It goes without saying that finding answers to questions raised by the Standard Model and General Relativity remains a huge part of theoretical physics. Recent developments in bimetric theory, a topical review published in Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical is the second most most highly cited article in the journal from 2016. Here we talk to one of the authors of the review, Angnis Schmidt-May, from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, to discover why this field is so active and what discoveries she’d like to see.
What is your review about?
The review is about massive spin-2 fields and their interactions with gravity. These interactions extend general relativity and are described by a bimetric theory, i.e. a field theory involving two symmetric tensor fields.
What attracted you to this field?
It deals with very fundamental physics and aims to answer basic questions about field theory. At the same time, we might actually be able to observe massive spin-2 particles in nature and the theory could be testable. I am fascinated by the possibility of predicting a new particle by working on fundamental theory.
Why is this area so active at the moment?
For a long time it was believed that no consistent description of massive spin-2 fields exists and only a few years ago the opposite was shown. We transitioned from a no-go theorem to a well-defined theory that can make predictions for gravitational physics and cosmology. The field is thus relatively new and there are still many areas to explore.
Where do you see the field going?
I hope that the field will continue to grow and attract more young researchers. Hopefully, we will be able to understand the theory for massive spin-2 fields in a larger context, such as string theory or supergravity.
What discoveries would you most like to see?
In the best case, the effects of a massive spin-2 field will be observed in cosmological or astrophysical phenomena, gravitational wave experiments or through local tests of gravity. Any signal would be a real breakthrough.
What are you working on now?
Recently, I have been mostly interested in massive spin-2 particles as dark matter candidates. But I also continue to work on developing a better understanding of the fundamental structure of bimetric theory.
We thank Angnis for publishing in the journal and taking the time to answer our questions.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Picture of Angnis Schmidt-May owned by Timur Delahaye, used with permission. Coupling image from Angnis Schmidt-May and Mikael von Strauss 2016 J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 49 183001 © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.