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Summary of session C1: experimental gravitation


Lämmerzahl,  Claus
Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Lämmerzahl, C. (2008). Summary of session C1: experimental gravitation. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 25(11): 114023.

The fact that gravity is a metric theory follows from the Einstein equivalence principle. This principle consists of (i) the universality of free fall, (ii) the universality of the gravitational redshift and (iii) the local validity of Lorentz invariance. Many experiments searching for deviations from standard general relativity test the various aspects of the Einstein equivalence principle. Here we report on experiments covering the whole Einstein equivalence principle. Until now all experiments have been in agreement with the Einstein equivalence principle. As a consequence, gravity has to be described by a metric theory. Any metric theory of gravity leads to effects such as perihelion shift, deflection of light, gravitational redshift, gravitational time delay, Lense–Thirring effect, Schiff effect, etc. A particular theory of that sort is Einstein's general relativity. For weak gravitational fields which are asymptotically flat any deviation from Einstein's general relativity can be parametrized by a few constants, the PPN parameters. Many astrophysical observations and space experiments are devoted to a better measurement of the effects and, thus, of the PPN parameters. It is clear that gravity is best tested for intermediate ranges, that is, for distances between 1 m and several astronomical units. It is highly interesting to push forward our domain of experience and to strengthen the experimental foundation of gravity also beyond these scales. This point is underlined by the fact that many quantum gravity and unification-inspired theories suggest deviation from the standard laws of gravity at very small or very large scales. In this session summary we briefly outline the status and report on the talks presented in session C1 about experimental gravitation.