General Relativity and Gravitation

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1407–1417 | Cite as

The nearly Newtonian regime in non-linear theories of gravity

  • Thomas P. Sotiriou
Research Article


The present paper reconsiders the Newtonian limit of models of modified gravity including higher order terms in the scalar curvature in the gravitational action. This was studied using the Palatini variational principle in Meng and Wang (Gen. Rel. Grav. 36, 1947 (2004)) and Domínguez and Barraco (Phys. Rev. D 70, 043505 (2004)) with contradicting results. Here a different approach is used, and problems in the previous attempts are pointed out. It is shown that models with negative powers of the scalar curvature, like the ones used to explain the present accelerated expansion, as well as their generalization which include positive powers, can give the correct Newtonian limit, as long as the coefficients of these powers are reasonably small. Some consequences of the performed analysis seem to raise doubts for the way the Newtonian limit was derived in the purely metric approach of fourth order gravity [Dick in Gen. Rel. Grav. 36, 217 (2004)]. Finally, we comment on a recent paper [Olmo in Phys. Rev. D 72, 083505 (2005)] in which the problem of the Newtonian limit of both the purely metric and the Palatini formalism is discussed, using the equivalent Brans–Dicke theory, and with which our results partly disagree.


Newtonian limit f(R) gravity Palatini variation Metric variation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SISSA-International School of Advanced StudiesTriesteItaly
  2. 2.INFNSezione di TriesteItlay

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