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Living Reviews in Relativity

We review recent progress in massive gravity. We start by showing how different theories of massive gravity emerge from a higher-dimensional theory of general relativity, leading to the Dvali–Gabadadze–Porrati model (DGP), cascading gravity, and ghost-free massive gravity. We then explore their theoretical and phenomenological consistency, proving the absence of Boulware–Deser ghosts and reviewing the Vainshtein mechanism and the cosmological solutions in these models. Finally, we present alternative and related models of massive gravity such as new massive gravity, Lorentz-violating massive gravity and non-local massive gravity. 2014/08/27 - 21:54

Equal-arm detectors of gravitational radiation allow phase measurements many orders of magnitude below the intrinsic phase stability of the laser injecting light into their arms. This is because the noise in the laser light is common to both arms, experiencing exactly the same delay, and thus cancels when it is differenced at the photo detector. In this situation, much lower level secondary noises then set the overall performance. If, however, the two arms have different lengths (as will necessarily be the case with space-borne interferometers), the laser noise experiences different delays in the two arms and will hence not directly cancel at the detector. In order to solve this problem, a technique involving heterodyne interferometry with unequal arm lengths and independent phase-difference readouts has been proposed. It relies on properly time-shifting and linearly combining independent Doppler measurements, and for this reason it has been called time-delay interferometry (TDI).

This article provides an overview of the theory, mathematical foundations, and experimental aspects associated with the implementation of TDI. Although emphasis on the application of TDI to the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission appears throughout this article, TDI can be incorporated into the design of any future space-based mission aiming to search for gravitational waves via interferometric measurements. We have purposely left out all theoretical aspects that data analysts will need to account for when analyzing the TDI data combinations. 2014/08/05 - 20:40

The present review intends to provide an overall picture of the research concerning classical unified field theory, worldwide, in the decades between the mid-1930 and mid-1960. Main themes are the conceptual and methodical development of the field, the interaction among the scientists working in it, their opinions and interpretations. Next to the most prominent players, A. Einstein and E. Schrödinger, V. Hlavatý and the French groups around A. Lichnerowicz, M.-A. Tonnelat, and Y. Thiry are presented. It is shown that they have given contributions of comparable importance. The review also includes a few sections on the fringes of the central topic like Born–Infeld electromagnetic theory or scalar-tensor theory. Some comments on the structure and organization of research-groups are also made. 2014/06/27 - 14:08

The status of experimental tests of general relativity and of theoretical frameworks for analyzing them is reviewed and updated. Einstein’s equivalence principle (EEP) is well supported by experiments such as the Eötvös experiment, tests of local Lorentz invariance and clock experiments. Ongoing tests of EEP and of the inverse square law are searching for new interactions arising from unification or quantum gravity. Tests of general relativity at the post-Newtonian level have reached high precision, including the light deflection, the Shapiro time delay, the perihelion advance of Mercury, the Nordtvedt effect in lunar motion, and frame-dragging. Gravitational wave damping has been detected in an amount that agrees with general relativity to better than half a percent using the Hulse–Taylor binary pulsar, and a growing family of other binary pulsar systems is yielding new tests, especially of strong-field effects. Current and future tests of relativity will center on strong gravity and gravitational waves. 2014/06/14 - 19:32

We review the formation and evolution of compact binary stars consisting of white dwarfs (WDs), neutron stars (NSs), and black holes (BHs). Mergings of compact-star binaries are expected to be the most important sources for forthcoming gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy. In the first part of the review, we discuss observational manifestations of close binaries with NS and/or BH components and their merger rate, crucial points in the formation and evolution of compact stars in binary systems, including the treatment of the natal kicks, which NSs and BHs acquire during the core collapse of massive stars and the common envelope phase of binary evolution, which are most relevant to the merging rates of NS-NS, NS-BH and BH-BH binaries. The second part of the review is devoted mainly to the formation and evolution of binary WDs and their observational manifestations, including their role as progenitors of cosmologically-important thermonuclear SN Ia. We also consider AM CVn-stars, which are thought to be the best verification binary GW sources for future low-frequency GW space interferometers. 2014/05/09 - 21:52

To be observed and analyzed by the network of gravitational wave detectors on ground (LIGO, VIRGO, etc.) and by the future detectors in space (eLISA, etc.), inspiralling compact binaries -- binary star systems composed of neutron stars and/or black holes in their late stage of evolution -- require high-accuracy templates predicted by general relativity theory. The gravitational waves emitted by these very relativistic systems can be accurately modelled using a high-order post-Newtonian gravitational wave generation formalism. In this article, we present the current state of the art on post-Newtonian methods as applied to the dynamics and gravitational radiation of general matter sources (including the radiation reaction back onto the source) and inspiralling compact binaries. We describe the post-Newtonian equations of motion of compact binaries and the associated Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms, paying attention to the self-field regularizations at work in the calculations. Several notions of innermost circular orbits are discussed. We estimate the accuracy of the post-Newtonian approximation and make a comparison with numerical computations of the gravitational self-force for compact binaries in the small mass ratio limit. The gravitational waveform and energy flux are obtained to high post-Newtonian order and the binary's orbital phase evolution is deduced from an energy balance argument. Some landmark results are given in the case of eccentric compact binaries -- moving on quasi-elliptical orbits with non-negligible eccentricity. The spins of the two black holes play an important role in the definition of the gravitational wave templates. We investigate their imprint on the equations of motion and gravitational wave phasing up to high post-Newtonian order (restricting to spin-orbit effects which are linear in spins), and analyze the post-Newtonian spin precession equations as well as the induced precession of the orbital plane. 2014/02/14 - 20:29

This is a historical-critical study of the hole argument, concentrating on the interface between historical, philosophical and physical issues. Although it includes a review of its history, its primary aim is a discussion of the contemporary implications of the hole argument for physical theories based on dynamical, background-independent space-time structures.

The historical review includes Einstein’s formulations of the hole argument, Kretschmann’s critique, as well as Hilbert’s reformulation and Darmois’ formulation of the general-relativistic Cauchy problem. The 1970s saw a revival of interest in the hole argument, growing out of attempts to answer the question: Why did three years elapse between Einstein’s adoption of the metric tensor to represent the gravitational field and his adoption of the Einstein field equations?

The main part presents some modern mathematical versions of the hole argument, including both coordinate-dependent and coordinate-independent definitions of covariance and general covariance; and the fiber bundle formulation of both natural and gauge natural theories. By abstraction from continuity and differentiability, these formulations can be extended from differentiable manifolds to any set; and the concepts of permutability and general permutability applied to theories based on relations between the elements of a set, such as elementary particle theories.

We are closing with an overview of current discussions of philosophical and physical implications of the hole argument. 2014/02/08 - 06:51

This review is focused on tests of Einstein's theory of general relativity with gravitational waves that are detectable by ground-based interferometers and pulsar-timing experiments. Einstein’s theory has been greatly constrained in the quasi-linear, quasi-stationary regime, where gravity is weak and velocities are small. Gravitational waves will allow us to probe a complimentary, yet previously unexplored regime: the non-linear and dynamical strong-field regime. Such a regime is, for example, applicable to compact binaries coalescing, where characteristic velocities can reach fifty percent the speed of light and gravitational fields are large and dynamical. This review begins with the theoretical basis and the predicted gravitational-wave observables of modified gravity theories. The review continues with a brief description of the detectors, including both gravitational-wave interferometers and pulsar-timing arrays, leading to a discussion of the data analysis formalism that is applicable for such tests. The review ends with a discussion of gravitational-wave tests for compact binary systems. 2013/11/09 - 08:52

Any spacetime containing a degenerate Killing horizon, such as an extremal black hole, possesses a well-defined notion of a near-horizon geometry. We review such near-horizon geometry solutions in a variety of dimensions and theories in a unified manner. We discuss various general results including horizon topology and near-horizon symmetry enhancement. We also discuss the status of the classification of near-horizon geometries in theories ranging from vacuum gravity to Einstein–Maxwell theory and supergravity theories. Finally, we discuss applications to the classification of extremal black holes and various related topics. Several new results are presented and open problems are highlighted throughout. 2013/09/26 - 18:30

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ∼ 10^{-5} – 1 Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger. 2013/09/12 - 15:08

Euclid is a European Space Agency medium-class mission selected for launch in 2019 within the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The main goal of Euclid is to understand the origin of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Euclid will explore the expansion history of the universe and the evolution of cosmic structures by measuring shapes and red-shifts of galaxies as well as the distribution of clusters of galaxies over a large fraction of the sky.

Although the main driver for Euclid is the nature of dark energy, Euclid science covers a vast range of topics, from cosmology to galaxy evolution to planetary research. In this review we focus on cosmology and fundamental physics, with a strong emphasis on science beyond the current standard models. We discuss five broad topics: dark energy and modified gravity, dark matter, initial conditions, basic assumptions and questions of methodology in the data analysis.

This review has been planned and carried out within Euclid's Theory Working Group and is meant to provide a guide to the scientific themes that will underlie the activity of the group during the preparation of the Euclid mission. 2013/09/04 - 00:24

I review the current status of phenomenological programs inspired by quantum-spacetime research. I stress in particular the significance of results establishing that certain data analyses provide sensitivity to effects introduced genuinely at the Planck scale. My main focus is on phenomenological programs that affect the directions taken by studies of quantum-spacetime theories. 2013/06/13 - 23:29

Galactic globular clusters are old, dense star systems typically containing 10^4 – 10^6 stars. As an old population of stars, globular clusters contain many collapsed and degenerate objects. As a dense population of stars, globular clusters are the scene of many interesting close dynamical interactions between stars. These dynamical interactions can alter the evolution of individual stars and can produce tight binary systems containing one or two compact objects. In this review, we discuss theoretical models of globular cluster evolution and binary evolution, techniques for simulating this evolution that leads to relativistic binaries, and current and possible future observational evidence for this population. Our discussion of globular cluster evolution will focus on the processes that boost the production of tight binary systems and the subsequent interaction of these binaries that can alter the properties of both bodies and can lead to exotic objects. Direct N-body integrations and Fokker–Planck simulations of the evolution of globular clusters that incorporate tidal interactions and lead to predictions of relativistic binary populations are also discussed. We discuss the current observational evidence for cataclysmic variables, millisecond pulsars, and low-mass X-ray binaries as well as possible future detection of relativistic binaries with gravitational radiation. 2013/03/05 - 05:58

This article reviews the present status of the spin-foam approach to the quantization of gravity. Special attention is payed to the pedagogical presentation of the recently-introduced new models for four-dimensional quantum gravity. The models are motivated by a suitable implementation of the path integral quantization of the Plebanski formulation of gravity on a simplicial regularization. The article also includes a self contained treatment of 2+1 gravity. The simple nature of the latter provides the basis and a perspective for the analysis of both conceptual and technical issues that remain open in four dimensions. 2013/02/15 - 01:42

We review the question of whether the fundamental laws of nature limit our ability to probe arbitrarily short distances. First, we examine what insights can be gained from thought experiments for probes of shortest distances, and summarize what can be learned from different approaches to a theory of quantum gravity. Then we discuss some models that have been developed to implement a minimal length scale in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. These models have entered the literature as the generalized uncertainty principle or the modified dispersion relation, and have allowed the study of the effects of a minimal length scale in quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, thermodynamics, black-hole physics and cosmology. Finally, we touch upon the question of ways to circumvent the manifestation of a minimal length scale in short-distance physics. 2013/01/30 - 17:43

This review covers the main aspects of black hole accretion disk theory. We begin with the view that one of the main goals of the theory is to better understand the nature of black holes themselves. In this light we discuss how accretion disks might reveal some of the unique signatures of strong gravity: the event horizon, the innermost stable circular orbit, and the ergosphere. We then review, from a first-principles perspective, the physical processes at play in accretion disks. This leads us to the four primary accretion disk models that we review: Polish doughnuts (thick disks), Shakura-Sunyaev (thin) disks, slim disks, and advection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs). After presenting the models we discuss issues of stability, oscillations, and jets. Following our review of the analytic work, we take a parallel approach in reviewing numerical studies of black hole accretion disks. We finish with a few select applications that highlight particular astrophysical applications: measurements of black hole mass and spin, black hole vs. neutron star accretion disks, black hole accretion disk spectral states, and quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs). 2013/01/16 - 05:21

We present a first-principles derivation of the main results of the Kerr/CFT correspondence and its extensions using only tools from gravity and quantum field theory, filling a few gaps in the literature when necessary. Firstly, we review properties of extremal black holes that imply, according to semi-classical quantization rules, that their near-horizon quantum states form a centrally-extended representation of the one-dimensional conformal group. This motivates the conjecture that the extremal Kerr and Reissner–Nordström black holes are dual to the chiral limit of a two-dimensional CFT. We also motivate the existence of an SL (2,ℤ) family of two-dimensional CFTs, which describe in their chiral limit the extremal Kerr–Newman black hole. We present generalizations in anti-de Sitter spacetime and discuss other matter-coupling and higher-derivative corrections. Secondly, we show how a near-chiral limit of these CFTs reproduces the dynamics of near-superradiant probes around near-extremal black holes in the semi-classical limit. Thirdly, we review how the hidden conformal symmetries of asymptotically-flat black holes away from extremality, combined with their properties at extremality, allow for a microscopic accounting of the entropy of non-extremal asymptotically-flat rotating or charged black holes. We conclude with a list of open problems. 2012/10/23 - 10:36

A wealth of astronomical data indicate the presence of mass discrepancies in the Universe. The motions observed in a variety of classes of extragalactic systems exceed what can be explained by the mass visible in stars and gas. Either (i) there is a vast amount of unseen mass in some novel form - dark matter - or (ii) the data indicate a breakdown of our understanding of dynamics on the relevant scales, or (iii) both. Here, we first review a few outstanding challenges for the dark matter interpretation of mass discrepancies in galaxies, purely based on observations and independently of any alternative theoretical framework. We then show that many of these puzzling observations are predicted by one single relation - Milgrom's law - involving an acceleration constant a_0 (or a characteristic surface density Σ_† = a_0∕G) on the order of the square-root of the cosmological constant in natural units. This relation can at present most easily be interpreted as the effect of a single universal force law resulting from a modification of Newtonian dynamics (MOND) on galactic scales. We exhaustively review the current observational successes and problems of this alternative paradigm at all astrophysical scales, and summarize the various theoretical attempts (TeVeS, GEA, BIMOND, and others) made to effectively embed this modification of Newtonian dynamics within a relativistic theory of gravity. 2012/09/08 - 00:50

Many evolution problems in physics are described by partial differential equations on an infinite domain; therefore, one is interested in the solutions to such problems for a given initial dataset. A prominent example is the binary black-hole problem within Einstein's theory of gravitation, in which one computes the gravitational radiation emitted from the inspiral of the two black holes, merger and ringdown. Powerful mathematical tools can be used to establish qualitative statements about the solutions, such as their existence, uniqueness, continuous dependence on the initial data, or their asymptotic behavior over large time scales. However, one is often interested in computing the solution itself, and unless the partial differential equation is very simple, or the initial data possesses a high degree of symmetry, this computation requires approximation by numerical discretization. When solving such discrete problems on a machine, one is faced with a finite limit to computational resources, which leads to the replacement of the infinite continuum domain with a finite computer grid. This, in turn, leads to a discrete initial-boundary value problem. The hope is to recover, with high accuracy, the exact solution in the limit where the grid spacing converges to zero with the boundary being pushed to infinity.

The goal of this article is to review some of the theory necessary to understand the continuum and discrete initial boundary-value problems arising from hyperbolic partial differential equations and to discuss its applications to numerical relativity; in particular, we present well-posed initial and initial-boundary value formulations of Einstein's equations, and we discuss multi-domain high-order finite difference and spectral methods to solve them. 2012/08/28 - 08:46

We review the current status of studies of the coalescence of binary neutron star systems. We begin with a discussion of the formation channels of merging binaries and we discuss the most recent theoretical predictions for merger rates. Next, we turn to the quasi-equilibrium formalisms that are used to study binaries prior to the merger phase and to generate initial data for fully dynamical simulations. The quasi-equilibrium approximation has played a key role in developing our understanding of the physics of binary coalescence and, in particular, of the orbital instability processes that can drive binaries to merger at the end of their lifetimes. We then turn to the numerical techniques used in dynamical simulations, including relativistic formalisms, (magneto-)hydrodynamics, gravitational-wave extraction techniques, and nuclear microphysics treatments. This is followed by a summary of the simulations performed across the field to date, including the most recent results from both fully relativistic and microphysically detailed simulations. Finally, we discuss the likely directions for the field as we transition from the first to the second generation of gravitational-wave interferometers and while supercomputers reach the petascale frontier. 2012/07/05 - 05:32

The spectrum of known black-hole solutions to the stationary Einstein equations has been steadily increasing, sometimes in unexpected ways. In particular, it has turned out that not all black-hole-equilibrium configurations are characterized by their mass, angular momentum and global charges. Moreover, the high degree of symmetry displayed by vacuum and electro vacuum black-hole spacetimes ceases to exist in self-gravitating non-linear field theories. This text aims to review some developments in the subject and to discuss them in light of the uniqueness theorem for the Einstein-Maxwell system. 2012/06/01 - 16:06

The idea of stable, localized bundles of energy has strong appeal as a model for particles. In the 1950s, John Wheeler envisioned such bundles as smooth configurations of electromagnetic energy that he called geons, but none were found. Instead, particle-like solutions were found in the late 1960s with the addition of a scalar field, and these were given the name boson stars. Since then, boson stars find use in a wide variety of models as sources of dark matter, as black hole mimickers, in simple models of binary systems, and as a tool in finding black holes in higher dimensions with only a single Killing vector. We discuss important varieties of boson stars, their dynamic properties, and some of their uses, concentrating on recent efforts. 2012/05/12 - 23:39

The fast progress in improving the sensitivity of the gravitational-wave detectors, we all have witnessed in the recent years, has propelled the scientific community to the point at which quantum behavior of such immense measurement devices as kilometer-long interferometers starts to matter. The time when their sensitivity will be mainly limited by the quantum noise of light is around the corner, and finding ways to reduce it will become a necessity. Therefore, the primary goal we pursued in this review was to familiarize a broad spectrum of readers with the theory of quantum measurements in the very form it finds application in the area of gravitational-wave detection. We focus on how quantum noise arises in gravitational-wave interferometers and what limitations it imposes on the achievable sensitivity. We start from the very basic concepts and gradually advance to the general linear quantum measurement theory and its application to the calculation of quantum noise in the contemporary and planned interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation of the first and second generation. Special attention is paid to the concept of the Standard Quantum Limit and the methods of its surmounting. 2012/04/28 - 19:33

The article reviews the statistical theory of signal detection in application to analysis of deterministic gravitational-wave signals in the noise of a detector. Statistical foundations for the theory of signal detection and parameter estimation are presented. Several tools needed for both theoretical evaluation of the optimal data analysis methods and for their practical implementation are introduced. They include optimal signal-to-noise ratio, Fisher matrix, false alarm and detection probabilities, ℱ-statistic, template placement, and fitting factor. These tools apply to the case of signals buried in a stationary and Gaussian noise. Algorithms to efficiently implement the optimal data analysis techniques are discussed. Formulas are given for a general gravitational-wave signal that includes as special cases most of the deterministic signals of interest. 2012/03/09 - 14:47

This is a review on brane effective actions, their symmetries and some of their applications. Its first part covers the Green–Schwarz formulation of single M- and D-brane effective actions focusing on kinematical aspects: the identification of their degrees of freedom, the importance of world volume diffeomorphisms and kappa symmetry to achieve manifest spacetime covariance and supersymmetry, and the explicit construction of such actions in arbitrary on-shell supergravity backgrounds.

Its second part deals with applications. First, the use of kappa symmetry to determine supersymmetric world volume solitons. This includes their explicit construction in flat and curved backgrounds, their interpretation as Bogomol’nyi–Prasad–Sommerfield (BPS) states carrying (topological) charges in the supersymmetry algebra and the connection between supersymmetry and Hamiltonian BPS bounds. When available, I emphasise the use of these solitons as constituents in microscopic models of black holes. Second, the use of probe approximations to infer about the non-trivial dynamics of strongly-coupled gauge theories using the anti de Sitter/conformal field theory (AdS/CFT) correspondence. This includes expectation values of Wilson loop operators, spectrum information and the general use of D-brane probes to approximate the dynamics of systems with small number of degrees of freedom interacting with larger systems allowing a dual gravitational description.

Its final part briefly discusses effective actions for N D-branes and M2-branes. This includes both Super-Yang-Mills theories, their higher-order corrections and partial results in covariantising these couplings to curved backgrounds, and the more recent supersymmetric Chern–Simons matter theories describing M2-branes using field theory, brane constructions and 3-algebra considerations. 2012/02/29 - 20:28

I review the development of numerical evolution codes for general relativity based upon the characteristic initial-value problem. Progress in characteristic evolution is traced from the early stage of 1D feasibility studies to 2D-axisymmetric codes that accurately simulate the oscillations and gravitational collapse of relativistic stars and to current 3D codes that provide pieces of a binary black-hole spacetime. Cauchy codes have now been successful at simulating all aspects of the binary black-hole problem inside an artificially constructed outer boundary. A prime application of characteristic evolution is to extend such simulations to null infinity where the waveform from the binary inspiral and merger can be unambiguously computed. This has now been accomplished by Cauchy-characteristic extraction, where data for the characteristic evolution is supplied by Cauchy data on an extraction worldtube inside the artificial outer boundary. The ultimate application of characteristic evolution is to eliminate the role of this outer boundary by constructing a global solution via Cauchy-characteristic matching. Progress in this direction is discussed. 2012/01/26 - 06:46

A priori, there is nothing very special about shear-free or asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences. Surprisingly, however, they turn out to possess a large number of fascinating geometric properties and to be closely related, in the context of general relativity, to a variety of physically significant effects. It is the purpose of this paper to try to fully develop these issues.

This work starts with a detailed exposition of the theory of shear-free and asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences, i.e., congruences with shear that vanishes at future conformal null infinity. A major portion of the exposition lies in the analysis of the space of regular shear-free and asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences. This analysis leads to the space of complex analytic curves in an auxiliary four-complex dimensional space, H-space. They in turn play a dominant role in the applications.

The applications center around the problem of extracting interior physical properties of an asymptotically-flat spacetime directly from the asymptotic gravitational (and Maxwell) field itself, in analogy with the determination of total charge by an integral over the Maxwell field at infinity or the identification of the interior mass (and its loss) by (Bondi's) integrals of the Weyl tensor, also at infinity.

More specifically, we will see that the asymptotically shear-free congruences lead us to an asymptotic definition of the center-of-mass and its equations of motion. This includes a kinematic meaning, in terms of the center-of-mass motion, for the Bondi three-momentum. In addition, we obtain insights into intrinsic spin and, in general, angular momentum, including an angular-momentum--conservation law with well-defined flux terms. When a Maxwell field is present, the asymptotically shear-free congruences allow us to determine/define at infinity a center-of-charge world line and intrinsic magnetic dipole moment. 2012/01/25 - 07:31

The entanglement entropy is a fundamental quantity, which characterizes the correlations between sub-systems in a larger quantum-mechanical system. For two sub-systems separated by a surface the entanglement entropy is proportional to the area of the surface and depends on the UV cutoff, which regulates the short-distance correlations. The geometrical nature of entanglement-entropy calculation is particularly intriguing when applied to black holes when the entangling surface is the black-hole horizon. I review a variety of aspects of this calculation: the useful mathematical tools such as the geometry of spaces with conical singularities and the heat kernel method, the UV divergences in the entropy and their renormalization, the logarithmic terms in the entanglement entropy in four and six dimensions and their relation to the conformal anomalies. The focus in the review is on the systematic use of the conical singularity method. The relations to other known approaches such as ’t Hooft’s brick-wall model and the Euclidean path integral in the optical metric are discussed in detail. The puzzling behavior of the entanglement entropy due to fields, which non-minimally couple to gravity, is emphasized. The holographic description of the entanglement entropy of the black-hole horizon is illustrated on the two- and four-dimensional examples. Finally, I examine the possibility to interpret the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy entirely as the entanglement entropy. 2011/10/23 - 02:08

This review is concerned with the motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime. In each of the three cases the particle produces a field that behaves as outgoing radiation in the wave zone, and therefore removes energy from the particle. In the near zone the field acts on the particle and gives rise to a self-force that prevents the particle from moving on a geodesic of the background spacetime. The self-force contains both conservative and dissipative terms, and the latter are responsible for the radiation reaction. The work done by the self-force matches the energy radiated away by the particle.

The field's action on the particle is difficult to calculate because of its singular nature: the field diverges at the position of the particle. But it is possible to isolate the field's singular part and show that it exerts no force on the particle -- its only effect is to contribute to the particle's inertia. What remains after subtraction is a regular field that is fully responsible for the self-force. Because this field satisfies a homogeneous wave equation, it can be thought of as a free field that interacts with the particle; it is this interaction that gives rise to the self-force.

The mathematical tools required to derive the equations of motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime are developed here from scratch. The review begins with a discussion of the basic theory of bitensors (Part I). It then applies the theory to the construction of convenient coordinate systems to chart a neighbourhood of the particle's word line (Part II). It continues with a thorough discussion of Green's functions in curved spacetime (Part III). The review presents a detailed derivation of each of the three equations of motion (Part IV). Because the notion of a point mass is problematic in general relativity, the review concludes (Part V) with an alternative derivation of the equations of motion that applies to a small body of arbitrary internal structure. 2011/10/01 - 05:17

We review the current status of general relativistic studies for the coalescence of black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) binaries. First, procedures for a solution of BH-NS binaries in quasi-equilibrium circular orbits and the numerical results, such as quasi-equilibrium sequence and mass-shedding limit, of the high-precision computation, are summarized. Then, the current status of numerical-relativity simulations for the merger of BH-NS binaries is described. We summarize our understanding for the merger and/or tidal disruption processes, the criterion for tidal disruption, the properties of the remnant formed after the tidal disruption, gravitational waveform, and gravitational-wave spectrum. 2011/08/30 - 00:18

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational-wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational-wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free spacecraft. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world - LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) - and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with the significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future "third generation" gravitational-wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed. 2011/07/12 - 19:22

The main purpose of this article is to provide a guide to theorems on global properties of solutions to the Einstein-Vlasov system. This system couples Einstein’s equations to a kinetic matter model. Kinetic theory has been an important field of research during several decades in which the main focus has been on non-relativistic and special relativistic physics, i.e., to model the dynamics of neutral gases, plasmas, and Newtonian self-gravitating systems. In 1990, Rendall and Rein initiated a mathematical study of the Einstein-Vlasov system. Since then many theorems on global properties of solutions to this system have been established. This paper gives introductions to kinetic theory in non-curved spacetimes and then the Einstein–Vlasov system is introduced. We believe that a good understanding of kinetic theory in non-curved spacetimes is fundamental to a good comprehension of kinetic theory in general relativity. 2011/05/28 - 11:50

Analogue gravity is a research programme which investigates analogues of general relativistic gravitational fields within other physical systems, typically but not exclusively condensed matter systems, with the aim of gaining new insights into their corresponding problems. Analogue models of (and for) gravity have a long and distinguished history dating back to the earliest years of general relativity. In this review article we will discuss the history, aims, results, and future prospects for the various analogue models. We start the discussion by presenting a particularly simple example of an analogue model, before exploring the rich history and complex tapestry of models discussed in the literature. The last decade in particular has seen a remarkable and sustained development of analogue gravity ideas, leading to some hundreds of published articles, a workshop, two books, and this review article. Future prospects for the analogue gravity programme also look promising, both on the experimental front (where technology is rapidly advancing) and on the theoretical front (where variants of analogue models can be used as a springboard for radical attacks on the problem of quantum gravity). 2011/05/12 - 02:20

Fundamental constants are a cornerstone of our physical laws. Any constant varying in space and/or time would reflect the existence of an almost massless field that couples to matter. This will induce a violation of the universality of free fall. Thus, it is of utmost importance for our understanding of gravity and of the domain of validity of general relativity to test for their constancy. We detail the relations between the constants, the tests of the local position invariance and of the universality of free fall. We then review the main experimental and observational constraints that have been obtained from atomic clocks, the Oklo phenomenon, solar system observations, meteorite dating, quasar absorption spectra, stellar physics, pulsar timing, the cosmic microwave background and big bang nucleosynthesis. At each step we describe the basics of each system, its dependence with respect to the constants, the known systematic effects and the most recent constraints that have been obtained. We then describe the main theoretical frameworks in which the low-energy constants may actually be varying and we focus on the unification mechanisms and the relations between the variation of different constants. To finish, we discuss the more speculative possibility of understanding their numerical values and the apparent fine-tuning that they confront us with. 2011/03/31 - 02:11

The notion of conformal infinity has a long history within the research in Einstein's theory of gravity. Today, "conformal infinity" is related to almost all other branches of research in general relativity, from quantisation procedures to abstract mathematical issues to numerical applications. This review article attempts to show how this concept gradually and inevitably evolved from physical issues, namely the need to understand gravitational radiation and isolated systems within the theory of gravitation, and how it lends itself very naturally to the solution of radiation problems in numerical relativity. The fundamental concept of null-infinity is introduced. Friedrich's regular conformal field equations are presented and various initial value problems for them are discussed. Finally, it is shown that the conformal field equations provide a very powerful method within numerical relativity to study global problems such as gravitational wave propagation and detection. 2011/01/24 - 14:06

This review is concerned with a discussion of numerical methods for the solution of the equations of special relativistic hydrodynamics (SRHD). Particular emphasis is put on a comprehensive review of the application of high-resolution shock-capturing methods in SRHD. Results of a set of demanding test bench simulations obtained with different numerical SRHD methods are compared. Three applications (astrophysical jets, gamma-ray bursts and heavy ion collisions) of relativistic flows are discussed. An evaluation of various SRHD methods is presented, and future developments in SRHD are analyzed involving extension to general relativistic hydrodynamics and relativistic magneto-hydrodynamics. The review further provides FORTRAN programs to compute the exact solution of a 1D relativistic Riemann problem with zero and nonzero tangential velocities, and to simulate 1D relativistic flows in Cartesian Eulerian coordinates using the exact SRHD Riemann solver and PPM reconstruction. 2011/01/24 - 14:06

We review the analytic methods used to perform the post-Newtonian expansion of gravitational waves induced by a particle orbiting a massive, compact body, based on black hole perturbation theory. There exist two different methods of performing the post-Newtonian expansion. Both are based on the Teukolsky equation. In one method, the Teukolsky equation is transformed into a Regge–Wheeler type equation that reduces to the standard Klein–Gordon equation in the flat-space limit, while in the other method (which was introduced by Mano, Suzuki, and Takasugi relatively recently), the Teukolsky equation is used directly in its original form. The former’s advantage is that it is intuitively easy to understand how various curved space effects come into play. However, it becomes increasingly complicated when one goes to higher and higher post-Newtonian orders. In contrast, the latter’s advantage is that a systematic calculation to higher post-Newtonian orders can be implemented relatively easily, but otherwise, it is so mathematical that it is hard to understand the interplay of higher order terms. In this paper, we review both methods so that their pros and cons may be seen clearly. We also review some results of calculations of gravitational radiation emitted by a particle orbiting a black hole. 2011/01/24 - 14:06

Pulsars of very different types, including isolated objects and binaries (with short- and long-period orbits, and white-dwarf and neutron-star companions) provide the means to test both the predictions of general relativity and the viability of alternate theories of gravity. This article presents an overview of pulsars, then discusses the current status of and future prospects for tests of equivalence-principle violations and strong-field gravitational experiments. 2011/01/24 - 14:06

Rotating relativistic stars have been studied extensively in recent years, both theoretically and observationally, because of the information they might yield about the equation of state of matter at extremely high densities and because they are considered to be promising sources of gravitational waves. The latest theoretical understanding of rotating stars in relativity is reviewed in this updated article. The sections on the equilibrium properties and on the nonaxisymmetric instabilities in f-modes and r-modes have been updated and several new sections have been added on analytic solutions for the exterior spacetime, rotating stars in LMXBs, rotating strange stars, and on rotating stars in numerical relativity. 2011/01/24 - 14:06

The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses accurate, stable atomic clocks in satellites and on the ground to provide world-wide position and time determination. These clocks have gravitational and motional frequency shifts which are so large that, without carefully accounting for numerous relativistic effects, the system would not work. This paper discusses the conceptual basis, founded on special and general relativity, for navigation using GPS. Relativistic principles and effects which must be considered include the constancy of the speed of light, the equivalence principle, the Sagnac effect, time dilation, gravitational frequency shifts, and relativity of synchronization. Experimental tests of relativity obtained with a GPS receiver aboard the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite will be discussed. Recently frequency jumps arising from satellite orbit adjustments have been identified as relativistic effects. These will be explained and some interesting applications of GPS will be discussed. 2011/01/24 - 14:06