Abstract:
The purpose of this contribution is to give an introduction to quantum geometry and loop quantum gravity for a wide audience of both physicists and mathematicians. From a physical point of view the emphasis will be on conceptual issues concerning the relationship of the formalism with other more traditional approaches inspired in the treatment of the fundamental interactions in the standard model. Mathematically I will pay special attention to functional analytic issues, the construction of the relevant Hilbert spaces and the definition and properties of geometric operators: areas and volumes.

Abstract:
I show in this letter that it is possible to construct a Hamiltonian description for Lorentzian General Relativity in terms of two real $SO(3)$ connections. The constraints are simple polynomials in the basic variables. The present framework gives us a new formulation of General Relativity that keeps some of the interesting features of the Ashtekar formulation without the complications associated with the complex character of the latter.

Abstract:
I show in this letter that it is possible to solve some of the constraints of the $SO(3)$-ADM formalism for general relativity by using an approach similar to the one introduced by Capovilla, Dell and Jacobson to solve the vector and scalar constraints in the Ashtekar variables framework. I discuss the advantages of using the ADM formalism and compare the result with similar proposals for different Hamiltonian formulations of general relativity.

Abstract:
We show in this paper that it is possible to formulate General Relativity in a phase space coordinatized by two $SO(3)$ connections. We analyze first the Husain-Kucha\v{r} model and find a two connection description for it. Introducing a suitable scalar constraint in this phase space we get a Hamiltonian formulation of gravity that is close to the Ashtekar one, from which it is derived, but has some interesting features of its own. Among them a possible mechanism for dealing with the degenerate metrics and a neat way of writing the constraints of General Relativity.

Abstract:
We give in this paper a modified self-dual action that leads to the $SO(3)$-ADM formalism without having to face the difficult second class constraints present in other approaches (for example if one starts from the Hilbert-Palatini action). We use the new action principle to gain some new insights into the problem of the reality conditions that must be imposed in order to get real formulations from complex general relativity. We derive also a real formulation for Lorentzian general relativity in the Ashtekar phase space by using the modified action presented in the paper.

Abstract:
I suggest in this letter a new strategy to attack the problem of the reality conditions in the Ashtekar approach to classical and quantum general relativity. By writing a modified Hamiltonian constraint in the usual $SO(3)$ Yang-Mills phase space I show that it is possible to describe space-times with Lorentzian signature without the introduction of complex variables. All the features of the Ashtekar formalism related to the geometrical nature of the new variables are retained; in particular, it is still possible, in principle, to use the loop variables approach in the passage to the quantum theory. The key issue in the new formulation is how to deal with the more complicated Hamiltonian constraint that must be used in order to avoid the introduction of complex fields.

Abstract:
We study in this paper a new approach to the problem of relating solutions to the Einstein field equations with Riemannian and Lorentzian signatures. The procedure can be thought of as a "real Wick rotation". We give a modified action for general relativity, depending on two real parameters, that can be used to control the signature of the solutions to the field equations. We show how this procedure works for the Schwarzschild metric and discuss some possible applications of the formalism in the context of signature change, the problem of time, black hole thermodynamics...

Abstract:
The Ashtekar formulation of 2+1 gravity differs from the geometrodynamical and Witten descriptions when the 2-metric is degenerate. We study the phase space of 2+1 gravity in the Ashtekar formulation to understand these degenerate solutions to the field equations. In the process we find two new systems of first class constraints which describe part of the degenerate sectors of the Ashtekar formulation. One of them also generalizes the Witten constraints. Finally we argue that the Ashtekar formulation has an arbitrarily large number of degrees of freedom in contrast to the usual descriptions. TO GET THE FIGURES CONTACT Barbero@suhep.phy.syr.edu or Madhavan@suhep.phy.syr.edu

Abstract:
The constraint hypersurfaces defining the Witten and Ashtekar formulations for 2+1 gravity are very different. In particular the constraint hypersurface in the Ashtekar case is not a manifold but consists of several sectors that intersect each other in a complicated way. The issue of how to define a consistent dynamics in such a situation is then rather non-trivial. We discuss this point by working out the details in a simplified (finite dimensional) homogeneous reduction of 2+1 gravity in the Ashtekar formulation.

Abstract:
We show that the recent claim that the 2+1 dimensional Ashtekar formulation for General Relativity has a finite number of physical degrees of freedom is not correct.