We review what is known about boundary conditions in General Relativity on a spacetime of Euclidean signature. The obvious Dirichlet boundary condition, in which one specifies the boundary geometry, is actually not elliptic and in general does not lead to a well-defined perturbation theory. It is better-behaved if the extrinsic curvature of the boundary is suitably constrained, for instance if it is positive-or negative-definite. A different boundary condition, in which one specifies the conformal geometry of the boundary and the trace of the extrinsic curvature, is elliptic and always leads formally to a satisfactory perturbation theory. These facts might have interesting implications for semiclassical approaches to quantum gravity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Mathematical Physics