Abstract:
This brief article sums up results obtained in arXiv:0911.2653, which develops a constrained SU(2) lattice gauge theory in the "dipole" approximation. This is a further step toward the issue of a (inhomogeneous) loop quantum cosmology and its merging into loop quantum gravity.

Abstract:
There has been a certain interest in some recent works in the derivation of Noether charges for Hopf-algebra space-time symmetries. Such analyses relied rather heavily on delicate manipulations of the fields of non-commuting coordinates whose charges were under study. Here we derive the same charges in a "coordinate-independent" symplectic-geometry type of approach and find results that are consistent with the ones of hep-th/0607221.

Abstract:
We derive the cosmological Big Bounce scenario from the dipole approximation of Loop Quantum Gravity. We show that a non-singular evolution takes place for any matter field and that, by considering a massless scalar field as a relational clock for the dynamics, the semi-classical proprieties of an initial state are preserved on the other side of the bounce. This model thus enhances the relation between Loop Quantum Cosmology and the full theory.

Abstract:
We develop the "triangulated" version of loop quantum cosmology, recently introduced in the literature. We focus on the "dipole" cosmology, where space is a three-sphere and the triangulation is formed by two tetrahedra. We show that the discrete fiducial connection has a simple and appealing geometrical interpretation and we correct the ansatz on the relation between the model variables and the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker scale factor. The modified ansatz leads to the convergence of the Hamiltonian constraint to the continuum one. We then ask which degrees of freedom are captured by this model. We show that the model is rich enough to describe the (anisotropic) Bianchi IX Universe, and give the explicit relation between the Bianchi IX variables and the variables of the model. We discuss the possibility of using this path in order to define the quantization of the Bianchi IX Universe. The model contains more degrees of freedom than Bianchi IX, and therefore captures some inhomogeneous degrees of freedom as well. Inhomogeneous degrees of freedom can be expanded in representations of the SU(2) Bianchi IX isometry group, and the dipole model captures the lowest integer representation of these, connected to hyper-spherical harmonic of angular momentum j=1.

Abstract:
We present a model of inflation based on the interaction between a homogeneous and isotropic configuration of a U(1) gauge field and fermionic charge density $\mathcal{J}_{0}$. The regulated fermionic charge density is generated from a Bunch-Davies vacuum state using the methods of Koksma and Prokopec \cite{Koksma:2009tc}, and is found to redshift as $1/a(\eta)$. The time-like component of gauge field is sourced by the fermionic charge leading to a growth in the gauge field $A(\eta)_{0}\sim a(\eta)$. As a result inflation is dominated by the energy density contained in the gauge field and fermionic charge interaction, $A_{0}\, \mathcal{J}^{0}$, which remains constant during inflation. We also provide a mechanism to generate a net lepton asymmetry. The coupling of a pseudo scalar to the Chern-Simons term converts the gauge field fluctuations into lepton number and all three Sahkarov conditions are satisfied during inflation. Finally, the rapid oscillation of the pseudo scalar field near its minimum thermalizes the gauge field and ends inflation. We provide the necessary initial condition on the gauge field and fermionic charge to simultaneously generate enough e-folds and baryon asymmetry index.

Abstract:
We propose a new method of unifying gravity and the Standard Model by introducing a spin-foam model. We realize a unification between an SU(2) Yang-Mills interaction and 3D general relativity by considering a Spin(4) Plebanski action. The theory is quantized a la spin-foam by implementing the analogue of the simplicial constraints for the broken phase of the Spin(4) SO(4) symmetry. A natural 4D extension of the theory is shown. We also present a way to recover 2-point correlation functions between the connections as a first way to implement scattering amplitudes between particle states, aiming to connect Loop Quantum Gravity to new physical predictions.

Abstract:
In this paper we consider the relation between the super-renormalizable theories of quantum gravity (SRQG) studied in [arXiv:1110.5249v2, arXiv:1202.0008] and an underlying non-commutativity of spacetime. For one particular super-renormalizable theory we show that at linear level (quadratic in the Lagrangian) the propagator of the theory is the same we obtain starting from a theory of gravity endowed with {\theta}-Poincar\'e quantum groups of symmetry. Such a theory is over the so called {\theta}-Minkowski non-commuative spacetime. We shed new light on this link and show that among the theories considered in [arXiv:1110.5249v2, arXiv:1202.0008], there exist only one non-local and Lorentz invariant super-renormalizable theory of quantum gravity that can be described in terms of a quantum group symmetry structure. We also emphasize contact with pre-existent works in the literature and discuss preservation of the equivalence principle in our framework.

Abstract:
We show how Ho\v{r}ava-Lifshitz (HL) theory appears naturally in the Ashtekar formulation of relativity if one postulates the existence of a fermionic field playing the role of aether. The spatial currents associated with this field must be switched off for the equivalence to work. Therefore the field supplies the preferred frame associated with breaking refoliation (time diffeomorphism) invariance, but obviously the symmetry is only spontaneously broken if the field is dynamic. When Dirac fermions couple to the gravitational field via the Ashtekar variables, the low energy limit of HL gravity, recast in the language of Ashtekar variables, naturally emerges (provided the spatial fermion current identically vanishes). HL gravity can therefore be interpreted as a time-like current, or a Fermi aether, that fills space-time, with the Immirzi parameter, a chiral fermionic coupling, and the fermionic charge density fixing the value of the parameter $\lambda$ determining HL theory. This reinterpretation sheds light on some features of HL theory, namely its good convergence properties.

Abstract:
We present a new unification of the electro-weak and gravitational interactions based on the joining the weak SU(2) gauge fields with the left handed part of the space-time connection, into a single gauge field valued in the complexification of the local Lorentz group. Hence, the weak interactions emerge as the right handed chiral half of the space-time connection, which explains the chirality of the weak interaction. This is possible, because, as shown by Plebanski, Ashtekar, and others, the other chiral half of the space-time connection is enough to code the dynamics of the gravitational degrees of freedom. This unification is achieved within an extension of the Plebanski action previously proposed by one of us. The theory has two phases. A parity symmetric phase yields, as shown by Speziale, a bi-metric theory with eight degrees of freedom: the massless graviton, a massive spin two field and a scalar ghost. Because of the latter this phase is unstable. Parity is broken in a stable phase where the eight degrees of freedom arrange themselves as the massless graviton coupled to an SU(2) triplet of chirally coupled Yang-Mills fields. It is also shown that under this breaking a Dirac fermion expresses itself as a chiral neutrino paired with a scalar field with the quantum numbers of the Higgs.

Abstract:
We construct a class of coherent spin-network states that capture proprieties of curved space-times of the Friedmann-Lama\^itre-Robertson-Walker type on which they are peaked. The data coded by a coherent state are associated to a cellular decomposition of a spatial ($t=$const.) section with dual graph given by the complete five-vertex graph, though the construction can be easily generalized to other graphs. The labels of coherent states are complex $SL(2, \mathbbm{C})$ variables, one for each link of the graph and are computed through a smearing process starting from a continuum extrinsic and intrinsic geometry of the canonical surface. The construction covers both Euclidean and Lorentzian signatures; in the Euclidean case and in the limit of flat space we reproduce the simplicial 4-simplex semiclassical states used in Spin Foams.