String theory and gravity

Research paper by T. Damour, A. M. Polyakov

Indexed on: 29 Nov '94Published on: 29 Nov '94Published in: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology


It is pointed out that string-loop effects may generate matter couplings for the dilaton allowing this scalar partner of the tensorial graviton to stay massless while contributing to macroscopic gravity in a way naturally compatible with existing experimental data. Under a certain assumption of universality of the dilaton coupling functions (possibly realized through a discrete symmetry such as S-duality), the cosmological evolution drives the dilaton towards values where it decouples from matter. At the present cosmological epoch, the coupling to matter of the dilaton should be very small, but non zero. This provides a new motivation for improving the experimental tests of Einstein's Equivalence Principle.