Diffeomorphism invariance and quantum mechanical paradoxes

Academic Article


  • Paradoxes in gravitational physics, such as grandfather paradoxes with closed timelike curves or the AMPS paradox, are often constructed in a weak gravity regime but upon further examination engender strong gravitational responses such as unstable Cauchy horizons or firewalls. In contrast, some proposed paradoxes in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics ignore gravity completely. Such nonrelativistic proposed paradoxes are often not gauge invariant — they use local operators which should be forbidden by diffeomorphism-invariant quantum gravity. Ignoring this complication is reasonable if there is a consistent weak gravity regime where the paradox can be formulated with gauge invariant observables up to some order in Newton’s constant. We show that this approach remains inconsistent due to a lack of analyticity of the necessary solutions. As a consequence, there is no consistent weak gravity, diffeomorphism invariant embedding of such paradoxes—just as in other gravitational paradoxes they generate a strong gravitational response and are in principle sensitive to quantum gravity.
  • Authors

  • Dukehart, Adam
  • Mattingly, David
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 15, 2024
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 33
  • Issue

  • 01