possible because the relationship between area and entropy is realized in loop quantum gravity when boundaries are imposed on a quantum spacetime.

Abstract:
The questions I have been asked during the 5th International School on Field Theory and Gravitation, have compelled me to give an account of the premises that I consider important for a beginner's approach to Loop Quantum Gravity. After a description of some general arguments and an introduction to the canonical theory of gravity, I review the background independent approach to quantum gravity, giving only a brief survey of Loop Quantum Gravity.

Abstract:
We explicitly construct and characterize all possible independent loop states in 3+1 dimensional loop quantum gravity by regulating it on a 3-d regular lattice in the Hamiltonian formalism. These loop states, characterized by the (dual) angular momentum quantum numbers, describe SU(2) rigid rotators on the links of the lattice. The loop states are constructed using the Schwinger bosons which are harmonic oscillators in the fundamental (spin half) representation of SU(2). Using generalized Wigner Eckart theorem, we compute the matrix elements of the volume operator in the loop basis. Some simple loop eigenstates of the volume operator are explicitly constructed.

Abstract:
This article is based on the opening lecture at the third quantum geometry and quantum gravity school sponsored by the European Science Foundation and held at Zakopane, Poland in March 2011. The goal of the lecture was to present a broad perspective on loop quantum gravity for young researchers. The first part is addressed to beginning students and the second to young researchers who are already working in quantum gravity.

Abstract:
Loop quantum gravity, a non-perturbative and manifestly background free, quantum theory of gravity implies that at the kinematical level the spatial geometry is discrete in a specific sense. The spirit of background independence also requires a non-standard quantum representation of matter. While loop quantization of standard model fields has been proposed, detail study of its implications is not yet available. This review aims to survey the various efforts and results.

Abstract:
Loop quantum gravity, a non-perturbative and manifestly background free, quantum theory of gravity implies that at the kinematical level the spatial geometry is discrete in a specific sense. The spirit of background independence also requires a non-standard quantum representation of matter. While loop quantization of standard model fields has been proposed, detail study of its implications is not yet available. This review aims to survey the various efforts and results.

Abstract:
The relation between standard Loop Quantum Cosmology and full Loop Quantum Gravity fails already at the first nontrivial step: The configuration space of Loop Quantum Cosmology can not be embedded into the configuration space of full Loop Quantum Gravity due to a topological obstruction. We investigate this obstruction in detail, because many topological obstructions are the source of physical effects. For this we derive the topology of a large class of subspaces of the Loop Quantum Gravity configuration space. This allows us to find the extension of the standard Loop Quantum Cosmology configuration space that admits an embedding in agreement with Fleischhack:2010. We then construct the embedding for flat FRW Loop Quantum Cosmology and find that it coincides asymptotically with standard LQC.

Abstract:
In the last 20 years, loop quantum gravity, a background independent approach to unify general relativity and quantum mechanics, has been widely investigated. The aim of loop quantum gravity is to construct a mathematically rigorous, background independent, nonperturbative quantum theory for the Lorentzian gravitational field on a four-dimensional manifold. In this approach, the principles of quantum mechanics are combined with those of general relativity naturally. Such a combination provides us a picture of "quantum Riemannian geometry", which is discrete at a fundamental scale. In the investigation of quantum dynamics, the classical expressions of constraints are quantized as operators. The quantum evolution is contained in the solutions of the quantum constraint equations. On the other hand, the semi-classical analysis has to be carried out in order to test the semiclassical limit of the quantum dynamics. In this thesis, the structure of the dynamical theory in loop quantum gravity is presented pedagogically. The outline is as follows: first we review the classical formalism of general relativity as a dynamical theory of connections. Then the kinematical Ashtekar-Isham-Lewandowski representation is introduced as a foundation of loop quantum gravity. We discuss the construction of a Hamiltonian constraint operator and the master constraint programme, for both the cases of pure gravity and matter field coupling. Finally, some strategies are discussed concerning testing the semiclassical limit of the quantum dynamics.

Abstract:
Interwiners are the building blocks of spin-network states. The space of intertwiners is the quantization of a classical symplectic manifold introduced by Kapovich and Millson. Here we show that a theorem by Minkowski allows us to interpret generic configurations in this space as bounded convex polyhedra in Euclidean space: a polyhedron is uniquely described by the areas and normals to its faces. We provide a reconstruction of the geometry of the polyhedron: we give formulas for the edge lengths, the volume and the adjacency of its faces. At the quantum level, this correspondence allows us to identify an intertwiner with the state of a quantum polyhedron, thus generalizing the notion of quantum tetrahedron familiar in the loop quantum gravity literature. Moreover, coherent intertwiners result to be peaked on the classical geometry of polyhedra. We discuss the relevance of this result for loop quantum gravity. In particular, coherent spin-network states with nodes of arbitrary valence represent a collection of semiclassical polyhedra. Furthermore, we introduce an operator that measures the volume of a quantum polyhedron and examine its relation with the standard volume operator of loop quantum gravity. We also comment on the semiclassical limit of spinfoams with non-simplicial graphs.

Abstract:
The problem of finding the quantum theory of the gravitational field, and thus understanding what is quantum spacetime, is still open. One of the most active of the current approaches is loop quantum gravity. Loop quantum gravity is a mathematically well-defined, non-perturbative and background independent quantization of general relativity, with its conventional matter couplings. Research in loop quantum gravity today forms a vast area, ranging from mathematical foundations to physical applications. Among the most significant results obtained are: (i) The computation of the physical spectra of geometrical quantities such as area and volume, which yields quantitative predictions on Planck-scale physics. (ii) A derivation of the Bekenstein-Hawking black hole entropy formula. (iii) An intriguing physical picture of the microstructure of quantum physical space, characterized by a polymer-like Planck scale discreteness. This discreteness emerges naturally from the quantum theory and provides a mathematically well-defined realization of Wheeler's intuition of a spacetime ``foam''. Long standing open problems within the approach (lack of a scalar product, over-completeness of the loop basis, implementation of reality conditions) have been fully solved. The weak part of the approach is the treatment of the dynamics: at present there exist several proposals, which are intensely debated. Here, I provide a general overview of ideas, techniques, results and open problems of this candidate theory of quantum gravity, and a guide to the relevant literature.