Concept

Brans–Dicke theory

Summary
In physics, the Brans–Dicke theory of gravitation (sometimes called the Jordan–Brans–Dicke theory) is a competitor to Einstein's general theory of relativity. It is an example of a scalar–tensor theory, a gravitational theory in which the gravitational interaction is mediated by a scalar field as well as the tensor field of general relativity. The gravitational constant is not presumed to be constant but instead is replaced by a scalar field which can vary from place to place and with time. The theory was developed in 1961 by Robert H. Dicke and Carl H. Brans building upon, among others, the earlier 1959 work of Pascual Jordan. At present, both Brans–Dicke theory and general relativity are generally held to be in agreement with observation. Brans–Dicke theory represents a minority viewpoint in physics. Both Brans–Dicke theory and general relativity are examples of a class of relativistic classical field theories of gravitation, called metric theories. In these theories, spacetime is equipped with a metric tensor, , and the gravitational field is represented (in whole or in part) by the Riemann curvature tensor , which is determined by the metric tensor. All metric theories satisfy the Einstein equivalence principle, which in modern geometric language states that in a very small region (too small to exhibit measurable curvature effects), all the laws of physics known in special relativity are valid in local Lorentz frames. This implies in turn that metric theories all exhibit the gravitational redshift effect. As in general relativity, the source of the gravitational field is considered to be the stress–energy tensor or matter tensor. However, the way in which the immediate presence of mass-energy in some region affects the gravitational field in that region differs from general relativity. So does the way in which spacetime curvature affects the motion of matter. In the Brans–Dicke theory, in addition to the metric, which is a rank two tensor field, there is a scalar field, , which has the physical effect of changing the effective gravitational constant from place to place.