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Does Einstein's General Theory of Relativity imply graviton?

  1. Jun 15, 2014 #1
    I was reading Einstein's paper "The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity" and as i understood, he tried to establish that gravitation arises due to different kind of motions of objects. As per his opinion, in infinitesimally small space-time region special theory of relativity is still true. But laws that are true in that region, may not be true in a reference frame composed of moving/rotating objects. And these change of reference frame, along with the limitation of maximum speed of light, is what makes motion of some object appear like an effect of "gravitational force". He then proceeded to find out methods to formulate laws of nature which are true in any reference frame. So, as Einstein did not consider gravitation as a force, i guess he wouldn't have accepted the idea of graviton particle. Is my conclusion correct or did i misread his paper? Moreover, does the concept of graviton conflict with General Theory of Relativity as the way Einstein described?
     
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  3. Jun 15, 2014 #2

    PAllen

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    General relativity does not imply a graviton, and is not consistent with any theory involving gravitons except in the classical limit. The relationship is basically the same as between Maxwell's EM and QED.

    However, the converse is mostly true: given an assumption of a gravition as a spin 2 massless, force carrying, boson, (plus some technical assumptions) it is possible to show that the classical limit must be general relativity (almost uniquely).
     
  4. Jun 15, 2014 #3

    bcrowell

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  5. Jul 24, 2014 #4
    The absolute equivalence of a uniformly accelerating frame in free space to a stationary frame in a gravitational field led to the view that gravitational forces are unique among forces in that they arise in the theory as a result of the spacetime geometry. Einstein predicted that any change in that geometry (due to redistribution of masses for example) would propagate at light speed giving rise to gravitational waves. He would be happy with the notion that any attempt to quantize these gravity waves would lead to wave-particle duality so I suspect that he would accept the idea of something like the graviton. However, the notion of a particle such as the graviton, as the force carrying entity of the gravitational field, is a concept deriving from an analogy to quantum field theory developed in the 1950s onwards, so don't expect any such thing in papers from 1916!

    By the way, we still have no truly consistent quantum field theory of gravity, so you might say that the graviton is still a hypothetical particle which we imagine must exist if such a quantum theory of gravity exists: whether it does or does not, is still controversial!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
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