Euclidean quantum gravity approaches have a long history but suffer from a number of severe issues. This gives a strong motivation to develop Lorentzian approaches. Spin foams constitute an important such approach, which incorporate a rigorously derived discrete area spectrum. I will explain how this discrete area spectrum is connected to the appearance of an anomaly, which explains the significance of the Barbero-Immirzi parameter and forces an extension of the quantum configuration space, to also include torsion degrees of freedom. This can be understood as a defining characteristic of the spin foam approach, and provides a pathway to an (experimental) falsification.
All these features are captured in the recently constructive effective spin foam model, which is much more amenable to numerical calculations than previous models. I will present numerical results that a) show that spin foams do impose the correct equations of motion b) highlight the influence of the anomaly and c) underline the difference to Euclidean quantum gravity. I will close with an outlook on the features that can be studied with a truly Lorentzian model, e.g. topology change.
- Quantum Gravity
- Scientific Series