Standard pedagogy treats topics in general relativity (GR) in terms of tensor formulations in curved space-time. An alternative approach based on treating the vacuum as a polarizable medium is presented here. The polarizable vacuum (PV) approach to GR, derived from a model by Dicke and related to the “THεμ” formalism used in comparative studies of gravitational theories, provides additional insight into what is meant by a curved metric. While reproducing the results predicted by GR for standard (weak-field) astrophysical conditions, for strong fields a divergence of predictions in the two formalisms (GR vs. PV) provides fertile ground for both laboratory and astrophysical tests to compare the two approaches.
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Puthoff, H.E. Polarizable-Vacuum (PV) Approach to General Relativity. Foundations of Physics 32, 927–943 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016011413407
- general relativity
- velocity of light
- vacuum polarization