Astrophysical Tests of Conformal Gravity

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The standard model of cosmology invokes Dark Matter (DM) and Dark Energy (DE) to describe a wide variety of astrophysical phenomena. Alternative gravity theories aim to reproduce DM and DE effects by altering Einstein's General Relativity (GR). Conformal Gravity (CG) is attractive because the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces obey local conformal symmetry while GR does not. CG replaces GR's 2nd-order field equations with 4th-order equations determined by requiring a conformally invariant action. The Robertson-Walker metric is a solution, but with a modified Friedman equation dominated by a dynamical scalar field that emulates DE with density parameter evolving from 0 to 1. The Schwarzschild metric is a vacuum solution outside a compact source, augmented with linear and quadratic potentials that can be tuned to fit galaxy rotation curves. The research project's initial goals are to investigate observable consequences of the scalar field's radial profile for galaxy rotation curves, for galaxy cluster potentials, and for gravitational lensing effects, testing the predictions against extant observations.

Related training information:
- Attendance at the School Colloquia each week
- Minimum of 10 days each year focusing on generic and research skills development
- Minimum of 40 hours of SUPA Technical Courses
- Minimum of 20 hours of SUPA Core Skills Courses


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504427/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1642751 Studentship ST/N504427/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2019 Carl Roberts