Author (Your Name)

Nolan L. Gagne, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Physics and Astronomy Dept.


Robert T. Bluhm


Recent investigations of various quantum-gravity theories have revealed a variety of possible mechanisms that lead to Lorentz violation. One of the more elegant of these mechanisms is known as Spontaneous Lorentz Symmetry Breaking (SLSB), where a vector or tensor field acquires a nonzero vacuum expectation value. As a consequence of this symmetry breaking, massless Nambu-Goldstone modes appear with properties similar to the photon in Electromagnetism. This thesis considers the most general class of vector field theories that exhibit spontaneous Lorentz violation-known as bumblebee models-and examines their candidacy as potential alternative explanations of E&M, offering the possibility that Einstein-Maxwell theory could emerge as a result of SLSB rather than of local U(1) gauge invariance. With this aim we employ Dirac's Hamiltonian Constraint Analysis procedure to examine the constraint structures and degrees of freedom inherent in three candidate bumblebee models, each with a different potential function, and compare these results to those of Electromagnetism. We find that none of these models share similar constraint structures to that of E&M, and that the number of degrees of freedom for each model exceeds that of Electromagnetism by at least two, pointing to the potential existence of massive modes or propagating ghost modes in the bumblebee theories.


Hamiltonian systems, Lagrangian functions, Standard model (Nuclear physics), Unified field theories

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