The quantum gravity group carries out research on various aspects of quantum gravity as well as on some allied areas of mathematical physics, including topics in quantum mechanics and classical general relativity. A particular interest of the research group is the subject of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, particularly in the framework of algebraic quantum field theory. Our work often makes use of rigorous techniques drawn from functional analysis (e.g. the theory of operators on Hilbert spaces and operator algebras) and other areas of pure mathematics including differential geometry, microlocal analysis and category theory.
Although no complete and satisfactory theory of quantum gravity exists, the attempt to anticipate some of its likely properties has led to many interesting developments. In particular, Hawking's 1974 prediction of black hole evaporation, based on consideration of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, indicates deep interconnections between quantum theory, gravity and thermodynamics. Work on quantum gravitation has changed our perspective on each of the separate theories of classical general relativity and quantum field theory and focussed attention on issues which might be expected to be of relevance for the unification problem (e.g. the problem of singularities in classical general relativity or the problem of locality in quantum field theory). Further, both at the theoretical and experimental/observational level, the two subjects have now essentially merged, with high-energy phenomena believed to have dominated the era just after the big bang and hence to have determined the present structure of the universe.
For information about possible PhD projects, see here.