Torsion is a popular ingredient in gravity, yet fraught with quantum and classical pathologies. I develop a novel torsion theory, consistent with power-counting and unitarity. The Friedmann equations emerge (with dark energy and radiation), as do pp waves and the Schwarzschild vacuum, all without an Einstein-Hilbert term. I show that cosmology sees torsion as a non-canonical scalar, revealing a rich phenomenology of conformal or waterfall inflatons, and cuscutons. I finally argue that future work will be driven less by toy-models, and more by computer surveys. I advocate Hamiltonian and effective field theory approaches to non-Riemannian geometry in general, relevant to ultraviolet completion and modified gravity alike. Such methods should be oriented towards the ultimate test of gravity: observed cosmological structure.


Talk Number 20120009
Speaker Profile William Barker
Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive
Subject Astrophysics