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Tensorial spacetime geometries carrying predictive, interpretable and quantizable matter dynamics
(2012)

Which tensor fields G on a smooth manifold M can serve as a spacetime structure? In the first part of this thesis, it is found that only a severely restricted class of tensor fields can provide classical spacetime geometries, namely those that can carry predictive, interpretable and quantizable matter dynamics. The obvious dependence of this characterization of admissible tensorial spacetime geometries on specific matter is not a weakness, but rather presents an insight: it was Maxwell theory that justified Einstein to promote Lorentzian manifolds to the status of a spacetime geometry. Any matter that does not mimick the structure of Maxwell theory, will force us to choose another geometry on which the matter dynamics of interest are predictive, interpretable and quantizable. These three physical conditions on matter impose three corresponding algebraic conditions on the totally symmetric contravariant coefficient tensor field P that determines the principal symbol of the matter field equations in terms of the geometric tensor G: the tensor field P must be hyperbolic, time-orientable and energy-distinguishing. Remarkably, these physically necessary conditions on the geometry are mathematically already sufficient to realize all kinematical constructions familiar from Lorentzian geometry, for precisely the same structural reasons. This we were able to show employing a subtle interplay of convex analysis, the theory of partial differential equations and real algebraic geometry. In the second part of this thesis, we then explore general properties of any hyperbolic, time-orientable and energy-distinguishing tensorial geometry. Physically most important are the construction of freely falling non-rotating laboratories, the appearance of admissible modified dispersion relations to particular observers, and the identification of a mechanism that explains why massive particles that are faster than some massless particles can radiate off energy until they are slower than all massless particles in any hyperbolic, time-orientable and energy-distinguishing geometry. In the third part of the thesis, we explore how tensorial spacetime geometries fare when one wants to quantize particles and fields on them. This study is motivated, in part, in order to provide the tools to calculate the rate at which superluminal particles radiate off energy to become infraluminal, as explained above. Remarkably, it is again the three geometric conditions of hyperbolicity, time-orientability and energy-distinguishability that allow the quantization of general linear electrodynamics on an area metric spacetime and the quantization of massive point particles obeying any admissible dispersion relation. We explore the issue of field equations of all possible derivative order in rather systematic fashion, and prove a practically most useful theorem that determines Dirac algebras allowing the reduction of derivative orders. The final part of the thesis presents the sketch of a truly remarkable result that was obtained building on the work of the present thesis. Particularly based on the subtle duality maps between momenta and velocities in general tensorial spacetimes, it could be shown that gravitational dynamics for hyperbolic, time-orientable and energy distinguishable geometries need not be postulated, but the formidable physical problem of their construction can be reduced to a mere mathematical task: the solution of a system of homogeneous linear partial differential equations. This far-reaching physical result on modified gravity theories is a direct, but difficult to derive, outcome of the findings in the present thesis. Throughout the thesis, the abstract theory is illustrated through instructive examples.