GRG Editor’s Choice: Higher curvature gravities cannot be bootstrapped

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Deser, S., Higher curvature gravities, unlike GR, cannot be bootstrapped from their (usual) linearizations, Gen Relativ Gravit (2017) 49: 149.

Editor’s Choice (Research Article)
First Online: 07 November 2017

“This paper extends the author’s original contribution from 1970 to a broad class of theories that modify general relativity. The result is a paper that provides a continuation of the 1970 story. The author’s style and commitment to exposing the structural elements of the procedure make for a very nice article that reads well and serves a useful and illuminating purpose in the ‘extensions of GR’ literature.”

We show that higher curvature order gravities, in particular the propagating quadratic curvature models, cannot be derived by self-coupling from their linear, flat space, forms, except through an unphysical version of linearization; only GR can. Separately, we comment on an early version of the self-coupling bootstrap.

GRG Editor’s Choice:
In each volume of GRG, a few papers are marked as “Editor’s Choice”. The primary criteria is original, high quality research that is of wide interest within the community.