Astrophysical and Local Tests of the Einstein Equivalence Principle


  • Call:

    IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2016

  • Academic Year:

    2016 / 2017

  • Domains:

    Cosmology | Astrophysics

  • Supervisor:

    Carlos Martins

  • Co-Supervisor:

  • Institution:

    Universidade do Porto

  • Host Institution:


  • Abstract:

    The Einstein Equivalence Principle (EEP, which Einstein formulated in 1907) is the cornerstone of General Relativity (only formulated in 1915) but also of a broader class known as metric theories of gravity. Although they are often confused, the two are conceptually distinct, and different experiments optimally constrain one or the other. Recent developments, including quantum interferometric tests and dedicated space missions, promise to revolutionize the field of local tests of the EEP and dramatically improve their current sensitivity. In this thesis the student will explore new synergies between these imminent new local tests of the EEP and ongoing or planned astrophysical and cosmological tests: some of these directly test the EEP, while others only test the behaviour of GR on various scales. We will explore relevant paradigms (including scenarios with and without screening mechanisms) and study how they will be further constrained by experiments such as MicroSCOPE and ACES, in combination with astrophysical data. The project may have a theoretical or an observational focus, depending on the student’s preference and skills. In any case the work will be directly relevant for the science case of several ELT instruments, and to a lesser extent for ALMA, Euclid and the SKA. Recent relevant works include arXiv:1403.7377, arXiv:1412.0108, arXiv:1506.03550, arXiv:1508.00765 and arXiv:1508.06157.