Abstract:
Motivated by phenomenological questions in quantum gravity, we consider the propagation of a scalar field on a random lattice. We describe a procedure to calculate the dispersion relation for the field by taking a limit of a periodic lattice. We use this to calculate the lowest order coefficients of the dispersion relation for a specific one-dimensional model.

Abstract:
In this article we review the foundations and the present status of loop quantum gravity. It is short and relatively non-technical, the emphasis is on the ideas, and the flavor of the techniques. In particular, we describe the kinematical quantization and the implementation of the Hamilton constraint, as well as the quantum theory of black hole horizons, semiclassical states, and matter propagation. Spin foam models and loop quantum cosmology are mentioned only in passing, as these will be covered in separate reviews to be published alongside this one.

Abstract:
In this article, we investigate the assumption of equipartition of energy in arguments for the entropic nature of gravity. It has already been pointed out by other authors that equipartition is not valid for low temperatures. Here we additionally point out that it is similarly not valid for systems with bounded energy. Many explanations for black hole entropy suggest that the microscopic systems responsible have a finite dimensional state space, and thus finite maximum energy. Assuming this to be the case leads to drastic corrections to Newton's law for high gravitational fields, and, in particular, to a singularity in acceleration at finite radius away from a point mass. This is suggestive of the physics at the Schwarzschild radius. We show, however, that the location of the singularity scales differently.

Abstract:
In a remarkable paper, T. Koslowski introduced kinematical representations for loop quantum gravity in which there is a non-degenerate spatial background metric present. He also considered their properties, and showed that Gauss and diffeomorphism constraints can be implemented. With the present article, we streamline and extend his treatment. In particular, we show that the standard regularization of the geometric operators leads to well defined operators in the new representations, and we work out their properties fully. We also give details on the implementation of the constraints. All of this is done in such a way as to show that the standard representation is a particular (and in some ways exceptional) case of the more general constructions. This does not mean that these new representations are as fundamental as the standard one. Rather, we believe they might be useful to find some form of effective theory of loop quantum gravity on large scales.

Abstract:
In a remarkable numerical analysis of the spectrum of states for a spherically symmetric black hole in loop quantum gravity, Corichi, Diaz-Polo and Fernandez-Borja found that the entropy of the black hole horizon increases in what resembles discrete steps as a function of area. In the present article we reformulate the combinatorial problem of counting horizon states in terms of paths through a certain space. This formulation sheds some light on the origins of this step-like behavior of the entropy. In particular, using a few extra assumptions we arrive at a formula that reproduces the observed step-length to a few tenths of a percent accuracy. However, in our reformulation the periodicity ultimately arises as a property of some complicated process, the properties of which, in turn, depend on the properties of the area spectrum in loop quantum gravity in a rather opaque way. Thus, in some sense, a deep explanation of the observed periodicity is still lacking.

Abstract:
In this note we carry out the counting of states for a black hole in loop quantum gravity, however assuming an equidistant area spectrum. We find that this toy-model is exactly solvable, and we show that its behavior is very similar to that of the correct model. Thus this toy-model can be used as a nice and simplifying `laboratory' for questions about the full theory.

Abstract:
We follow arguments of Verlinde and Klinkhamer, and construct two models of the microscopic theory of a holographic screen that allow for the thermodynamical derivation of Newton's law, with Newton's constant expressed in terms of a minimal length scale contained in the area spectrum of the microscopic theory. One of the models is loosely related to the quantum structure of surfaces and isolated horizons in loop quantum gravity. Our investigation shows that the conclusions reached by Klinkhamer regarding the new length scale seem to be generic in all their qualitative aspects.

Abstract:
In general relativity, the fields on a black hole horizon are obtained from those in the bulk by pullback and restriction. Similarly, in quantum gravity, the quantized horizon degrees of freedom should result from restricting, or pulling-back, the quantized bulk degrees of freedom. This is not yet fully realized in the - otherwise very successful - quantization of isolated horizons in loop quantum gravity. In this work we outline a setting in which the quantum horizon degrees of freedom are simply components of the quantized bulk degrees of freedom. There is no need to quantize them separately. We present evidence that for a horizon of sphere topology, the resulting horizon theory is remarkably similar to what has been found before.

Abstract:
Quantum geometry, i.e., the quantum theory of intrinsic and extrinsic spatial geometry, is a cornerstone of loop quantum gravity. Recently, there have been many new ideas in this field, and I will review some of them. In particular, after a brief description of the main structures and results of quantum geometry, I review a new description of the quantized geometry in terms of polyhedra, new results on the volume operator, and a way to incorporate a classical background metric into the quantum description. Finally I describe a new type of exponentiated flux operator, and its application to Chern-Simons theory and black holes.

Abstract:
As a toy model for the implementation of the diffeomorphism constraint, the interpretation of the resulting states, and the treatment of ordering ambiguities in loop quantum gravity, we consider the Hilbert space of spatially diffeomorphism invariant states for a scalar field. We give a very explicit formula for the scalar product on this space, and discuss its structure. Then we turn to the quantization of a certain class of diffeomorphism invariant quantities on that space, and discuss in detail the ordering issues involved. On a technical level these issues bear some similarity to those encountered in full loop quantum gravity.