# Hiding the Cosmological Constant

## Abstract

Perhaps standard effective field theory arguments are right, and vacuum fluctuations really do generate a huge cosmological constant. I show that if one does not assume homogeneity and an arrow of time at the Planck scale, a very large class of general relativistic initial data exhibit expansions, shears, and curvatures that are enormous at small scales, but quickly average to zero macroscopically. Subsequent evolution is more complex, but I argue that quantum fluctuations may preserve these properties. The resulting picture is a version of Wheeler’s “spacetime foam,” in which the cosmological constant produces high curvature at the Planck scale but is nearly invisible at observable scales.

- Authors:

- Publication Date:

- Research Org.:
- Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States)

- Sponsoring Org.:
- USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP)

- OSTI Identifier:
- 1566933

- Alternate Identifier(s):
- OSTI ID: 1595536

- Grant/Contract Number:
- FG02-91ER40674

- Resource Type:
- Published Article

- Journal Name:
- Physical Review Letters

- Additional Journal Information:
- Journal Name: Physical Review Letters Journal Volume: 123 Journal Issue: 13; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007

- Publisher:
- American Physical Society (APS)

- Country of Publication:
- United States

- Language:
- English

- Subject:
- 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; quantum gravity; cosmological constant; spacetime foam

### Citation Formats

```
Carlip, S. Hiding the Cosmological Constant. United States: N. p., 2019.
Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302.
```

```
Carlip, S. Hiding the Cosmological Constant. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302.
```

```
Carlip, S. Fri .
"Hiding the Cosmological Constant". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302.
```

```
@article{osti_1566933,
```

title = {Hiding the Cosmological Constant},

author = {Carlip, S.},

abstractNote = {Perhaps standard effective field theory arguments are right, and vacuum fluctuations really do generate a huge cosmological constant. I show that if one does not assume homogeneity and an arrow of time at the Planck scale, a very large class of general relativistic initial data exhibit expansions, shears, and curvatures that are enormous at small scales, but quickly average to zero macroscopically. Subsequent evolution is more complex, but I argue that quantum fluctuations may preserve these properties. The resulting picture is a version of Wheeler’s “spacetime foam,” in which the cosmological constant produces high curvature at the Planck scale but is nearly invisible at observable scales.},

doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302},

journal = {Physical Review Letters},

number = 13,

volume = 123,

place = {United States},

year = {2019},

month = {9}

}

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302

*Citation information provided by*

Web of Science

Web of Science

Works referenced in this record:

##
Quantum Theory of Gravity. I. The Canonical Theory

journal, August 1967

- DeWitt, Bryce S.
- Physical Review, Vol. 160, Issue 5

##
Asymptotic behavior of homogeneous cosmological models in the presence of a positive cosmological constant

journal, October 1983

- Wald, Robert M.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 28, Issue 8

##
A cosmic equation of state for the inhomogeneous universe: can a global far-from-equilibrium state explain dark energy?

journal, September 2005

- Buchert, Thomas
- Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol. 22, Issue 19

##
Sequestering the Standard Model Vacuum Energy

journal, March 2014

- Kaloper, Nemanja; Padilla, Antonio
- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 112, Issue 9

##
Renormalization of general relativity on a background of spacetime foam

journal, April 1986

- Crane, Louis; Smolin, Lee
- Nuclear Physics B, Vol. 267, Issue 3-4

##
A small cosmological constant due to non-perturbative quantum effects

journal, May 2014

- Holland, Jan; Hollands, Stefan
- Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol. 31, Issue 12

##
On the nature of quantum geometrodynamics

journal, December 1957

- Wheeler, John A.
- Annals of Physics, Vol. 2, Issue 6

##
Inflationary initial data for generic spatial topology

journal, September 1993

- Morrow-Jones, Jonathan; Witt, Donald M.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 48, Issue 6

##
Does the growth of structure affect our dynamical models of the Universe? The averaging, backreaction, and fitting problems in cosmology

journal, October 2011

- Clarkson, Chris; Ellis, George; Larena, Julien
- Reports on Progress in Physics, Vol. 74, Issue 11

##
Everything you always wanted to know about the cosmological constant problem (but were afraid to ask)

journal, July 2012

- Martin, Jérôme
- Comptes Rendus Physique, Vol. 13, Issue 6-7

##
The Cosmological Constant

journal, February 2001

- Carroll, Sean M.
- Living Reviews in Relativity, Vol. 4, Issue 1

##
The cosmological constant problem

journal, January 1989

- Weinberg, Steven
- Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 61, Issue 1

##
Spacetime foam

journal, December 2002

- Ng, Y. Jack
- International Journal of Modern Physics D, Vol. 11, Issue 10

##
Gluing Initial Data Sets for General Relativity

journal, August 2004

- Chruściel, Piotr T.; Isenberg, James; Pollack, Daniel
- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 93, Issue 8

##
Initial Data Engineering

journal, April 2005

- Chruściel, Piotr T.; Isenberg, James; Pollack, Daniel
- Communications in Mathematical Physics, Vol. 257, Issue 1

##
Causality Versus Gauge Invariance in Quantum Gravity and Supergravity

journal, March 1983

- Teitelboim, Claudio
- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 50, Issue 10

##
Spacetime Foam and the Cosmological Constant

journal, November 1997

- Carlip, S.
- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 79, Issue 21

##
Quantum gravity at a Lifshitz point

journal, April 2009

- Hořava, Petr
- Physical Review D, Vol. 79, Issue 8

##
Relativistic material reference systems

journal, February 1996

- Brown, J. David; Marolf, Donald
- Physical Review D, Vol. 53, Issue 4

##
New framework for analyzing the effects of small scale inhomogeneities in cosmology

journal, April 2011

- Green, Stephen R.; Wald, Robert M.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 83, Issue 8

##
Switching Internal Times and a New Perspective on the ‘Wave Function of the Universe’

journal, May 2019

- Höhn, Philipp A.
- Universe, Vol. 5, Issue 5

##
Vacuum Fluctuations and the Small Scale Structure of Spacetime

journal, July 2011

- Carlip, S.; Mosna, R. A.; Pitelli, J. P. M.
- Physical Review Letters, Vol. 107, Issue 2

##
Dust as a standard of space and time in canonical quantum gravity

journal, May 1995

- Brown, J. David; Kuchař, Karel V.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 51, Issue 10

##
On Average Properties of Inhomogeneous Fluids in General Relativity: Dust Cosmologies

journal, January 2000

- Buchert, Thomas
- General Relativity and Gravitation, Vol. 32, Issue 1

##
A Spacetime foam Approach to the Cosmological Constant and Entropy

journal, April 2002

- Garattini, Remo
- International Journal of Modern Physics D, Vol. 11, Issue 04

##
3-Manifolds for relativists

journal, April 1994

- Giulini, Domenico
- International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 33, Issue 4

##
Quantum Gravity in Everyday Life: General Relativity as an Effective Field Theory

journal, April 2004

- Burgess, Cliff P.
- Living Reviews in Relativity, Vol. 7, Issue 1

##
Time and Interpretations of Quantum Gravity

journal, July 2011

- KuchaŘ, Karel V.
- International Journal of Modern Physics D, Vol. 20, Issue supp01

##
Why there is nothing rather than something: A theory of the cosmological constant

journal, December 1988

- Coleman, Sidney
- Nuclear Physics B, Vol. 310, Issue 3-4

##
How the huge energy of quantum vacuum gravitates to drive the slow accelerating expansion of the Universe

journal, May 2017

- Wang, Qingdi; Zhu, Zhen; Unruh, William G.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 95, Issue 10

##
A Unique Decomposition Theorem for 3-Manifolds

journal, January 1962

- Milnor, J.
- American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 84, Issue 1

##
On the value of the cosmological constant in a gas of virtual wormholes

journal, April 2013

- Kirillov, A. A.; Savelova, E. P.
- Gravitation and Cosmology, Vol. 19, Issue 2

##
Gravitational observables and local symmetries

journal, September 1993

- Torre, C. G.
- Physical Review D, Vol. 48, Issue 6

Works referencing / citing this record:

##
The Cosmological Constant From Planckian Fluctuations and the Averaging Procedure

journal, November 2019

- Viaggiu, S.
- Foundations of Physics, Vol. 49, Issue 11