Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.


Robert T. Bluhm


General Relativity, or GR, is a theory which describes gravity as a manifestation of the curvature of space and time. While the other three fundamental forces in nature are represented as field theories, GR is a geometric theory. In the search for a way to reconcile the field theories for the electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces with the gravitational force, a logical place to start is by re-expressing GR as a field theory. In doing so, we find that the theory contains a number of symmetries. When we solve the equations in GR, we find that by choosing certain solutions we break some of the symmetries of the system (through a mechanism known as spontaneous symmetry breaking.) We seek to find out how the total number of symmetries, which are represented mathematically as isometries, change for different solutions when we add a vector potential field which spontaneously breaks (Lorentz) symmetry. Such a mechanism is thought to occur in higher dimensional theories such as String Theory, and so a better understanding of the mechanism in GR could be useful in later work. We will find that the number of symmetries is reduced from 10 to 6 with a time-dependent vacuum solution, which is the same number of symmetries that our actual universe is thought to possess.


general relativity, isometries, Lorentz violation

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