A Caltech Library Service

Propagation peculiarities of mean field massive gravity

Deser, S. and Waldron, A. and Zahariade, G. (2015) Propagation peculiarities of mean field massive gravity. Physics Letters B, 749 . pp. 144-148. ISSN 0370-2693. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2015.07.055.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Massive gravity (mGR) describes a dynamical “metric” on a fiducial, background one. We investigate fluctuations of the dynamics about mGR solutions, that is about its “mean field theory”. Analyzing mean field massive gravity (mGR) propagation characteristics is not only equivalent to studying those of the full non-linear theory, but also in direct correspondence with earlier analyses of charged higher spin systems, the oldest example being the charged, massive spin 3/2 Rarita–Schwinger (RS) theory. The fiducial and mGR mean field background metrics in the mGR model correspond to the RS Minkowski metric and external EM field. The common implications in both systems are that hyperbolicity holds only in a weak background-mean-field limit, immediately ruling both theories out as fundamental theories; a situation in stark contrast with general relativity (GR) which is at least a consistent classical theory. Moreover, even though both mGR and RS theories can still in principle be considered as predictive effective models in the weak regime, their lower helicities then exhibit superluminal behavior: lower helicity gravitons are superluminal as compared to photons propagating on either the fiducial or background metric. Thus our approach has uncovered a novel, dispersive, “crystal-like” phenomenon of differing helicities having differing propagation speeds. This applies both to mGR and mGR, and is a peculiar feature that is problematic for consistent coupling to matter.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Deser, S.0000-0001-9285-9434
Additional Information:© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( Funded by SCOAP3. Received 18 April 2015; Received in revised form 17 July 2015; Accepted 20 July 2015; Available online 28 July 2015. We thank C. Deffayet, S. Dubovsky, K. Hinterbichler, K. Izumi, M. Porrati and Y.C. Ong for discussions. S.D. was supported in part by grants NSF PHY-1266107 and DOE #de-sc0011632. A.W. was supported in part by a Simons Foundation Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians. G.Z. was supported in part by DOE Grant DEFG03-91ER40674. This research was supported in part by Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported by the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development & Innovation. A.W. and G.Z. thank the Perimeter Institute for an illuminating “Superluminality in Effective Field Theories for Cosmology” workshop.
Group:Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0011632
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG03-91ER40674
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
Industry CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Ontario Ministry of Research and InnovationUNSPECIFIED
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150424-120524814
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:S. Deser, A. Waldron, G. Zahariade, Propagation peculiarities of mean field massive gravity, Physics Letters B, Volume 749, 7 October 2015, Pages 144-148, ISSN 0370-2693, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:56956
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:24 Apr 2015 19:31
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page