Shaun Wood - Graduate Student
301C Whitmore Laboratory
Beyond General Relativity: Chern-Simmons Gravity and the Constraints
Chern-Simmons gravity is an alternative theory of gravity in which a symmetric, traceless, divergenceless tensor is added to the Einstein tensor in Einstein's equations. This tensor, known as the 4-D Cotton tensor, can be introduced as a 3-D Chern-Simmons topological current embedded in a 4-D spacetime. It's effects on Einstein gravity include breaking parity symmetry and causing gravitational waves with different polarizations to propogate with different amplitudes.
Recently, interest in Chern-Simmons gravity has grown due to its potential to explain anomalies in the low multipole Cosmic Microwave Background. Chern-Simmons gravity has also been studied in the PPN framework and weak-field corrections to GR predictions have been identified. My own interest is in the dynamics of 3+1 decomposed Chern-Simmons gravity. I am looking at how the Hamiltonian and momentum constraints are affected by the Chern-Simmons correction, which solutions to the constraints persist, and how some solutions are modified.