Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.


Robert T. Bluhm


We examine Fierz and Pauli's work in 1939 of adding a mass term to the Lagrangian for linearized gravity with the form ?? where h is a small perturbation away from flat spacetime and showing that the only value for ? which gives a ghost-free theory with the correct five degrees of freedom expected for a massive spin- 2 particle such as the graviton is ? [1]. We start by rederiving the Lagrangian formulation for classical electrodynamics and giving examples of a ghost. Then we solve the linearized massless gravity equations to show their two degrees of freedom. We perform a Hamiltonian analysis for massless linearized gravity. Then we add the mass term to the Lagrangian, resolve the equations, find five degrees of freedom, and perform a Hamiltonian analysis for massive gravity. We use the equations of motion and the Hamiltonian to show that a ? value of ? is the only value for ? which gives a physical, ghost-free theory.


massive gravity, general relativity

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