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Gravity and the Tenacious Scalar Field

  • Carl H. Brans

Abstract

Scalar fields have had a long and controversial life in gravity theories, having progressed through many deaths and resurrections. The first scientific gravity theory, Newton’s, was that of a scalar potential field, so it was natural for Einstein and others to consider the possibility of incorporating gravity into special relativity as a scalar theory. This effort, though fruitless in its original intent, nevertheless was useful in leading the way to Einstein’s general relativity, a purely two-tensor field theory. However, a universally coupled scalar field again appeared, both in the context of Dirac’s large number hypothesis and in 5-dimensional unified field theories as studied by Fierz, Jordan, and others. While later experimentation seems to indicate that if such a scalar exists its influence on solar system--size interactions is negligible, other reincarnations have been proposed under the guise of dilatons in string theory and inflatons in cosmology. This paper presents a brief overview of this history.

Keywords

Scalar Field Gravitational Field Special Relativity Massless Scalar Field Weak Equivalence Principle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl H. Brans

There are no affiliations available

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