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In theoretical physics, **Euclidean quantum gravity** is a version of quantum gravity. It seeks to use the Wick rotation to describe the force of gravity according to the principles of quantum mechanics.

In physics, a Wick rotation, named after Gian-Carlo Wick, is a method of finding a solution to dynamics problems in dimensions, by transposing their descriptions in dimensions, by trading one dimension of space for one dimension of time. More precisely, it substitutes a mathematical problem in Minkowski space into a related problem in Euclidean space by means of a transformation that substitutes an imaginary-number variable for a real-number variable.

It is called a *rotation* because when complex numbers are represented as a plane, the multiplication of a complex number by is equivalent to rotating the vector representing that number by an angle of radians about the origin.

For example, a Wick rotation could be used to relate a macroscopic event temperature diffusion (like in a bath) to the underlying thermal movements of molecules. If we attempt to model the bath volume with the different gradients of temperature we would have to subdivide this volume into infinitesimal volumes and see how they interact. We know such infinitesimal volumes are in fact water molecules. If we represent all molecules in the bath by only one molecule in an attempt to simplify the problem, this unique molecule should walk along all possible paths that the real molecules might follow. The path integral formulation is the conceptual tool used to describe the movements of this unique molecule, and Wick rotation is one of the mathematical tools that are very useful to analyse a path integral problem.

In a somewhat similar manner, the motion of a quantum object as described by quantum mechanics implies that it can exist simultaneously in different positions and have different speeds. It differs clearly to the movement of a classical object (e.g. a billiard ball), since in this case a single path with precise position and speed can be described. A quantum object does not move from A to B with a single path, but moves from A to B by all ways possible at the same time. According to the Feynman path-integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the path of the quantum object is described mathematically as a weighted average of all those possible paths. In 1966 an explicitly gauge invariant functional-integral algorithm was found by DeWitt, which extended Feynman's new rules to all orders. What is appealing in this new approach is its lack of singularities when they are unavoidable in general relativity.

Another operational problem with general relativity is the computational difficulty, because of the complexity of the mathematical tools used. Path integrals in contrast have been used in mechanics since the end of the nineteenth century and is well known.^{[citation needed]} In addition, the path-integral formalism is used both in classical and quantum physics so it might be a good starting point for unifying general relativity and quantum theories. For example, the quantum-mechanical Schrödinger equation and the classical heat equation are related by Wick rotation. So the Wick relation is a good tool to relate a classical phenomenon to a quantum phenomenon. The ambition of Euclidean quantum gravity is to use the Wick rotation to find connections between a macroscopic phenomenon, gravity, and something more microscopic.

**Euclidean quantum gravity** refers to a Wick rotated version of quantum gravity, formulated as a quantum field theory. The manifolds that are used in this formulation are 4-dimensional Riemannian manifolds instead of pseudo Riemannian manifolds. It is also assumed that the manifolds are compact, connected and boundaryless (i.e. no singularities). Following the usual quantum field-theoretic formulation, the vacuum to vacuum amplitude is written as a functional integral over the metric tensor, which is now the quantum field under consideration.

where φ denotes all the matter fields. See Einstein–Hilbert action.

Euclidean Quantum Gravity does relate back to ADM formalism used in canonical quantum gravity and recovers the Wheeler–DeWitt equation under various circumstances. If we have some matter field , then the path integral reads

where integration over includes an integration over the three-metric, the lapse function , and shift vector . But we demand that be independent of the lapse function and shift vector at the boundaries, so we obtain

where is the three-dimensional boundary. Observe that this expression vanishes implies the functional derivative vanishes, giving us the Wheeler–DeWitt equation. A similar statement may be made for the diffeomorphism constraint (take functional derivative with respect to the shift functions instead).

- DeWitt, Bryce S. (1967-10-25). "Quantum Theory of Gravity. II. The Manifestly Covariant Theory".
*Physical Review*. American Physical Society (APS).**162**(5): 1195–1239. doi:10.1103/physrev.162.1195. ISSN 0031-899X. - DeWitt, Bryce S.; Esposito, Giampiero (2008). "An introduction to quantum gravity".
*International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics*. World Scientific Pub Co Pte Lt.**05**(01): 101–156. arXiv:0711.2445. doi:10.1142/s0219887808002679. ISSN 0219-8878. - Richard P. Feynman,
*Lectures on Gravitation*, Notes by F.B. Morinigo and W.G. Wagner, Caltech 1963 (Addison Wesley 1995). - Gary W. Gibbons and Stephen W. Hawking (eds.),
*Euclidean quantum gravity*, World Scientific (1993). - Herbert W. Hamber,
*Quantum Gravitation - The Feynman Path Integral Approach*, Springer Publishing 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-85293-3. - Stephen W. Hawking,
*The Path Integral Approach to Quantum Gravity*, in*General Relativity - An Einstein Centenary Survey*, Cambridge U. Press, 1977. - Hartle, J. B.; Hawking, S. W. (1983-12-15). "Wave function of the Universe".
*Physical Review D*. American Physical Society (APS).**28**(12): 2960–2975. doi:10.1103/physrevd.28.2960. ISSN 0556-2821. Formally relates Euclidean quantum gravity to ADM formalism. - Claus Kiefer,
*Quantum Gravity*(third ed.). Oxford University Press 2012. - Mottola, Emil (1995). "Functional integration over geometries".
*Journal of Mathematical Physics*. AIP Publishing.**36**(5): 2470–2511. arXiv:hep-th/9502109. doi:10.1063/1.531359. ISSN 0022-2488. - Martin J.G. Veltman,
*Quantum Theory of Gravitation*, in*Methods in Field Theory*, Les Houches Session XXVIII, North Holland 1976.