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The closed, k=1, FRW model coupled to a massless scalar field is investigated in the framework of loop quantum cosmology using analytical and numerical methods. As in the k=0 case, the scalar field can be again used as emergent time to construct the physical Hilbert space and introduce Dirac observables. The resulting framework is then used to address a major challenge of quantum cosmology: resolving the big-bang singularity while retaining agreement with general relativity at large scales. It is shown that the framework fulfills this task. In particular, for states which are semiclassical at some late time, the big bang is replaced by a quantum bounce and a recollapse occurs at the value of the scale factor predicted by classical general relativity. Thus, the "difficulties" pointed out by Green and Unruh in the k=1 case do not arise in a more systematic treatment. As in k=0 models, quantum dynamics is deterministic across the deep Planck regime. However, because it also retains the classical recollapse, in contrast to the k=0 case one is now led to a cyclic model. Finally, we clarify some issues raised by Laguna's recent work addressed to computational physicists. © 2007 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology