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Constraining theories of gravity using the large-scale distribution of galaxies


 The origin of the current accelerated expansion of the Universe remains one of the major unsolved mysteries in physics today. While this could be a sign of the mysterious “Dark Energy”, this puzzling observation might also be evidence for the inadequacy of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity (GR) to describe the law of gravity on very large cosmological scales. These considerations would have strong implications on our understanding of fundamental physics, warranting dedicated studies such as the one undertaken recently by researchers at MPA and MPE. In this work, the authors created mock universes with non-GR theories of gravity to test the validity of current observational methods to determine the rate at which structures grow in the Universe. This allowed them to place bounds on how much the current data allows the Universe to depart from Einstein’s prediction. Reassuringly, current observational methods do not show evidence for a biased performance when tested on mock universes with modified gravity.

Figure 1:Schematic representation of the DGP brane model. Matter and radiation are confined to the four-dimensional brane, but the gravitational interaction is free to propagate out into the additional fifth dimension.

 See: http://www.mpa-garching.mpg.de/404826/hl201702


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