Abstract:
This paper explores in some detail a recent proposal (the Rieffel induction/refined algebraic quantization scheme) for the quantization of constrained gauge systems. Below, the focus is on systems with a single constraint and, in this context, on the uniqueness of the construction. While in general the results depend heavily on the choices made for certain auxiliary structures, an additional physical argument leads to a unique result for typical cases. We also discuss the `superselection laws' that result from this scheme and how their existence also depends on the choice of auxiliary structures. Again, when these structures are chosen in a physically motivated way, the resulting superselection laws are physically reasonable.

Abstract:
One solution to the so-called problem of time is to construct certain Dirac observables, sometimes called evolving constants of motion. There has been some discussion in the literature about the interpretation of such observables, and in particular whether single Dirac observables can be measured. Here we clarify the situation by describing a class of interactions that can be said to implement measurements of such observables. Along the way, we describe a useful notion of perturbation theory for the rigging map eta of group averaging (sometimes loosely called the physical state "projector"), which maps states from the auxiliary Hilbert space to the physical Hilbert space.

Abstract:
A formalism for quantizing time reparametrization invariant dynamics is considered and applied to systems which contain an `almost ideal clock.' Previously, this formalism was successfully applied to the Bianchi models and, while it contains no fundamental notion of `time' or `evolution,' the approach does contain a notion of correlations. Using correlations with the almost ideal clock to introduce a notion of time, the work below derives the complete formalism of external time quantum mechanics. The limit of an ideal clock is found to be closely associated with the Klein-Gordon inner product and the Newton-Wigner formalism and, in addition, this limit is shown to fail for a clock that measures metric-defined proper time near a singularity in Bianchi models.

Abstract:
We consider a quantization of the Bianchi IX cosmological model based on taking the constraint to be a self-adjoint operator in an auxiliary Hilbert space. Using a WKB-style self-consistent approximation, the constraint chosen is shown to have only continuous spectrum at zero. Nevertheless, the auxiliary space induces an inner product on the zero-eigenvalue generalized eigenstates such that the resulting physical Hilbert space has countably infinite dimension. In addition, a complete set of gauge-invariant operators on the physical space is constructed by integrating differential forms over the spacetime. The behavior of these operators indicates that this quantization preserves Wald's classical result that the Bianchi IX spacetimes expand to a maximum volume and then recollapse.

Abstract:
This submission to the Proceedings of the Seventh Marcel-Grossman Conference is an advertisement for the use of the ``spectral analysis inner product" for minisuperspace models in quantum gravity.

Abstract:
Within a simple quantization scheme, observables for a large class of finite dimensional time reparametrization invariant systems may be constructed by integration over the manifold of time labels. This procedure is shown to produce a complete set of densely defined operators on a physical Hilbert space for which an inner product is identified and to provide reasonable results for simple test cases. Furthermore, many of these observables have a clear interpretation in the classical limit and we use this to demonstrate that, for a class of minisuperspace models including LRS Bianchi IX and the Kantowski-Sachs model this quantization agrees with classical physics in predicting that such spacetimes recollapse.

Abstract:
Local action principles on a manifold $\M$ are invariant (if at all) only under diffeomorphisms that preserve the boundary of $\M$. Suppose, however, that we wish to study only part of a system described by such a principle; namely, the part that lies in a bounded region $R$ of spacetime where $R$ is specified in some diffeomorphism invariant manner. In this case, a description of the physics within $R$ should be invariant under {\it all} diffeomorphisms regardless of whether they preserve the boundary of this region. The following letter shows that physics in such a region can be described by an action principle that $i$) is invariant under both diffeomorphisms which preserve the boundary of $R$ and those that do not, $ii$) leaves the dynamics of the part of the system {\it outside} the region $R$ completely undetermined, and $iii$) can be constructed without first solving the original equations of motion.

Abstract:
We investigate two models of measuring devices designed to detect a non-relativistic free particle in a given region of spacetime. These models predict different probabilities for a free quantum particle to enter a spacetime region $R$ so that this notion is device dependent. The first model is of a von Neumann coupling which we present as a contrast to the second model. The second model is shown to be related to probabilities defined through partitions of configuration space paths in a path integral. This study thus provides insight into the physical situations to which such definitions of probabilities are appropriate.

Abstract:
We study the loop representation of the quantum theory for 2+1 dimensional general relativity on a manifold, $M = {\cal T}^2 \times {\cal R}$, where ${\cal T}^2$ is the torus, and compare it with the connection representation for this system. In particular, we look at the loop transform in the part of the phase space where the holonomies are boosts and study its kernel. This kernel is dense in the connection representation and the transform is not continuous with respect to the natural topologies, even in its domain of definition. Nonetheless, loop representations isomorphic to the connection representation corresponding to this part of the phase space can still be constructed if due care is taken. We present this construction but note that certain ambiguities remain; in particular, functions of loops cannot be uniquely associated with functions of connections.

Abstract:
While extreme black hole spacetimes with smooth horizons are known at the level of mathematics, we argue that the horizons of physical extreme black holes are effectively singular. Test particles encounter a singularity the moment they cross the horizon, and only objects with significant back-reaction can fall across a smooth (now non-extreme) horizon. As a result, classical interior solutions for extreme black holes are theoretical fictions that need not be reproduced by any quantum mechanical model. This observation suggests that significant quantum effects might be visible outside extreme or nearly extreme black holes. It also suggests that the microphysics of such black holes may be very different from that of their Schwarzschild cousins.