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org/lrr-2011-2

LIVING

RE VIE WS

in relativity

**Varying Constants, Gravitation and Cosmology
**

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, UMR-7095 du CNRS, Universit´ e Pierre et Marie Curie, 98 bis bd Arago, 75014 Paris (France) and Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Cape Town University, Rondebosch 7701 (South Africa) and National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP), Stellenbosch 7600 (South Africa) email: uzan@iap.fr http://www2.iap.fr/users/uzan/

Accepted on 23 March 2011 Published on 29 March 2011

Abstract Fundamental constants are a cornerstone of our physical laws. Any constant varying in space and/or time would reﬂect the existence of an almost massless ﬁeld that couples to matter. This will induce a violation of the universality of free fall. Thus, it is of utmost importance for our understanding of gravity and of the domain of validity of general relativity to test for their constancy. We detail the relations between the constants, the tests of the local position invariance and of the universality of free fall. We then review the main experimental and observational constraints that have been obtained from atomic clocks, the Oklo phenomenon, solar system observations, meteorite dating, quasar absorption spectra, stellar physics, pulsar timing, the cosmic microwave background and big bang nucleosynthesis. At each step we describe the basics of each system, its dependence with respect to the constants, the known systematic eﬀects and the most recent constraints that have been obtained. We then describe the main theoretical frameworks in which the low-energy constants may actually be varying and we focus on the uniﬁcation mechanisms and the relations between the variation of diﬀerent constants. To ﬁnish, we discuss the more speculative possibility of understanding their numerical values and the apparent ﬁne-tuning that they confront us with.

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Contents

1 Introduction 2 Constants and Fundamental Physics 2.1 About constants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1 Characterizing the fundamental constants . . . . 2.1.2 Constants and metrology . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2 The constancy of constants as a test of general relativity 2.2.1 General relativity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 Varying constants and the universality of free fall 2.2.3 Relations with cosmology . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 9 9 9 13 17 17 21 22 26 26 26 29 32 33 34 34 36 38 40 41 42 44 44 44 46 47 51 52 52 53 54 54 55 58 58 61 63 66 68 68 70 73 75

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3 Experimental and Observational Constraints 3.1 Atomic clocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.1 Atomic spectra and constants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.2 Experimental constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.3 Physical interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1.4 Future evolutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 The Oklo phenomenon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.1 A natural nuclear reactor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.2 Constraining the shift of the resonance energy . . . . . . 3.2.3 From the resonance energy to fundamental constants . . 3.3 Meteorite dating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.1 Long lived α-decays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.2 Long lived β -decays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.3 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4 Quasar absorption spectra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.1 Generalities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.2 Alkali doublet method (AD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.3 Many multiplet method (MM) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.4 Single ion diﬀerential measurement (SIDAM) . . . . . . 2 3.4.5 H i-21 cm vs. UV: x = αEM gp /µ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 . . . . . . . . . 3.4.6 H i vs. molecular transitions: y ≡ gp αEM 2 1.57 3.4.7 OH - 18 cm: F = gp (αEM µ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 µ. . . . . . . 3.4.8 Far infrared ﬁne-structure lines: F ′ = αEM 3.4.9 “Conjugate” satellite OH lines: G = gp (αEM µ)1.85 . . . 3.4.10 Molecular spectra and the electron-to-proton mass ratio 3.4.11 Emission spectra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.12 Conclusion and prospects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5 Stellar constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6 Cosmic Microwave Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.7 21 cm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.8 Big bang nucleosynthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.8.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.8.2 Constants everywhere. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.8.3 From BBN parameters to fundamental constants . . . . 3.8.4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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. . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 A. . . . . . . . . . . 5. .1 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. .4. . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Cosmic microwave background . . . . . . . . . .2 BBN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . 111 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Relations between constants . . . . . . . .3 Milky Way . . . . . . . . . . . 88 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Introducing new ﬁelds: generalities . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stellar constraints . . . . . . . . . .1. . . . . 6. . . . . . . . .3. . . .4 The 4. .1. . . . . . .3 Bekenstein and related models . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . .4 New developments . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . .1 Local scales . . . . . . 116 A. . . . . . . . .3 Gyromagnetic factors . . . . . .3 Late stages of stellar evolution and 4. . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Making other constants dynamical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Sensitivity coeﬃcients . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 The example of scalar-tensor theories .4. . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Implication of gauge coupling uniﬁcation . . . . .2 High-energy theories and varying constants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 The Chameleon mechanism . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. 5. . . . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 . . . . . . . 117 . . 5. . . . . . . . . . 112 8 Conclusions 9 Acknowledgments 114 115 A Notations 116 A. . . . . .1 Kaluza–Klein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 String dilaton and Runaway dilaton models 5. . 94 . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 4. . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . .4 Models with varying constants . . . .4 Other ideas . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Ages of globular clusters . . 7 Why Are The Constants Just So? 110 7. . . 4. . . . . Pulsar timing . 96 . . . .3 Implication for the universality of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. .2. . . .2 Solar and stellar seismology . . . . . . . . .1. . . . . .1 Universe and multiverse approaches . . . 85 . . . . . . .2 String theory . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 76 77 79 79 80 81 82 82 82 83 5 Theories With Varying Constants 5. . . . . . . . .1. . . . . . . .3 4. . . . . . . . . . . . 91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4. . . . 101 103 103 103 104 105 106 107 . . . . . . . . . 85 . . . . . . . . . 97 . 96 . . . free fall . . . .2 Cosmological scales . . . . . 87 .2 Masses and binding energies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . . Cosmological constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . 89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 . . . . .3 Background cosmological spacetime . . . . . . .1 Constants . .2 Solar system scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Gravitational Constant Solar systems constraints . . . 88 . . . . . . . . . . .4. . . . . . . . .4. 110 7. . 6. 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4. .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 . . . .3 Anthropic predictions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. 100 . . . . . . . . . 6 Spatial Variations 6.2 Fine-tunings and determination of the anthropic range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . supernovae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3.1 Generalities . . .1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . Summary of the latest constraints on the variation of fundamental constants obtained from the analysis of cosmological data and more particularly of CMB data. 10 12 19 24 26 29 29 37 42 59 67 . . . . . . . . . . Main cosmological parameters in the standard Λ-CDM model. . . . . . . . Summary of the systems considered to set constraints on the variation of the fundamental constants. . . . . . . . List of some related constants that appear in our discussions. . . . . . . Summary of the latest constraints on the variation of fundamental constants obtained from the analysis of quasar absorption spectra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary of the constraints on the violation of the universality of free fall. . . . . . Summary of the main nuclei and their physical properties that have been used in α-decay studies. . [379]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .References 118 List of Tables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 List of the fundamental constants of our standard model. . . . . . . . . See Ref. . . . . Summary of the analysis of the Oklo data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary of the constraints obtained from the comparisons of atomic clocks. . . . . . . . . Sensitivity of various transitions on a variation of the ﬁne-structure constant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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They seem to contain some truth about the properties of the physical world while their real nature seem to evade us. both on questioning whether they are actually constant and on trying to understand the numerical values we measure. stars. showed that the numerological coincidences found by Dirac can be derived from physical models of stars and the competition between the weakness of gravity with respect to nuclear fusion. δ varies as the inverse of the cosmic time while 𝜖 varies also with time if the universe is not described by an Einstein–de Sitter solution (i. . . Dirac then noticed that αG /µαEM . The other constants are deﬁned 0 0 in Tables 1 and 2 and the deﬁnitions of the cosmological quantities are summarized in Appendix A. ρ the mean matter energy density today. curvature or radiation are included in the cosmological model). This kind of theory was further generalized to obtain various functional dependencies for G in the formalization of scalar-tensor theories of gravitation (see. that cannot be themselves explained by the theory in which they appear. what is meant by observer is the existence of (highly?) organized systems and this principle can be seen as a rephrasing of the question “why is the universe the way it is?” (see [252]). in his “Large Numbers hypothesis”. was a mere coincidence or whether it can reveal the existence of some new physical laws. Usually. who realized that the constants have to become dynamical ﬁelds and proposed a theory where both the gravitational and ﬁne-structure constants can vary ([497] provides a summary of some earlier attempts to quantify the cosmological implications of Dirac’s argument). Dirac formed ﬁve dimensionless ratios among which1 δ ≡ H0 /mp c2 ∼ 2h × 10−42 2 and 𝜖 ≡ Gρ0 /H0 ∼ 5h−2 × 10−4 and asked the question of which of these ratios is constant as the universe evolves.g. on the basis of this numerological principle. 83]. Second. which were further explored by Brans and Dicke [67]. First. Gravitation and Cosmology 7 1 Introduction Fundamental constants appear everywhere in the mathematical laws we use to describe the phenomena of Nature. Dicke [151] pointed out that in fact the density of the universe is determined by its age. the opinion that very large (or small) dimensionless universal constants cannot be pure mathematical numbers and must not occur in the basic laws of physics. To summarize.livingreviews.3. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Restricting to the sub-case in which only G can vary led to deﬁnition of the class of scalar-tensor theories..Varying Constants. that these large numbers should rather be considered as variable parameters characterizing the state of the universe. This argument by Dirac is indeed not a physical theory but it opened many doors in the investigation on physical constants. He suggested. was of the same order as H0 e2 /me c2 = δαEM µ representing the age of the universe in atomic units so that his ﬁve numbers can be “harmonized” if one assumes that αG and δ vary with time and scale as the inverse of the cosmic time.e. 156] who expressed. atomic spectra will be spacetime-dependent so that these theories can be observationally tested. heavy nuclei. Fierz [195] then realized that in such a case. Carr and Rees [80] then showed how one can scale up from atomic to cosmological scales only by using combinations of αEM . Dirac’s insight was to question whether some numerical coincidences between very large numbers. this age being related to the time needed to form galaxies. Carter [82. In fact.org/lrr-2011-2 . 1 H is the Hubble constant today. The question of the constancy of the constants of physics was probably ﬁrst addressed by Dirac [155. the implementation of Dirac’s phenomenological idea into a ﬁeld-theory framework was proposed by Jordan [268]. e. . when a cosmological constant. αG and me /mp . who actually coined the term “anthropic principle” for it.. This gives three main roads of investigation how do we construct theories in which what were thought to be constants are in fact dynamical ﬁelds. representing the relative magnitude of electrostatic and gravitational forces between a proton and an electron. [124]). This led him to formulate that the presence of an observer in the universe places constraints on the physical laws that can be observed.

as well as with metrology. This often requires a spacetime dynamics and thus to specify a model as well as a cosmology. mainly for the ﬁne structure constant and for the gravitational constant in Sections 3 and 4. to be an oxymoron. that is new physics. 505] and we refer to [356] for the numerical values of the constants adopted in this review. We will refer to the review [500] as FVC and we mention the following later reviews [31. We shall ﬁnish by a discussion on their spatial variations in Section 6 and by discussing the possibility to understand their numerical values in Section 7. 395. Various reviews have been written on this topic. the main frameworks used in the literature and the various ways proposed to explain why they have the values we observe today.8 Jean-Philippe Uzan how can we constrain. experimentally or observationally. In Section 2 we will recall this relation and in particular the link with the universality of free fall. it is necessary to understand and to model the physical systems used to set the constraints. The tests on the constancy of the fundamental constants are indeed very important tests of fundamental physics and of the laws of Nature we are currently using.org/lrr-2011-2 . threefold: 1. 2. 3. and their coupling to the known ﬁelds of our theory”. respectively. Detecting any such variation will indicate the need for new physical degrees of freedom in our theories. From a theoretical point of view. at ﬁrst glance. it has to be considered merely as jargon to be understood as “revealing new degrees of freedom. The necessity of theoretical physics on deriving bounds on their variation is. the constancy of the fundamental constants is deeply linked with the equivalence principle and general relativity.livingreviews. 281. 72. 226. the spacetime dependencies of the constants that appear in our physical laws how can we explain the values of the fundamental constants and the ﬁne-tuning that seems to exist between their numerical values. 501. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. In particular one needs to relate the eﬀective parameters that can be observationally constrained to a set of fundamental constants. 278. 47. We will then summarize the various constraints that exist on such variations. We will then turn to the theoretical implications in Section 5 in describing some of the arguments backing up the fact that constants are expected to vary. While “varying constants” may seem. we shall start in Section 2 by recalling the link between the constants of physics and the theories in which they appear. Therefore. at least. 119. it is necessary to relate and compare diﬀerent constraints that are obtained at diﬀerent spacetime positions. it is necessary to relate the variations of diﬀerent fundamental constants. 503.

org/lrr-2011-2 . i. 521. when introducing new. Therefore. 2. These structures are postulated in order to construct a mathematically-consistent description of the known physical phenomena in the most uniﬁed and simple way. We deﬁne the fundamental constants of a physical theory as any parameter that cannot be explained by this theory. and that an equation for the evolution of this new ﬁeld has to be obtained. Let us sketch brieﬂy some of their properties. in particular. This also explains the deﬁnition chosen by Weinberg [526] who stated that they cannot be calculated in terms of other constants “.1 Constants and Fundamental Physics About constants Our physical theories introduce various structures to describe the phenomena of Nature. on time.e. From a theoretical point of view we would like to extract the minimal set of fundamental constants. This means that testing for the constancy of these parameters is a test of the theories in which they appear and allow to extend our knowledge of their domain of validity. The existence of these two sets of constants is important and arises from two diﬀerent considerations. our ignorance. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. First. they determined the magnitudes of the physical processes. We refer to the books [29. 538] for various discussions of this issue that we cannot develop at length here.1 Characterizing the fundamental constants Physical constants seem to play a central role in our physical theories since. which can reveal that what was thought to be a fundamental constant is actually a ﬁeld whose dynamics cannot be neglected. as required by the necessity of the reproducibility of experimental results. Indeed. This has a series of implications. From a more practical point of view. it also implies that some of these fundamental constants can become dynamical quantities in a more general theoretical framework so that the tests of the constancy of the fundamental constants are tests of fundamental physics. the list of fundamental constants to consider depends on our theories of physics and. these parameters have indeed been checked to be constant. Second. in an adiabatic limit. or combinations of constants. more uniﬁed or more fundamental. 216. If such fundamental constants are actually dynamical ﬁelds it also means that the equations we are using are only approximations of other and more fundamental equations. . symmetries and constants.Varying Constants. thus. these fundamental constants are contingent quantities that can only be measured.. we need to measure constants. not just because the calculation is too complicated (as for the viscosity of water) but because we do not know of anything more fundamental”. 393. 509] as well as [59. 510.1. it does not have any equation of evolution for them since otherwise it would be considered as a dynamical ﬁeld. at the precisions of these experiments. Indeed. The reﬂections on the nature of the constants and their role in physics are numerous.livingreviews. 165. 526. Gravitation and Cosmology 9 2 2. 215. theories the number of constants may change so that this list reﬂects both our knowledge of physics and. from an experimental point of view: these parameters can only be measured. but often these constants are not measurable. Such parameters have to be assumed constant in this theoretical framework for two reasons: from a theoretical point of view: the considered framework does not provide any way to compute these parameters. This paragraph summarizes some of the properties of the fundamental constants that have attracted some attention. which allow us to reach the highest accuracy. it means that. we are often dealing with other constants that in principle can be expressed in terms of these fundamental constants. more important. They involve various ﬁelds. If the theories in which they appear have been validated experimentally. .

000607 0. the Boltzmann constant kB . the velocity of light in vacuum c.000007 0. Today we have many hints that the standard model of particle physics has to be extended. See Table 1 for a summary and their numerical values. to which one must add the speed of light c and the Planck constant h. It follows that one has to consider 22 unknown constants (i. hb ) and 3 for the leptons (he . hd .003 0. Constant Speed of light Planck constant (reduced) Newton constant Weak coupling constant (at mZ ) Strong coupling constant (at mZ ) Weinberg angle Electron Yukawa coupling Muon Yukawa coupling Tauon Yukawa coupling Up Yukawa coupling Down Yukawa coupling Charm Yukawa coupling Strange Yukawa coupling Top Yukawa coupling Bottom Yukawa coupling Quark CKM matrix angle Symbol c G g2 (mZ ) g3 (mZ ) sin2 θW (91. as deﬁned earlier as the free parameters of the theoretical framework at hand. hµ . this list of fundamental constants relies on what we accept as a fundamental theory.00015 2. the Newton constant G.24 Quark CKM matrix phase Higgs potential quadratic coeﬃcient Higgs potential quartic coeﬃcient QCD vacuum phase ? ? < 10–9 How many fundamental constants should be considered? The set of constants. the electron mass me . the Avogadro constant NA . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. The latter has a ﬁxed value in the SI system of unit (µ0 = 4π × 10−7 H m−1 ).org/lrr-2011-2 . it is clear that this cannot correspond to the list of the fundamental constants.00003 ± 0. g2 . 4 parameters for the Cabibbo–Kobayashi–Maskawa matrix (3 angles θij and a phase δCKM ).6520 ± 0. See Ref.. 19 unknown dimensionless parameters): the Newton constant G.10 Jean-Philippe Uzan Table 1: List of the fundamental constants of our standard model.002 ± 0. hs . g3 or equivalently g2 . which is implicit in the deﬁnition of the Ampere. the permeability and permittivity of space.221 ± 0.2 GeV)MS he hµ hτ hu hd hc hs ht hb sin θ12 sin θ23 sin θ13 δCKM µ ˆ2 λ θQCD Value 299 792 458 m s–1 1.0413 ± 0. 2 parameters of the Higgs ﬁeld potential (ˆ µ.0072 ± 0.0037 ± 0. g3 and the Weinberg angle θW ).23120 ± 0. ε0 and µ0 . which are conventionally considered as fundamental [213] consists of the electron charge e. Again.05 ± 0.000016 ± 0.2243 ± 0.livingreviews.0002 1.0006 ± 0. in particular to include the existence of massive neutrinos. 3 coupling constants for the gauge groups SU (3)c × SU (2)L × U (1)Y (g1 . and the three other interactions and the matter ﬁelds are described by the standard model of particle physics. To deﬁne such a list we must specify this framework. the reduced Planck constant . Such an extension will introduce at least seven new constants (3 Yukawa couplings and 4 Maki–Nakagawa–Sakata (MNS) parameters. 6 Yukawa couplings for the quarks (hu .0001 1.0016 0. However. Today.0015 0. hτ ). gravitation is described by general relativity.00002 0.029 0.674 28(67) Ö 10–11 m2 kg–1 s–2 0. ht .054 571 628(53) Ö 10–34 J s 6. the proton mass mp .0006 0.0005 1.026 ± 0. hc . and a phase for the QCD vacuum (θQCD ). ε0 is then ﬁxed by the relation ε0 µ0 = c−2 . [379] for further details on the measurements. λ).e.94 Ö 10–6 0.0102156 0.022 0.

The electromagnetic coupling constant is not g1 since SU (2)L × U (1)Y is broken to U (1)elec so that it is given by gEM (mZ ) = e = g2 (mZ ) sin θW . it implies that αEM ∼ α(mZ ) + 2 9π m20 Are some constants more fundamental? As pointed-out by L´ evy-Leblond [328]. the (usual) zero energy electromagnetic Deﬁning the ﬁne-structure constant as αEM = gEM ﬁne structure constant is αEM = 1/137. The values of the gauge couplings depend on energy via the renormalization group so that they are given at a chosen energy scale.2). as we shall discuss in more detail below (see Section 5. the velocity of light was initially a class A constant (describing a property of light). This has to be contrasted with the proposition of Ref. as the energy at which the 3 3 3 b me mµ mτ u c strong coupling constant diverges. the number of constants can decrease if some uniﬁcations between various interaction exist (see Section 5. Note that it implies that ΛQCD also depends on the Higgs and fermion masses through threshold eﬀects. For instance. class A being the class of the constants characteristic of a particular system. more diﬃcult to relate to the fundamental parameters because they depend not only on the masses of the quarks but also on the electromagnetic and strong binding energies. Relation to other usual constants. Note that this would also imply that the variations.Varying Constants. We deﬁne the QCD energy scale. [510] for a more detailed discussion). Following [328]. L´ evy-Leblond [328] proposed to rank the constants in terms of their universality and he proposed that only three constants be considered to be of class C.3. Gravitation and Cosmology 11 similar to the CKM parameters). such as the masses of the proton and the neutron are. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. These parameters of the standard model are related to various constants that will appear in this review (see Table 2). which depend on the explicit model of uniﬁcation. Indeed.03599911(46) is related to αEM (mZ ) = 1/(127. More familiar constants. g1 and g2 are related by the Weinberg angle as g1 = g2 tan θW . to ﬁnish. and some have a much deeper role than others. class B being the class of constants characteristic of a class of physical phenomena. (1) Z ln m4 m4 md ms m . mZ . + 2π E where the bi are numbers. The latter is related to the Fermi constant GF = (v 2) . here the mass of the Z -boson. it ended as a type C constant (it enters special relativity and is related to the notion of causality. First. which then became a class B constant when it was realized that it was related to electromagnetic phenomena and. the quartic and √︀ quadratic −µ ˆ2 /2 and coeﬃcients of the Higgs ﬁeld potential are related to the Higgs mass and vev. [538] to distinguish the standard model free parameters as the gauge and gravitational couplings (which are associated to internal and spacetime curvatures) and the other parameters entering the accommodation of inertia in the Higgs sector.7 ± 0. the status of a constant can change with time. and class C being the class of universal constants.3. In particular.018) (︁ by the renormalization )︁ group equations. ΛQCD . if any. of various constants shall be correlated.2) GeV while the Higgs mass is badly constrained.1 for more details) since the various coupling constants may be related to a unique coupling constant αU and an energy scale of uniﬁcation MU through MU bi −1 −1 αi (E ) = αU ln . which imposes that v = (246. whatever the physical phenomena). all constants of physics do not play the same role.org/lrr-2011-2 .918 ± 0. On the other hand. It has even become a much more fundamental constant since it now enters in the deﬁnition of the meter [413] (see Ref. m = H √︀ √ −1 2 v = −µ ˆ2 /λ.livingreviews. The masses √ of the quarks and leptons are related to their Yukawa coupling and the Higgs vev by m = hv/ 2. Relation with physical laws. we can deﬁne three classes of fundamental constants. 2 / c.

Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.000023 MeV 1.025 GeV 91. On the other hand.15 1/1836.2933321 ± 0.826 10 973 731.5 – 5. since if the action of a system greatly exceeds the value of that constant. it follows that these constants are related to the domains of validity of these theories.905 Ö 10–39 510. While the place of c (related to the notion of causality) and (related to the quantum) in this list are well argued. as soon as velocity approaches c. Constant Electromagnetic coupling constant Higgs mass Higgs vev Fermi constant Mass of the W ± Mass of the Z Fine structure constant Fine structure constant at mZ Weak structure constant at mZ Strong structure constant at mZ Gravitational structure constant Electron mass Mu mass Tau mass Up quark mass Down quark mass Strange quark mass Charm quark mass Bottom quark mass Top quark mass QCD energy scale Mass of the proton Mass of the neutron proton-neutron mass diﬀerence proton-to-electron mass ratio electron-to-proton mass ratio d − u quark mean mass d − u quark mass diﬀerence proton gyromagnetic factor neutron gyromagnetic factor Rydberg constant Symbol gEM = e = g2 sin θW mH v √ GF = 1/ 2v 2 mW mZ αEM αEM (mZ ) αW (mZ ) αS (mZ ) αG = Gm2 / c p√ me = he v/ √ 2 mµ = hµ v/√ 2 mτ = hτ v/√2 mu = hu v/√2 md = hd v/ √2 ms = hs v/ √2 mc = hc v/ √2 mb = hb v/ √2 mt = ht v/ 2 ΛQCD mp mn Qnp µ = mp /me µ ¯ = me /mp mq = (mu + md )/2 δmq = md − mu gp gn R∞ Value 0. Planck constant also acts as a referent. He pointed out two important roles of these constants in the laws of physics.17 MeV (1.166 37(1) Ö 10–5 GeV–2 80.17 4.03383 ± 0.27+0 −0.568 527(73) m–1 namely G.1876 ± 0.11 GeV +0.5 – 3. For instance. For example c underpins the synthesis of space and time while the Planck constant allowed to related the concept of energy and frequency and the gravitational constant creates a link between matter and spacetime.0) MeV (0. See Ref.000023 MeV 939. [379].998910 ± 0.0007 ∼ 5.07 1. Galilean kinematics is suﬃcient.272013 ± 0.org/lrr-2011-2 .07 GeV 171.1184 ± 0. for speed much below c. they act as concept synthesizer during the process of our understanding of the laws of nature: contradictions between existing theories have often been resolved by introducing new concepts that are more general or more synthetic than older ones.000022 > 100 GeV (246.000013 keV 105.658367 ± 0. First.5 – 6.livingreviews. Second.5) MeV 5.3) MeV (3. and c.15 (2.918 ± 0. the place of G remains debated since it is thought that it will have to be replaced by some mass scale.12 Jean-Philippe Uzan Table 2: List of some related constants that appear in our discussions.0000004 MeV 1836. relativistic eﬀects cannot be negligible.2 – 4.20−0.0021 GeV 1/137.2) GeV 1.586 –3.000004 MeV 1776. relativistic eﬀects become important.3 ± 2.0) MeV 105+25 −35 MeV . Constants build bridges between quantities that were thought to be incommensurable and thus allow new concepts to emerge.7 ± 0.3 GeV (190 – 240) MeV 938.035 999 679(94) 1/(127.00001 0. classical mechanics will be appropriate to describe this system.018) 0.313429 ± 0.84 ± 0.398 ± 0.565346 ± 0.

For instance. of their composition (equivalence principle) and on the position (local position invariance).. The introduction of constants in physical laws is also closely related to the existence of systems of units. This dependence will also diﬀer from one clock to another so that metrology becomes both device and spacetime dependent.. Indeed a measurement is always a comparison between two physical systems of the same dimensions. To transform the proportionality to an equality one requires the use of a quantity with dimension of m3 kg–1 s–2 independent of the separation between the two bodies. Nowadays the calorie has fallen in disuse. There are many ways the list of constants can change with our understanding of physics. the evolution of the number. In order to reduce the number of comparisons (and in particular to avoid creating every time a chain of comparisons). Gravitation and Cosmology 13 Evolution. one needs to perform a number of comparisons. any question on the variation of constants is linked to the deﬁnition of the system of units and to the theory of measurement. This is thus a relative measurement. With an other system of units the numerical value of this constant could have simply been anything. The behavior of atomic matter is determined by the value of many constants.g. Indeed. times.2 Constants and metrology Since we cannot compute them in the theoretical framework in which they appear. In conclusion. which then became class B when it was understood that it characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. The relation between constants and metrology is a huge subject to which we just draw the attention on some selected aspects. status of the constants can teach us a lot about the evolution of the ideas and theories in physics since it reﬂects the birth of new concepts. if. An example is that of the electric charge. for instance. . see [56. frequencies. This trivial statement is oversimplifying since in order to compare two similar quantities measured separately. 280. of their mass. Measuring constants. A constant can also disappear from the list.livingreviews. (see [414] for a treatise on the measurement of constants and [213] for a recent review).. Newton’s law states that the gravitational force between two masses is proportional to each mass and inversely proportional to the square of their separation. the ﬁne-structure constant is spacetime dependent.Varying Constants. new constants may appear when new systems or new physical laws are discovered. this is. the comparison between several devices such as clocks and rulers will also be spacetime dependent. Each units can then be seen as an abstract physical sys- Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the case of the charge of the electron or more recently the gauge couplings of the nuclear interactions. . the understanding by Joule that heat and work were two forms of energy led to the fact that the Joule constant. First.g. the numerical value of any constant crucially depends on the deﬁnition of the system of units. initially of class A (characteristic of the electron). e. The determination of the laboratory value of constants relies mainly on the measurements of lengths. a certain set of them has been included in the deﬁnitions of units. Indeed demonstrating that a constant is varying will have direct implications on our list of constants.1. expressing the proportionality between work and heat. As a consequence. 2. For more discussions. lost any physical meaning and became a simple conversion factor between units used in the measurement of heat (calories) and work (Joule)). A constant can also move from one class to a more universal class. . their evolution and uniﬁcation with other ones. a property that will actually be used to construct tests of the constancy of the constants. 278]. Hence. because it is either replaced by more fundamental constants (e. it is a crucial property of the fundamental constants (but in fact of all the constants) that their value can be measured. which will give as result a pure number.org/lrr-2011-2 . the Earth acceleration due to gravity and the proportionality constant entering Kepler law both disappeared because they were “explained” in terms of the Newton constant and the mass of the Earth or the Sun) or because it can happen that a better understanding of physics teaches us that two hitherto distinct quantities have to be considered as a single phenomenon (e.g.

the triplet 1s − 2s transition in hydrogen. e. since for instance in atomic units. the values of the constants are not determined by a direct measurement but by a chain involving both theoretical and experimental steps.g. This could be solved by deﬁning R∞ as 4νH (1s − 2s)/3c but then the relation with more fundamental constants would be more complicated and actually not exactly known. A measurement in terms of these units is usually called an absolute measurement.g. region has its own system (for instance in France there was more than 800 diﬀerent units in use in 1789). this system had a few disadvantages since each country. stating that a quarter of the terrestrial meridian would be the basis of the deﬁnition of the meter (from the Greek metron. from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little ﬁnger!). e. and to which another physical system is compared.livingreviews. System of units. the frequency of which is related to the Rydberg constant and other constants by assuming QED so that the accuracy of R∞ is much lower than that of the measurement of the transition. complex and interesting history that was driven by simplicity and universality but also by increasing stability and accuracy [29. Originally.. Most fundamental constants are related to microscopic physics and their numerical values can be obtained either from a pure microscopic comparison (as is. let us recall that (i) in general.g. . 509]. The need to deﬁne a system of units based on natural standard led to several propositions to deﬁne a standard of length (e. in March 1791 a decree (these texts are reprinted in [510]) was voted. which dimensional constant is varying [183]... The real change happened during the French Revolution during which the idea of a universal and non anthropocentric system of units arose. the foot and the thumb gave feet and inches) and some of these units can seem surprising to us nowadays (e. This illustrates the relation between a practical and a fundamental approach and the limitation arising from the fact that we often cannot both exactly calculate and directly measure some quantity. As a conclusion. Needless to say. the span was the measure of hand with ﬁngers fully splayed. the ounce. It can be measured from. the Assembl´ ee adopted the principle of a uniform system of weights and measures on 8 May 1790 and.org/lrr-2011-2 . the sizes of the human body were mostly used to measure the length of objects (e. In particular. . This shows that the choice of the units has an impact on the accuracy of the measurement since the pure microscopic comparisons are in general more accurate than those involving macroscopic physics. the dram. This implies that only the variation of dimensionless constants can be measured and in case such a variation is detected. which has to be realized eﬀectively in the laboratory. the case for me /mp ) or from a comparison between microscopic and macroscopic values (for instance to deduce the value of the mass of the electron in kilogram).. This has a long. Thus.. one usually needs to use theories and models. one needs to deﬁne a coherent system of units. Similarly weights were related to what could be carried in the hand: the pound.14 Jean-Philippe Uzan tem. (ii) they depend on our theoretical understanding. It is also important to stress that in order to deduce the value of constants from an experiment. the mille by Gabriel Mouton in 1670 deﬁned as the length of one angular minute of a great circle on the Earth or the length of the pendulum that oscillates once a second by Jean Picard and Christiaan Huygens). . the mass of the electron could have been obtained directly from a mass ratio measurement (even more precise!) and (v) fortunately the test of the variability of the constants does not require a priori to have a high-precision value of the considered constants. Note also that some theoretical properties are plugged in the determination of the constants. An example [278] is provided by the Rydberg 2 constant. it is impossible to determine. as proposed by Borda): a meter would Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. It can easily be expressed in terms of some fundamental constants as R∞ = αEM me c/2h. (iii) the determination of a self-consistent set of values of the fundamental constants results from an adjustment to achieve the best match between theory and a deﬁned set of experiments (which is important because we actually know that the theories are only good approximation and have a domain of validity) (iv) that the system of units plays a crucial role in the measurement chain.g.g.

that need to be experimentally determined. which. The Coulomb law describes the force between two charges as being proportional to the product of the two charges and to the inverse of the distance squared. The changes in the deﬁnition were driven by the will to use more stable and more fundamental quantities so that they closely follow the progress of physics. Kelvin (K). this led to the creation of the metric system and then of the signature of La convention du m` etre in 1875. Hence the Coulomb can be expressed in terms of the mechanical units [L]. The International System of Units deﬁnes seven basic units: the meter (m). as pointed out by Maxwell in 1870. Similarly the rotation of the Earth was not so stable and it was proposed in 1927 by Andr´ e Danjon to use the tropical year as a reference. with dimensions [Q2 M–1 L–3 T2 ] in the Coulomb law. In 1967. [M] and [T]. The status of the Ampere is interesting in itself.livingreviews. that these three basic units can be deﬁned in terms of 3 independent constants. He was able to estimate the value of this elementary charge by means of Faraday’s laws of electrolysis. Another route could have been followed since the Coulomb law tells us that no new constant is actually needed if one uses [M1/2 L3/2 T–1 ] as the dimension of the charge. To make a long story short. He proposed [27. the Coulomb. and so will the Ampere. the Kelvin. 267] to 2 After studying electrolysis in 1874. but note that both choices of units assume the validity of the Coulomb law. First. the deﬁnition of the meter was related to more immutable systems than our planet. it was decided in 1983. was an arbitrary and inconstant reference.Varying Constants. Natural units. The dimension of the force being known as [MLT–2 ]. from which one deﬁnes secondary units. In particular. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. mole (mol) and candela (cd). He introduced the term “electron” in 1894 and it was identiﬁed as a particle in 1897 by Thomson. The mole is merely a unit denoting numbers of particles and has no dimension. mole and candela are derived from the four other units since temperature is actually a measure of energy. known as Gaussian units. Since then. While needed for pragmatic reasons. mass [M] and time [T]. Today. It follows. SI systems and the number of basic units. In this system of units. second (s) and kilogram (kg). the second was also related to an atomic transition. To ﬁnish. the deﬁnition of the units have evolved signiﬁcantly.org/lrr-2011-2 . In 1960. This reduces the number of conversion factors. The previous discussion tends to show that all units can be expressed in terms of the three mechanical units. and that needs to be measured. this requires the introduction of a new constant ε0 (which is only a conversion factor). the candela is expressed in terms of energy ﬂux so that both can be expressed in mechanical units of length [L]. Gravitation and Cosmology 15 henceforth be one ten millionth part of a quarter of the terrestrial meridian. Similarly the gram was deﬁned as the mass of one cubic centimeter of distilled water (at a precise temperature and pressure) and the second was deﬁned from the property that a mean solar day must last 24 hours. this system of units is unnecessarily complicated from the point of view of theoretical physics. the possibility to redeﬁne the kilogram in terms of a ﬁxed value of the Planck constant is under investigation [279]. that the meter shall be deﬁned by ﬁxing the value of the speed of light to c = 299 792 458 m s–1 and we refer to [55] for an up to date description of the SI system. This system has been created for legal use and indeed the choice of units is not restricted to SI. of the transition line between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of krypton-86. the numerical value of ε0 is 1. Johnstone Stoney suggested the existence of a “single deﬁnite quantity of electricity”. in a vacuum. deﬁned as the duration of 9 162 631 770 periods of the transition between the two hyperﬁne levels of the ground state of caesium-133. the Ampere (A). This summary illustrates that the system of units is a human product and all SI deﬁnitions are historically based on non-relativistic classical physics. as realized by Johnstone Stoney in 18742 . The discovery of the electric charge [Q] led to the introduction of a new units. as adopted in 1952. He then suggested that atoms may be such a universal reference. the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) established a new deﬁnition of the meter as the length equal to 1650763 wavelengths.

Some of them are. e.e. h). Do we actually need 3 natural units? is an issue debated at length.39056 × 10−44 s. tP = c5 √︂ G ℓP = ∼ 1.. Veneziano [514] argued that in the framework of string theory one requires only two dimensionful fundamental constants. by construction. However. Such constructions are very useful for theoretical computations but not adapted to measurement so that one needs to switch back to SI units. c and the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.37 × 10−36 m. me . like the Boltzmann constant.g. In the framework of quantum ﬁeld theory + general relativity. e and c is 1.17671 × 10−8 kg.85 × 10−9 kg. as indicated by the International System of Units. For instance.livingreviews. G and as √︂ G ∼ 5. from dimensional analysis a “natural series of physical units” deﬁned as √︃ Ge2 ∼ 4.16 Jean-Philippe Uzan use three constants: the Newton constant. c = 1 × ℓS · t− S etc. which he reformulated later [419] in terms of c. we can construct a system based on (e. 1 In such a system of units. Okun [392] considered that only three fundamental constants are necessary. in order to deﬁne. G The two systems are clearly related by the ﬁne-structure constant since e2 /4πε0 = αEM hc. the velocity of light and the basic units of electricity. More important.e. new phenomena appear. A similar approach to the deﬁnition of the units was independently proposed by Planck [418] on the basis of the two constants a and b entering the Wien law and G. the electron charge.61605 × 10−35 m. it seems that this set of three constants has to be considered and it allows to classify the physical theories (with the famous cube of physical theories ). of and c. which are associated respectively to quantum and relativistic eﬀects. Duﬀ. For instance.. which is studied (it is indeed far fetched to introduce G in the construction of the units when studying atomic physics) so that the system is well adjusted in the sense that the numerical values of the computations are expected to be of order unity in these units. that we can call the Bohr units. which will be suited to the study of the atom. Arguing for no fundamental constant leads to consider them simply as conversion parameters. which are supposed to be universal and immutable. c3 √︂ c mP = ∼ 2. but some others play a deeper role in the sense that when a physical quantity becomes of the same order as this constant. Indeed. the numerical value of G. i. 4πε0 G where the ε0 factor has been included because we are using the SI deﬁnition of the electric charge. The choice may be dictated by the system. we can construct many such systems since the choice of the 3 constants is arbitrary. this shows that. 4πε0 c4 √︃ e2 mS = ∼ 1. three and two (see also [535]).org/lrr-2011-2 . tS = 4πε0 c6 √︃ Ge2 ℓS = ∼ 1. this is the case. i. from a theoretical point of view.59 × 10−45 s. one can deﬁne the system of units from the laws of nature.. Okun and Veneziano [165] respectively argue for none.

1 General relativity The tests of the constancy of fundamental constants take all their importance in the realm of the tests of the equivalence principle [540]. This principle includes three hypotheses: the universality of free fall. Changing their values will indeed have an impact on the intensity of various physical phenomena. role of a UV cut-oﬀ that removes both the inﬁnities of quantum ﬁeld theory and singularities of general relativity.2. more interestingly. Einstein general relativity is based on two independent hypotheses. αEM ∼ 1/137.livingreviews. . 2. We refer to [540] for a detailed description of these principles. 2. it is satisﬁed by any metric theory of gravity and general relativity is conjectured to satisfy it in its strong form (that is for all interactions including gravity). This situation is analogous to pure √︀ quantum gravity [388] where and G never appear separately but only in the combination ℓPl = G /c3 so that only c and ℓPl are needed. etc. some of these parameters may actually be dynamical quantities and.Varying Constants. We now want to stress the relation of this test with other tests of general relativity and with cosmology. The status of a constant depends on the considered theory (eﬀective or microscopic) and. or are some (why not all?) of them related by relations arising from some yet unknown and more fundamental theories. the local position invariance.g. In the case of the Nambu–Goto action S/ = (T / ) d(Area) ≡ λ− d(Area) and the Planck s 2 constant is just given by λ− has not disappeared but has been promoted to the s . Fundamental parameters. . . Volovik [520] made an analogy with quantum liquids to clarify this. on whether this observer belongs to the world of low-energy quasi-particles or to the microscopic world. The use of seems unnecessary since ∫︀ it combines with ∫︀ the string tension to give 2 λs .e. then all other constants are dimensionless quantities. i. on the deﬁnition of the units etc. They have speciﬁc values (e. 164. . the local Lorentz invariance. Gravitation and Cosmology 17 string length λs .. vary in space and time. mp /me ∼ 1836.2 The constancy of constants as a test of general relativity The previous paragraphs have yet emphasize why testing for the consistency of the constants is a test of fundamental physics since it can reveal the need for new physical degrees of freedom in our theory. [110. the mass ratio. e. relative magnitude of strength etc..) that we may hope to understand. There an observer knows both the eﬀective and microscopic physics so that he can judge whether the fundamental constants of the eﬀective theory remain fundamental constants of the microscopic theory. .. The Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.. .org/lrr-2011-2 . In such theories. The equivalence principle has strong implication for the functional form of Sgrav . Are all these numbers completely contingent. on the observer measuring them. These are our potential varying constants.. so that they encode some properties of our world. These dimensionless numbers represent. 437]. In this view. The values of these combinations of constants does not depend on the way they are measured. which can conveniently be described by decomposing the action of the theory as S = Sgrav + Smatter . Once a set of three independent constants has been chosen as natural units. In its weak form (that is for all interactions but gravity).g. It follows that any variation of constants that will leave these numbers unaﬀected is actually just a redeﬁnition of units. thus.

ν2 c2 at lowest order. if one exchanges electromagnetic signals between two identical clocks in a stationary situation.livingreviews. in the slow velocity limit. Thus. Thus. As an example. The assumption of a metric coupling is actually well tested in the solar system: First. the tests we are discussing in this review allow one to extend them much further than the solar scales and even in the early universe. in the neighborhood of the worldline. the action of a point-particle reads ∫︁ √︁ (2) Smatter = − mc −gµν (x)v µ v ν dt. which implies that the constants must take the same value independent of the spacetime point where they are measured.org/lrr-2011-2 . there always exists a change of coordinates so that the metric takes a Minkowskian form at lowest order. (3) where uµ = dxµ /cdτ .18 Jean-Philippe Uzan weak equivalence principle can be mathematically implemented by assuming that all matter ﬁelds are minimally coupled to a single metric tensor gµν . Since locally. this is the subject of this review. v (4) hence deﬁning the Newtonian acceleration gN . τ being the proper time. the geodesic equation reduces to ˙ = a = −∇ΦN ≡ gN . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. The equation of motion that one derives from this action is the usual geodesic equation aµ ≡ uν ∇ν uµ = 0. Second. the isotropy has been tested from the constraint on the possible quadrupolar shift of nuclear energy levels [99. ∇µ is the covariant derivative associated with the metric gµν and aν is the 4-acceleration. it implies that all non-gravitational constants are spacetime independent. This is the universality of gravitational redshift. an important information to check the validity of relativity in cosmology. the gravitational ﬁeld can be locally “eﬀaced” (up to tidal eﬀects). 304. This implies that the action for any matter ﬁeld. gµν ). Interestingly. the apparent diﬀerence between the two clocks rates will be ν1 ΦN (2) − ΦN (1) =1+ . ψ say. This is indeed the assumption of local position invariance. which have been tested to a very high accuracy in many physical systems and for various fundamental constants. Any metric theory of gravity will enjoy such a matter Lagrangian and the worldline of any test particle shall be a geodesic of the spacetime with metric gµν . with v µ ≡ dxµ /dt. This metric deﬁnes the length and times measured by laboratory clocks and rods so that it can be called the physical metric. It follows that. this means that any physical properties that can be measured in this lab must be independent of where and when the experiments are carried out. Note that in the Newtonian limit g00 = −1 − 2ΦN /c2 where ΦN is the Newtonian potential. as long as there is no other long range force acting on it (see [190] for a detailed review of motion in alternative theories of gravity). can be written as Smatter (ψ. Recall that the proper time of a clock is related √ to the coordinate time by dτ = −g00 dt. testing the constancy of fundamental constants is a direct test of this principle and therefore of the metric coupling. If we identify this neighborhood to a small lab. This metric coupling ensures in particular the validity of the universality of free-fall. 422] proving that diﬀerent matter ﬁelds couple to a unique metric tensor at the 10–27 level.

7) Ö 10–12 –12 Body 1 Be Earth-like rock Earth Te Be Be Si/Al Body 2 Cu Moon-like rock Moon Bi Al Cu Cu Ref.4) Ö 10–13 (0.9 ± 2. Gravitation and Cosmology 19 Table 3: Summary of the constraints on the violation of the universality of free fall. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.1 ± 2.7) × 10−13 . (9) Note that since the core represents only 1/3 of the mass of the Earth. which compares the relative acceleration of the Earth and Moon in the gravitational ﬁeld of the Sun.1 ± 2. the Einstein eﬀect (or gravitational redshift) has been measured at the 2 Ö 10–4 level [517]. Further constraints are summarized in Table 3.9 ± 2. The latter constraint also contains some contribution from the gravitational binding energy and thus includes the strong equivalence principle.1 ± 6.8) Ö 10–13 (–0. one gets a constraints on the strong equivalence principle parameter.Cu = (−1. also set the constraints ηEarth.9 ± 2. |a1 + a2 | (5) can be constrained experimentally.3 ± 1. the universality of free fall can be tested by comparing the accelerations of two test bodies in an external gravitational ﬁeld.0 ± 1.2 ± 2. e.Bi = (0.5) Ö 10 (0.org/lrr-2011-2 .7) Ö 10–13 (–1. (7) (6) and experiments with torsion balance using test bodies composed of tellurium an bismuth allowed to set the constraint [450] ηTe. in the laboratory by comparing the acceleration of a beryllium and a copper mass in the Earth gravitational ﬁeld [4] to get ηBe.4) × 10−13 . When the laboratory result of [23] is combined with the LLR results of [542] and [365].. Constraint (–1. The parameter η12 deﬁned as η12 ≡ 2 |a1 − a2 | .8) Ö 10–12 (–1. and since the Earth’s mantle has the same composition as that of the Moon (and thus shall fall in the same way). Fourth.Moon = (0.8) × 10−13 .5) × 10−12 .Varying Constants. one loses a factor of three. respectively ηSEP = (3 ± 6) × 10−13 and ηSEP = (−4 ± 5) × 10−13 .0 ± 1.7 ± 1.5) Ö 10–12 (5. so that this constraint is actually similar to the one obtained in the lab.7 ± 1. (8) The Lunar Laser ranging experiment [543].Moon = (−1. Large improvements are expected thanks to existence of two dedicated space mission projects: Microscope [493] and STEP [355].livingreviews.g.3 ± 1. [4] [23] [543] [450] [481] [481] [481] Third. Similarly the comparison of Earth-core-like and Moon-mantle-like bodies gave [23] ηEarth.

by a massive degree of freedom. The constraints on (λ. which typically shows that α < 10−2 on scales ranging from the millimeter to the solar system size.1 ± 2. while the measurement of the time delay variation to the Cassini spacecraft [53] sets γ PPN − 1 = (2. Indeed. which implies that |4β PPN − γ PPN − 3| = (4. The dynamics of general relativity can be tested in the solar system by using the parameterized post-Newtonian formalism (PPN). Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. which are all controlled by γ PPN . 2 c (11) √ where T µν ≡ (2/ −g )δSmatter /δgµν is the matter stress-energy tensor. General ∗ relativity then assumes that both metrics coincide.g. )︁ Gm (︁ V = 1 + αe−r/λ . The variation of the total action with respect to the metric yields the Einstein equations 8πG 1 Rµν − Rgµν = 4 Tµν . which makes cosmology an interesting physical system to extend these constraints. 540. The second building block of general relativity is related to the dynamics of the gravitational sector. as we shall see. gij = (︂ 1+ 2Gm 2γ PPN 2 rc )︂ δij .20 Jean-Philippe Uzan We can conclude that the hypothesis of metric coupling is extremely well-tested in the solar system. assumed to be dictated by the Einstein–Hilbert action Sgrav = c3 16πG ∫︁ √ −g∗ R∗ d4 x. it reduces to the two Eddington parameters entering the metric of the Schwartzschild metric in isotropic coordinates g00 2Gm = −1 + − 2β PPN rc2 (︂ 2Gm rc2 )︂2 . The coeﬃcient 8πG/c4 is determined by the weak-ﬁeld limit of the theory that should reproduce the Newtonian predictions. general relativity predicts β PPN = γ PPN = 1.livingreviews. gµν = gµν (which is related to the strong equivalence principle). λ characterizes the range of the Yukawa deviation of strength α. The formalism assumes that gravity is described by a metric and that it does not involve any characteristic scale. r that can be probed by “ﬁfth force” experimental searches. For more details we refer to [129. but it is possible to design theories in which this is indeed not the case (see the example of scalar-tensor theories below. In its simplest form.5) × 10−4 and (3) by the deﬂection of electromagnetic signals.. Needless to say that any extension of general relativity has to pass these constraints. (2) the Lunar laser ranging experiments [543]. However. 541]. In that case one expects a Yukawa-type deviation from the Newton potential. deviations from general relativity can be larger in the past. These two phenomenological parameters are constrained (1) by the shift of the Mercury perihelion [457].4 ± 4. (10) ∗ This deﬁnes the dynamics of a massless spin-2 ﬁeld gµν . 495. 189] and in the strong ﬁeld regime [425]. For instance the very long baseline interferometry [459] implies that |γ PPN − 1| = 4 × 10−4 . α) are summarized in [256]. e.1.org/lrr-2011-2 . The PPN formalism does not allow to test ﬁnite range eﬀects that could be caused. called the Einstein metric. which implies that |2γ PPN − β PPN − 1| < 3 × 10−3 . Section 5. 541] (see also [60] for a review on higher orders).1) so that general relativity is one out of a large family of metric theories.3) × 10−5 . General relativity is also tested with pulsars [125. Its is a general formalism that introduces 10 phenomenological parameters to describe any possible deviation from general relativity at the ﬁrst post-Newtonian order [540.

m[αi ]. the equation of motion of a test particle reduces to (︁ ∑︁ vA )︁ a = gN + δ aA . (13) β ∂α ∂x i i It follows that a test body will not enjoy a geodesic motion. ) binding energies [152. starting.Varying Constants. δ aA = −c2 fA. from nuclei. 386] but also in the Yukawa couplings and in the Higgs sector parameters so that the αi -dependencies are a priori composition-dependent. The variation of the constants. In the Newtonian limit g00 = −1 + 2ΦN /c2 . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. where αj is a list of constants including αEM but also many others and where the index A in mA recalls that the dependency in these constants is a priori diﬀerent for bodies of diﬀerent chemical composition. Gravitation and Cosmology 21 2. Ebinding /c2 . i where we have introduce the sensitivity of the mass A with respect to the variation of the constant αi by ∂ ln mA fA.org/lrr-2011-2 .2 Varying constants and the universality of free fall As the previous description shows. gravitational. On the other hand.2. includes the mass of the elementary particles that constitute it (this means that it will depend on the Yukawa couplings and on the Higgs sector parameters) but also a contribution. deviation from general relativity and violation of the weak equivalence principle are in general expected together. e. . The connection lies in the fact that the mass of any composite body. As a consequence.. the composition dependence of δ aA and thus of ηAB can be used to optimize the choice of materials for the experiments testing the equivalence principle [118. any variation of the fundamental constants will entail a violation of the universality of free fall: the total mass of the body being space dependent.i ∇αi .i ≡ .. strong. The variation of this action gives the equation of motion (︃ )︃ ∑︁ ∂ ln mA ∂αi (︀ )︀ ν µ u ∇ν u = − g βµ + uβ uµ . an anomalous force appears if energy is to be conserved.g. . and at ﬁrst order in v/c. weak and electromagnetic) but also gravitational for massive bodies. (15) ∂αi This simple argument shows that if the constants depend on time then there must exist an anomalous acceleration that will depend on the chemical composition of the body A. the mass of any body is a complicated function of all the constants. 120.e. It follows that the action for a point particle is no more given by Equation (2) but by ∫︁ √︁ (12) Smatter = − mA [αj ]c −gµν (x)v µ v ν dt. arising from the binding energies of the diﬀerent interactions (i.livingreviews. 122] but also to distinguish between several models if data from the universality of free fall and atomic clocks are combined [143]. 246. Dicke [152] realized that they are actually not independent and that if the coupling constants are spatially dependent then this will induce a violation of the universality of free fall. . Thus. the constancy of the fundamental constants and the universality are two pillars of the equivalence principle.i ∇αi + α ˙i 2 (14) c i so that in the slow velocity (and slow variation) limit it reduces to ∑︁ δ aA = −c2 fA. This anomalous acceleration is generated by the change in the (electromagnetic.

3 Relations with cosmology Most constraints on the time variation of the fundamental constants will not be local and related to physical systems at various epochs of the evolution of the universe.p) /u3 being pure numbers). Zme . where ES and EEM are respectively the strong and electromagnetic contributions to the binding energy.. bd and B(n. . A1/3 (16) If we decompose the proton and neutron masses as [230] m(p. The numerical coeﬃcients B(n.13 MeV. αS . We shall discuss this issue in more detail in Section 5. the neutron number.livingreviews. from (17) and (19).3.2.). 166] but the dependency on the quark mass is still not well understood and we refer to [120. The Bethe–Weiz¨ acker formula allows to estimate the latter as EEM = 98. This form depends on strong. 208] for some attempts to reﬁne this description. and Table 4 for the typical value of the cosmological parameters). Note that varying coupling constants can also be associated with violations of local Lorentz invariance and CPT symmetry [298. m(αEM . + ZBp + N Bn + 98. the mass has also a negative contribution ∫︁ G ρ(⃗ r)ρ(⃗ r′ ) 3 3 ′ ∆m(G) = − 2 d ⃗ rd ⃗ r (19) 2c |⃗ r −⃗ r′ | from the gravitational binding energy. since it is related to the intricate structure of QCD and its role in low energy nuclear reactions. As we shall see in Section 5. 2..n) αEM where u3 is the pure QCD approximation of the nucleon mass (bu . It follows that the comparison of diﬀerent constraints requires a full cosmological model. Our current cosmological model is known as the ΛCDM (see [409] for a detailed description.p) are given explicitly by [230] Bp αEM = 0. 52. 157. It is important to recall that its construction relies on 4 main hypotheses: (H1) a theory of gravity. the ﬁrst issue is very model dependent while the second is especially diﬃcult.u) md + B(p. αG .25 A1 / 3 (17) with N = A − Z .d) mu + b(d. Z ) = (Au3 + ES ) + (Zbu + N bd )mu + (Zbd + N bu )md (︂ )︂ Z (Z − 1) MeV αEM . the computation of ηAB will requires the determination of the coeﬃcients fAi . For an atom. As a conclusion. the mass of a nuclei of charge Z and atomic number A can be expressed as m(A. (H2) a description of the matter components contained in the Universe and their non-gravitational interactions. For macroscopic bodies. (H3) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. one would have to add the contribution of the electrons.n) = u3 + b(u. weak and electromagnetic quantities.25 Z (Z − 1) αEM MeV. This can be achieved in two steps by ﬁrst relating the new degrees of freedom of the theory to the variation of the fundamental constants and then relating them to the variation of the masses. it reduces to m(A.22 Jean-Philippe Uzan From a theoretical point of view. we expect the mass to depend on all the coupling constant. 159. 122.63 MeV Bn αEM = −0. αW .2. 242]. particularly when one wants to understand the eﬀect of the quark mass. As an example.org/lrr-2011-2 . Z ) = Zmp + (A − Z )mn + Zme + ES + EEM . (18) Such estimations were used in the ﬁrst analysis of the relation between variation of the constant and the universality of free fall [135.

Varying Constants. if the minimum of the potential is zero. and ΩK 0 ≃ 0. The way to introduce such new physical degrees of freedom were classiﬁed in [502]. that is ℓΛ ≤ H0 ∼ 1026 m ∼ 1041 GeV−1 . These hypotheses are not on the same footing since H1 and H2 refer to the physical theories. since they can reveal the coupling of this new degree of freedom to the standard matter ﬁelds. the latter two having no physical explanation at the moment. Either one accepts such a constant and such a ﬁne-tuning and tries to explain it on anthropic ground. one interprets it as an indication that our set of cosmological hypotheses have to be extended. Sgrav = 16πG This constant can equivalently be introduced in the matter action. Or. that the cosmological data still favor a pure cosmological constant. This is the cosmological constant problem [528]. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. (20) Classically. however. where M is some energy scale of high-energy physics. that it is very light. Note. this value is no problem but it was pointed out that at the quantum level. the vacuum energy should scale as M 4 . This model is compatible with all astronomical data. Hence. 499]. the cosmological constant. However. these hypotheses are not suﬃcient to solve the ﬁeld equations and we must make an assumption on the symmetries (H3) of the solutions describing our Universe on large scales while H4 is an assumption on some global properties of these cosmological solutions. However. Among all the proposals quintessence involves a scalar ﬁeld rolling down a runaway potential hence acting as a ﬂuid with an eﬀective equation of state in the range −1 ≤ w ≤ 1 if the ﬁeld is minimally coupled. without which the Einstein equations usually cannot been solved. roughly of order m ∼ 10−33 eV [81]. and assumes most often that the spatial sections are simply connected (H4). One of the underlying motivation to replace the cosmological constant by a scalar ﬁeld comes from superstring models in which any dimensionful parameter is expressed in terms of the string mass scale and the vacuum expectation value of a scalar ﬁeld. in the same spirit as Dirac. In that latter approach. i. Ωmat0 ≃ 0. which roughly indicates that ΩΛ0 ≃ 0.73.27. there is a discrepancy of 60 – 120 order of magnitude between the cosmological conclusions and the theoretical expectation. 434. The ΛCDM model assumes that gravity is described by general relativity (H1).org/lrr-2011-2 . the analysis of the cosmological dynamics of the universe and of its large scale structures requires the introduction of a new constant. of the Universe. The same scalar ﬁeld then drives the time variation of the cosmological constant and of the gravitational constant and it has the property to also have tracking solutions [499].livingreviews. In such a case. that can be introduced by modifying the Einstein–Hilbert action to ∫︁ √ c3 −g (R − 2Λ)d4 x. Such models do not solve the cosmological constant problem but only relieve the coincidence problem. Thus. cosmology −1 2 roughly imposes that |Λ0 | ≤ H0 . Gravitation and Cosmology 23 symmetry hypothesis. H2 and H3 imply that the description of the standard matter reduces to a mixture of a pressureless and a radiation perfect ﬂuids. It was proposed that the quintessence ﬁeld is also the dilaton [229. by either abandoning the Copernican principle [508] or by modifying the local physical laws (either gravity or the matter sector). But the last two hypothesis are unavoidable because the knowledge of the fundamental theories is not suﬃcient to construct a cosmological model [504]. associated with a recent acceleration of the cosmic expansion.e. Note.. the topology. and (H4) a hypothesis on the global structure. It also deeply involves the Copernican principle as a symmetry hypothesis (H3). Two approaches to solve this problem have been considered. that it is disproportionately small compared to the natural scale ﬁxed by the Planck length 4 ρΛ0 ∼ 10−120 MPl ∼ 10−47 GeV4 . the requirement of slow roll (mandatory to have a negative pressure) and the fact that the quintessence ﬁeld dominates today imply. the tests of the constancy of the fundamental constants are central. with same local geometry. however. that the Universe contains the ﬁelds of the standard model of particle physics plus some dark matter and a cosmological constant.

g. e.958(16) (0. e. An example is given by scalar-tensor theories (see Section 5.24 Jean-Philippe Uzan Table 4: ∑︀ Main cosmological parameters in the standard Λ-CDM model. 112. 132] inspired by string theory (see Section 5. the variation of the constants is disconnected from the dark energy problem. neutrinos and gravity waves. the level of variation of the constants and the other deviations from general relativity are connected [348] so that the study of the variation of the constants can improve the reconstruction of the equation Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.12(19) Ö 10–10 2. 162.3). Parameter Reduced Hubble constant Baryon-to-photon ratio Photon density Dark matter density Cosmological constant Spatial curvature Scalar modes amplitude Scalar spectral index Neutrino density Dark energy equation of state Scalar running spectral index Tensor-to-scalar ratio Tensor spectral index Tensor running spectral index Baryon density Symbol h η = nb /nγ Ωγ h2 ΩCDM h2 ΩΛ ΩK Q nS Ων h2 w αS T/S nT αT Ωb h2 Value 0. e. as. The evolution of the scalar ﬁeld drives both the acceleration of the universe at late time and the variation of the constants. the luminosity of supernovae and indirectly modify the distance luminosity-redshift relation derived from these observations [33. e. 315.0005 – 0.03 < 0. 404. primordial nucleosynthesis to local constraints [134]. 409]). Cosmology allows to determine the dynamics of this ﬁeld during the whole history of the universe and thus to compare local constraints and cosmological constraints. It follows that the dynamics of the universe.471 Ö 10–5 0. 532] such models are extremely constrained from the bound on the universality of free-fall (see Section 6.0 ± 0. [296. We have two means of investigation: The ﬁeld driving the time variation of the fundamental constants does not explain the acceleration of the universe (either it does not dominate the matter content today or its equation of state is not negative enough).1) for which one can compare. Note that often the spatial curvature is set to ΩK = 0. in such a situation one should take into account the eﬀect of the variation of the constants on the astrophysical observations since it can aﬀect local physical processes and bias. Chiba and Kohri [96] also argued that an ultra-light quintessence ﬁeld induces a time φF µν F variation of the coupling constant if it is coupled to ordinary matter and studied a coupling of the form φF µν Fµν . (See.011(12) (2.0223(7) Such a light ﬁeld can lead to observable violations of the universality of free fall if it is nonuniversally coupled to the matter ﬁelds.001 ? 0.73(3) 0.36 < 0.2) Ö 10–5 0.105(8) 0.g.4. However.. 347. 314. In such a case.97(7) –0. Carroll [81] considered the eﬀect of the coupling of this very light quintessence ﬁeld to ordinary matter via a coupling to the electromagnetic ﬁeld as ̃︀µν .05 ± 0. 435].1). 531] and then to models of runaway dilaton [133.g. As pointed in [96. expected from Kaluza–Klein theories (see below). There are 7 main parameters (because Ωi = 0) to which one can add 6 more to include dark energy.org/lrr-2011-2 ...1. This was generalized to quintessence models with a couplings of the form Z (φ)F µν Fµν [11. The ﬁeld driving the time variation of the fundamental constants is also responsible for the acceleration of the universe. Refs.g.73(3) 6.livingreviews. 166.023) –0.

as foreseen by Dirac. 162. 389.Varying Constants. Gravitation and Cosmology 25 state of the dark energy [20. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. cosmology seems to require a new constant.livingreviews. It also provides a link between the microphysics and cosmology. When a model is speciﬁed. The tests of fundamental constants can discriminate between various explanations of the acceleration of the universe. cosmology also allows to set stringer constraints since it relates observables that cannot be compared otherwise. In conclusion. 404].org/lrr-2011-2 .

µ. atomics clocks. We can classify them according to their look-back time and more precisely their space-time position relative to our actual position. gp is the proton gyromagnetic factor and µ ¯ = me /mp . The various physical systems that have been considered can be classiﬁed in many ways. the BBN parameters. These primary parameters must then be related to some fundamental constants such as masses and couplings. which may not be fundamental constants (e. BD Other hypothesis – geophysical model – cloud physical properties stellar model cosmological model cosmological model cosmological model 3. ). Indeed each step requires a speciﬁc modelization and hypothesis and has its own limitations. We use the convention that ∆α = α − α0 for any constant α.1 Atomic clocks Atomic spectra and constants The laboratory constraints on the time variation of fundamental constants are obtained by comparing the long-term behavior of several oscillators and rely on frequency measurements. the transitions of all atoms have similar Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the number of constants can be reduced by relating them in some uniﬁcation schemes. For instance. All the quantities appearing in this table are deﬁned in the text. In a last step. Table 5: Summary of the systems considered to set constraints on the variation of the fundamental constants. αEM µ.1 3. but this is at the expense of usually involving other parameters such as the cosmological parameters. This is summarized on Table 5. The atomic transitions have various dependencies in the fundamental constants. me . meteorites dating and nucleosynthesis require nuclear physics. αEM . αEM BD gp . setting constraints goes through several steps. µ. . the gross. the lifetime of β -decayers. αEM . 2 2p3/2 − 2p1/2 : ν ∝ cR∞ αEM . for the hydrogen atom. the primary constants used to interpret the data and the other hypothesis required for this interpretation. mN . The systems can also be classiﬁed in terms of the physics they involve. so that ∆α < 0 refers to a value smaller than today. .livingreviews. ﬁne and hyperﬁne-structures are roughly given by 2p − 1s : ν ∝ cR∞ . the case of the cosmic microwave background or of primordial nucleosynthesis.. where the Rydberg constant set the dimension. First we have some observable quantities from which we can draw constraints on primary constants. This is summarized in Figure 1. We summarize the observable quantities. System Atomic clock Oklo phenomenon Meteorite dating Quasar spectra Stellar physics 21 cm CMB BBN Observable δ ln ν isotopic ratio isotopic ratio atomic spectra element abundances Tb /TCMB ∆T /T light element abundances Primary constraints gi . 2 1s : ∝ cR∞ αEM gp µ ¯. in particular. For instance.26 Jean-Philippe Uzan 3 Experimental and Observational Constraints This section focuses on the experimental and observational constraints on the non-gravitational constants. respectively. Indeed higher redshift systems oﬀer the possibility to set constraints on a larger time scale.org/lrr-2011-2 . µ Er λ gp . In the non-relativistic approximation.g.1. For any system. . This is. τn . quasar absorption spectra and the cosmic microwave background require only to use quantum electrodynamics to draw the primary constraints while the Oklo phenomenon. that is assuming αG remains constant. αEM Qnp .

8 1.2 0.6 0. Bottom: The look-back time-redshift relation for the standard ΛCDM model.4 0.0 1.org/lrr-2011-2 . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.0 0.livingreviews.2 1. The shaded areas represents the comoving space probed by diﬀerent tests.Varying Constants.4 Log 1 z Figure 1: Top: Summary of the systems that have been used to probe the constancy of the fundamental constants and their position in a space-time diagram in which the cone represents our past light cone. Gravitation and Cosmology 27 Time redshift relation 14 3Α 12 Look back time Gyr 10 8 6 Meteorite 4 QSO spectra 2 Oklo 0 0.

It is important to analyze as many species as possible in order to rule-out species-dependent systematic eﬀects. 199 Hg+ . 210]. Similarly.28 Jean-Philippe Uzan dependencies but two eﬀects have to be taken into account. (23) κα ≡ ∂ ln αEM Table 6 summarizes the values of some of them. The importance of the relativistic corrections was probably ﬁrst emphasized in [423] and their computation through relativistic N -body calculations was carried out for many transitions in [170. a theory. is the frequency shift due to cold collisions between the atoms. we can interpret all atomic clocks results in terms of the g-factors of each atoms. still keeping in mind that the computation of the sensitivity factors required numerical N -body simulations. spin-orbit couplings and many-body eﬀects. (22) where. Aelec is a numerical factor depending on each particular atom and Felec is the function accounting for relativistic eﬀects. which are diﬀerent for each nuclei. that contributes mostly to the systematic uncertainty. The hyperﬁne frequency in a given electronic state of an alkali-like atom. It has a strong dependence on the atomic number Z . The hyperﬁne splitting frequency between the F = 3 and F = 4 levels of its 2 S1/2 ground state at 9. gi . We shall parameterize the hyperﬁne and ﬁne-structures frequencies as follows. are more favorable. Even though an electronic transition should also include a contribution from the hyperﬁne interaction. for which ]︂−1 [︂ [︀ ]︀−1/2 11 4 ≃ 1 + (ZαEM )2 .835 GHz. as computed in [175. only on quantum electrodynamics (QED). Indeed a reliable knowledge of these coeﬃcients at the 1% to 10% level is required to deduce limits to a possible variation of the constants. 175. They can be characterized by introducing the sensitivity of the relativistic factors to a variation of αEM . First. which is well tested experimentally [280] so that we can safely obtain constraints on (αEM . On this particular point.livingreviews. from a theoretical point of view. 87 Rb. gi ). it is generally only a small fraction of the transition energy and thus should not carry any signiﬁcant sensitivity to a variation of the fundamental constants. The interpretation of the spectra in this context relies. Frel (αEM ) = 1 − (ZαEM )2 1 − (ZαEM )2 3 6 The developments of highly accurate atomic clocks using diﬀerent transitions in diﬀerent atoms oﬀer the possibility to test a variation of various combinations of the fundamental constants. µ. α). is 2 νhfs ≃ R∞ c × Ahfs × gi × αEM ×µ ¯ × Fhfs (α) (21) where gi = µi /µN is the nuclear g factor. which also depend on each atom (but also on the type of the transition) can be included through a multiplicative function Frel (αEM ). clocks based on the hyperﬁne frequency of the ground state of the rubidium at 6. Second. which can be illustrated on the case of alkali atoms. ∂ ln F . From an experimental point of view. such as 133 Cs. It follows that at the lowest level of description. the hyperﬁne-structures involve a gyromagnetic factor gi (related to the nuclear magnetic moment by µi = gi µN . Ahfs is a numerical factor depending on each particular atom and we have set Frel = Fhfs (α). as above. One limiting eﬀect.192 GHz has been used for the deﬁnition of the second since 1967. with µN = e /2mp c). 198]. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. relativistic corrections (including the Casimir contribution). 174. the frequency of an electronic transition is wellapproximated by νelec ≃ R∞ c × Aelec × Felec (Z. various combinations of clocks have been performed. the electron to proton mass ration µ and the ﬁne-structure constant αEM .org/lrr-2011-2 . Most experiments are based on a frequency comparison to caesium clocks.

5 ± 5.208 αEM Reference Rb Rb 1 H 199 Hg+ 199 Hg+ 171 Yb+ 171 Yb+ 87 Sr 87 Dy 27 Al+ 87 87 Cs Cs 133 Cs 133 Cs 133 Cs 133 Cs 133 Cs 133 Cs 87 Dy 199 Hg+ 133 133 Ö 10–16 Ö 10–16 –16 Ö 10–15 Ö 10–16 Ö 10 Ö 10–15 –15 Ö 10–15 Ö 10–15 Ö 10 Ö 10–17 [346] [58] [196] [57] [214] [408] [407] [61] [100] [440] Rubidium : The comparison of the hyperﬁne frequencies of the rubidium and caesium in their electronic ground state between 1998 and 2003.9) (–1.org/lrr-2011-2 .2 ± 7.3) (–32 ± 63) (0.2 ± 4. (24) dt νCs With one more year of experiment.6) (–5. Table 7: Summary of the constraints obtained from the comparisons of atomic clocks.9) Constants dependence gCs 0.livingreviews. with the primarily goal to deﬁne better frequency standards.0) (–0. and using the values of the sensitivities κα .2 ± 7) (3.0) × 10−16 yr−1 .49 νCs ∝ α .05 gCs µ ¯αEM 1.40) (–1. leads to the constraint [346] (︂ )︂ d νRb ln = (0.Varying Constants.83 0.7 ± 3.06 0. using the numbers of Table 6.34 0.4) (–0.1.008 H Rb 133 Cs 171 Yb+ 199 Hg+ 87 Sr 27 Al+ 87 3.3 ± 7.7 ± 2.49 α gRb EM 2. For each constraint on the relative drift of the frequency of the two clocks.3) × 10−16 yr−1 .93 gCs µ ¯αEM 2. with an accuracy of order 10–15 . we provide the dependence in the various constants.77 gCs µ ¯αEM αEM −3.78 ± 1.9 –3. νRb gRb EM Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.B. the constraint dropped to [58] d ln dt (︂ νRb νCs )︂ = (−0.2 ± 7.00 0. (25) From Equation (21).2 Experimental constraints We present the latest results that have been obtained and refer to Section III.2 0. They all rely on the developments of new atomic clocks. we deduce that comparison constrains gCs 0.8) (–2. Clock 1 d dt ln Clock 2 )︁ (︁ νclock 1 νclock 2 Constraint (yr–1 ) (0. From Ref.0 ± 1. which can be consulted for other constants. [379].83 gCs µ ¯αEM 6.5 ± 5.2 of FCV [500] for earlier studies. Gravitation and Cosmology 29 Table 6: Sensitivity of various transitions on a variation of the ﬁne-structure constant. Atom 1 Transition 1s − 2s hf 2 S1/2 (F = 2) − (F = 3) 2 S1/2 − 2 D3/2 2 S1/2 − 2 D5/2 1 S0 − 3 P0 1 S0 − 3 P0 sensitivity κα 0.

05 ∝ gCs µ ¯αEM . The constraint of [408] was Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. νH Mercury : The 199 Hg+ 2 S1/2 − 2 D5/2 optical transition has a high sensitivity to αEM (see Table 6) so that it is well suited to test its variation. dt νCs (28) While νCs is still given by Equation (21). (26) dt νCs Since the relativistic correction for the atomic hydrogen transition nearly vanishes. Using the sensitivities of Table 6. Atomic hydrogen : The 1s − 2s transition in atomic hydrogen was compared tp the ground state hyperﬁne splitting of caesium [196] in 1999 and 2003. This can be translated in a relative drift (︂ )︂ νH d ln = (−32 ± 63) × 10−16 yr−1 . νHg Ytterbium : The 2 S1/2 − 2 D3/2 electric quadrupole transition at 688 THz of 171 Yb+ was compared to the ground state hyperﬁne transition of cesium.2 ± 7) × 10−15 yr−1 . we have νH ∼ R∞ so that νCs 2.9) × 10−16 yr−1 . (27) dt νCs This was improved by a comparison over a 6 year period [214] to get (︂ )︂ νHg d ln = (3. we conclude that this comparison test the stability of νCs 6. setting an upper limit on the variation of νH of (−29 ± 57) Hz within 44 months.30 Jean-Philippe Uzan 4 2 yr 1 ln Ν1 Ν2 dt d 10 2 4 6 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 15 0 Year Figure 2: Evolution of the comparison of diﬀerent atomic clocks summarized in Table 7.org/lrr-2011-2 .7 ± 3.83 ∝ gCs µ ¯αEM . νHg is given by Equation (22). which lead to [57] (︂ )︂ d νHg ln = (0.livingreviews. The frequency of the 199 Hg+ electric quadrupole transition at 282 nm was compared to the ground state hyperﬁne transition of caesium during a two year period.

this tests the stability of νCs 2.208 ∝ αEM . this tests the stability of νHg −3.org/lrr-2011-2 . (31) Aluminium and mercury single-ion optical clocks : The comparison of the 1 S0 − 3 P0 transition in 27 Al+ and 2 S1/2 − 2 D5/2 in 199 Hg+ over a year allowed to set the constraint [440] d ln dt (︂ νAl νHg )︂ = (−5. (32) Proceeding as previously. νAl which directly set the constraint αEM ˙ = (−1.Varying Constants. after comparison over a six year period.7 Hz/yr and –0. dt νCs Proceeding as previously. this tests the stability of νCs 1.1-MHz transition in 163 Dy and the 235-MHz transition in 162 Dy are 9. αEM since it depends only on αEM .5 Hz/yr. νSr Atomic dyprosium : It was suggested in [175. These provide the constraint αEM ˙ = (−2.3) × 10−17 yr−1 .9) × 10−17 yr−1 .6) × 10−15 yr−1 .93 ∝ gCs µ ¯αEM .78 ± 1. αEM at 1σ level.0 ± 6. which lead to [407] (︂ )︂ d νYb ln = (−0. The combination of these three experiments [61] leads to the constraint (︂ )︂ νSr d ln = (−1. respectively. 174] (see also [173] for a computation of the transition amplitudes of the low states of dyprosium) that the electric dipole (E1) transition between two nearly degenerate opposite-parity states in atomic dyprosium should be highly sensitive to the variation of αEM .7 ± 2. (30) dt νCs Proceeding as previously. νYb (29) Strontium : The comparison of the 1 S0 − 3 P0 transition in neutral 87 Sr with a cesium clock was performed in three independent laboratories.8) × 10−15 yr−1 . (33) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Gravitation and Cosmology 31 updated.3 ± 7.6 ± 2.0 ± 1.6 ± 6.77 ∝ gCs µ ¯αEM . without any assumptions on the constancy of other fundamental constants.40) × 10−15 yr−1 . It was then demonstrated [384] that a constraint of the order of 10–18 /yr can be reached. The frequencies of nearly of two isotopes of dyprosium were monitored over a 8 months period [100] showing that the frequency variation of the 3.livingreviews.

are ﬁrst related to the ones of the proton and a neutron to derive a relation of the form ap an g ∝ gp gn . For molecular hydrogen M = mp /2 so that the comparison of an observed vibro-rotational spectrum with a laboratory spectrum gives an information on the variation of mp and mn . The energy diﬀerence between two adjacent rotational levels in a diatomic molecule is inversely proportional to M r−2 . or equivalently the g -factors.67 ± 5. of the form )︀ (︀ √ ν ≃ EI celec + cvib µ ¯ + crot µ ¯ (35) where celec .48 ± 6.12 ± 2. We cannot lift the degeneracies further with this clock comparison. (34) dt gRb dt on a time scale of a year. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. we can obtain independent constraints on the time variation of gCs . 3. the other studies need to be combined to disentangle the contributions of the various constants. using again Table 6.3). one can relate the nucleon g -factors in terms of the quark mass and the QCD scale [198].7) × 10−14 yr−1 . νCs It can be combined with the constraint (26). The comparison of the vibro-rotational transition in the molecule SF6 was compared to a caesium clock over a two-year period. as ﬁrst pointed out by Thomson [488].org/lrr-2011-2 . (37) µ Combined with Equation (34). in the Born–Oppenheimer approximation. in ﬁrst approximation. gRb and µ. which enjoys the same dependence to cesium to infer that µ ˙ = (−3. A solution is to consider diatomic molecules since.9 ± 0. the dependence of the magnetic moments on the quark masses was investigated in [210].6) × 10−14 yr−1 . and the vibrational transition of the same molecule has. r being the bond length and M the √ reduced mass. it was argued than within this theoretical framework. Comparing pure rotational transitions with electronic transitions gives a measurement of µ. As an example. we can then extract the two following bounds (︂ )︂ d gCs d ln = (0. In particular.8 ± 5. we ﬁrst use the bound (33) on αEM . (36) dt νCs where the second error takes into account uncontrolled systematics. It follows that the frequency of vibro-rotation transitions is. leading to the constraint [464] (︂ )︂ d νSF6 ln = (1.1.29) × 10−16 yr−1 . This requires one to use quantum chromodynamics. cvib and crot are some numerical coeﬃcients.32 Jean-Philippe Uzan While the constraint (33) was obtained directly from the clock comparison. molecular lines can provide a test of the variation of µ. ln (gCs µ ¯) = (4. The magnetic moments.83 ∝µ ¯1/2 αEM (gCs µ ¯)−1 . since that would require a constraint on the time variation of µ.68) × 10−16 yr−1 . All these constraints are summarized in Table 7 and Figure 2. Under the assumption of a uniﬁcation of the three non-gravitational interaction (see Section 6. a M dependence.3 Physical interpretation The theoretical description must be pushed further if ones wants to extract constraints on constant more fundamental than the nuclear magnetic moments. we deduce that νSF6 −2. Now.livingreviews.

it was shown that this sensitivity can be enhanced in transitions between narrow close levels of diﬀerent nature [13. in the approximation Xq ∝ Xs and where Xe ≡ me /ΛQCD . 205.016.127.044 to 0. the hyperﬁne transitions in the electronic ground state of cold. νv ∼ Mr µ ¯ R∞ c. where the scattering length is extremely sensitive to µ. 210] argued that these g -factors mainly depend on the light quark mass mq = 2 (mu + md ) and ms . To simplify. respectively for the up.013 −0. Concerning diatomic molecules. it was deduced. gn ∝ Xq Xs . leading to the possibility to draw constraints on the independent time variation of Xq . so that the hyperﬁne frequencies behaves as 2+κα κ−0. while the vibrational levels depend mainly on the electron-to-proton mass ratio and the reduced mass −1/2 1/2 of the molecule.009. we may assume that Xq ∝ Xs .0013 gp ∝ Xq Xs . hydrogen-like highly charged ions [44. as an example. the ﬁne structure mainly depends on the ﬁne-structure constant. For hyperﬁne transition.Varying Constants.048 νhfs ∝ αEM Xq Xe .011 mp ∼ 3ΛQCD Xq Xs . There could be a cancellation between the two frequencies when ν = νhf − nνv ∼ 0 with n a positive integer. Thus. Gravitation and Cosmology 33 1 [198. 448]. so that the dependence in the quark masses reduces to κ = 1 2 (κq + κs ). which is motivated by the Higgs mechanism of mass generation. Indeed. one further needs to take into account the dependence in µ that can be described [204] by 0. 3.org/lrr-2011-2 . 15]. This allows one to get independent constraints on the independent time variation of Xe . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. A similar eﬀect between transistions with hyperﬁne-structures. such as.4 Future evolutions Further progresses in a near future are expected mainly through three types of developments: New systems : Many new systems with enhanced sensitivity [171.. or ultra-cold atom and molecule systems near the Feshbach resonances [98]. 0. 421] to some fundamental constants have recently been proposed. that is in terms of Xq = mq /ΛQCD and Xs = ms /ΛQCD . Xs and Xe . e. we have κCs = 0. For instance.087 −0. Other atomic systems are considered.1. it is a very promising framework. these constraints are model-dependent and. In such transitions. Using a chiral perturbation theory. κH = −0. It follows that δν/ν will be proportional to K = νhf /ν so that the sensitivity to αEM and µ can be enhanced for these particular transitions. κRb = −0. trapped. Xq and αEM . which still needs to be developed and the accuracy of which must be quantiﬁed in detail. For instance. it can vary from 0. down and strange quarks. assuming ΛQCD constant.009 for the cesium according to whether one includes only valence nucleon. νfs ∼ (ZαEM )2 R∞ c.118 0.037 0. 200. that −0. Table III of [210] compares the values of the sensitivity κ when diﬀerent nuclear eﬀects are considered. Both coeﬃcients can be computed. 199.livingreviews. non-valence non-nucleon or eﬀect of the quark mass on the spin-spin interaction.10. 202. so that for a hyperﬁne transition 2+κα κq κs νhfs ∝ αEM Xq Xs µ ¯. for which the sensitivity to αEM can reach 600 for instance for 139 La32 S or silicon monobrid [42] that allows one to constrain αEM µ ¯−1/4 .g.

72% today and to the 3 – 5% enrichment used in most commercial reactors).68% of the total uranium (compared with 0. However. Atomic clocks in space (ACES) : An improvement of at least an order of magnitude on current constraints can be achieved in space with the PHARAO/ACES project [433.5 Ö 105 yr) and zone RZ10 (about 13 bore-holes. hence on hypothesis on a uniﬁcation scheme as well as nuclear physics. The existence of such a natural reactor was predicted by P. can set a constraint on its spatial variation of the order of 10–9 [433. Besides.. a spontaneous chain reaction could take place in rich uranium deposits. Sixteen natural uranium reactors have been identiﬁed.34 Jean-Philippe Uzan Nuclear transitions. 547]. Using a Walecka model for the nuclear potential. 650 kg of 235 U ﬁssioned during 1. This phenomenon was discovered by the French Commissariat ` a l’Energie Atomique in 1972 while monitoring for uranium ores [382]. [509] for more ´ details). The accuracy and the robustness of these steps need to be determined. two billion years ago. are also under consideration. About 1. was low. Such a method is promising and would oﬀer diﬀerent sensitivities to systematic eﬀects compared to atomic clocks. by taking the dependence in the nuclear radius [154]. e. Indeed. e.livingreviews.1 The Oklo phenomenon A natural nuclear reactor Oklo is the name of a town in the Gabon republic (West Africa) where an open-pit uranium mine is situated.g. ω αEM Xq Xs which roughly provides a ﬁve order of magnitude ampliﬁcation. 247]. such as an optical clock based on a very narrow ultraviolet nuclear transition between the ground and ﬁrst excited states in the 229 Th.2. It aims at achieving time and frequency transfer with stability better than 10–16 .8 Ö 109 yr ago (corresponding to a redshift of ∼ 0. Kuroda [303] who showed that under favorable conditions. (2) water played the role of moderator (the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 1800 kg of 235 U ﬁssioned during 8..14 with the cosmological concordance model). consumed a portion of its fuel and then shut a few million years later (see. in particular.6 Ö 105 yr). Well studied reactors include the zone RZ2 (about 60 bore-holes. 444] of the European Spatial Agency. It could test the constancy of the ﬁne-structure constant along the satellite worldline. a natural nuclear reactor went critical.g. which. Theoretical developments : We remind one more time that the interpretation of the experiments requires a good theoretical understanding of the systems but also that the constraints we draw on the fundamental constants such as the quark masses are conditional to our theoretical modeling. PHARAO (Projet d’Horloge Atomique par Refroidissement d’Atomes en Orbite) combines laser cooling techniques and a microgravity environment in a satellite orbit. 3. which can lead to a constraint at the level of 10–24 /yr on the time variation of Xq . uranium was naturally enriched (due to the diﬀerence of decay rate between 235 U and 238 U) and 235 U represented about 3. in Oklo the conditions were favorable: (1) the concentration of neutron absorbers. The SAGAS (Search for anomalous gravitation using atomic sensor) project aims at ﬂying highly sensitive optical atomic clocks and cold atom accelerometers on a solar system trajectory on a time scale of 10 years.2 3.org/lrr-2011-2 . this sensitivity is not clearly established since diﬀerent nuclear calculations do not agree [46. which prevent the neutrons from being available for the chain ﬁssion. it was concluded [199] that the sensitivity of the transition to the ﬁne-structure constant and quark mass was typically (︂ )︂ δω δαEM δXq δXs ∼ 105 4 + − 10 . in one of the rich vein of uranium ore.

A choice has to be made on the sample to use. which involve a model of the nucleus. This requires one to solve a network of nuclear reactions describing the ﬁssion.. From these data. in particular.02 in Oklo ores. the strong neutron absorbers 151 155 155 like 149 62 Sm. which again depends on the assumptions on the neutron spectrum. one can deduce the eﬀective value of the cross sections of neutron absorbers (such as samarium and gadolinium). 63 Eu. 64 Gd and 64 Gd are found in very small quantities in the reactor. In conclusion. 147 One of the key quantity measured is the ratio 149 62 Sm/62 Sm of two light isotopes of samarium. which all involve assumptions: Isotopic compositions and geophysical parameters are measured in a given set of bore-hold in each zone. neodynium. such as uranium. σ ˆ149 . One can then infer the value of the resonance energy Er . First. From the isotopic abundances of the yields. This ratio of order of 0. It is estimated that the Oklo reactor powered 10 to 50 kW. which are not ﬁssion products. e. His argument can be summarized as follows. to ensure that they are not contaminated. one deduces the value of the averaged value of the cross section on the neutron ﬂux. This explanation is backed up by the substantial depletion of 235 U as well as a correlated peculiar distribution of some rare-earth isotopes. With hypothesis on the geometry of the reactor. These rare-earth isotopes are abundantly produced during the ﬁssion of uranium and. Gravitation and Cosmology 35 zones RZ2 and RZ10 operated at a depth of several thousand meters. the cross section σ(n. so that the water pressure and temperature was close to the pressurized water reactors of 20 Mpa and 300) and slowed down fast neutrons so that they can interact with other 235 U and (3) the reactor was large enough so that the neutrons did not escape faster than they were produced. gadolinium and samarium. Er was related to some fundamental constant. is about 0.3 meV. This step involves an assumption on the form and temperature of the neutron spectrum. This low value is interpreted [465] by the depletion of 149 62 Sm by thermal neutrons produced by the ﬁssion process and to which it was exposed while the reactor was active. one can extract information about the nuclear reactions at the time the reactor was operational and reconstruct the reaction rates at that time. The range of allowed value of σ ˆ149 was translated into a constraint on Er . on the spectrum and temperature of the neutron ﬂux. The existence of this resonance is a consequence of an almost cancellation between the electromagnetic repulsive force and the strong interaction. This value depends on hypothesis on the geometry of the reactor zone.9 in normal samarium.org/lrr-2011-2 . Gadolinium and neodium allow to determine the ﬂuence (integrated ﬂux over time) of the neutron while both gadolinium and samarium are strong neutron absorbers. Shlyakhter [465] pointed out that this phenomenon can be used to set a constraint on the time variation of fundamental constants.1 eV (Er = 97. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.g. Geochemical data allow to determine the isotopic composition of various element. in order.3 meV today).Varying Constants. we have diﬀerent steps.γ ) strongly depends on the energy of a resonance at Er = 97. The capture cross section of thermal neutron by 149 62 Sm 150 n + 149 62 Sm −→ 62 Sm + γ (38) is dominated by a capture resonance of a neutron of energy of about 0.livingreviews.

T )v dv. which involves a model of the nucleus and high energy physics hypothesis. whatever the distribution n(v ). since σ ¯φ = σ ˆφ Extracting the eﬀective cross section from the data. which allow only to measure its value averaged on the neutron ﬂux n(v. As explained in the previous Section 3. and of the compound nucleus J . The total width Γ ≡ Γn +√ Γγ is the sum of the neutron partial width Γn = 0. the reaction rates are not aﬀected by these deﬁnitions. T )v dv. the eﬀective neutron ﬂux deﬁned ∫︁ ˆ = v0 n(v. 3. σ ˆ = σ0 and does not depend on the temperature. T )v dv When the cross section behaves as σ = σ0 v0 /v . which is the case for nuclei known as “1/v absorbers”. this cross section cannot be measured from the Oklo data.1.36 Jean-Philippe Uzan Er needs to be related to fundamental constant. Γγ = 108 meV and g = 5/8 while 157 64 Gd has a resonance at Er = 31.γ ) (E ) = g0 π 2 Γn Γγ 2 mn E (E − Er )2 + Γ2 /4 (39) where g0 ≡ (2J + 1)(2s + 1)−1 (2I + 1)−1 is a statistical factor.3 meV and v = 2E/mn .livingreviews. Γγ = 106 meV and g = 5/8. However. we need to solve the nuclear reaction network that controls the isotopic composition during the ﬁssion.2 Constraining the shift of the resonance energy Cross sections.8 meV with Γn = 0.γ ) n(v.3 meV and it scales as E in the center of mass) and of the radiative partial width Γγ = 60. T being the temperature of the moderator. T )v dv ∫︀ σ ¯= . ∫︀ ˆdt of The samples of the Oklo reactors were exposed [382] to an integrated eﬀective ﬂuence φ −1 21 −2 about 10 neutron · cm = 1 kb . we have g0 = 9/16. (40) σ ˆ= nv0 √︀ where the velocity v0 = 2200 m · s−1 corresponds to an energy E0 = 25.104 meV. n(v. as well as by 64 Gd and 64 Gd. the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. ˆ.2. the ﬁssion of 92 U.γ ) n(v. of the target nucleus I . 155 64 Gd has a resonance at Er = 26. φ (41) which diﬀers from the true ﬂux φ= ∫︁ n(v. On the other hand. We shall now detail the assumptions used in the various analyses that have been performed since the pioneering work of [465]. instead of ∫︀ σ(n.org/lrr-2011-2 . It is conventionally deﬁned as ∫︁ 1 σ(n. The cross section of the neutron capture (38) strongly depends on the energy of a resonance at Er = 97.470 meV. For the reaction (38). T )dv.5 meV. T ).533 meV (at Er = 97. To “measure” the value of σ ˆ from the Oklo data. This includes neutron capture 148 155 157 235 by 144 62 Sm and 62 Sm. In a similar way.3 meV and is well described by the Breit–Wigner formula σ(n.2. It implies that any process with a cross section smaller than 1 kb can safely be neglected in the computation of the abundances. which depends on the spin of the incident neutron s = 1/2.4 meV with Γn = 0.

234] diﬀer from the choice of the data. While most studies focus on the samarium.0 ± 6.3 kb and σ149 ≥ 70 kb are the dominant processes. 239 capture but also the formation from the α-decay of 94 Pu.75 ± 11. It follows that the equations of evolution for the 148 149 235 number densities N147 . another approach [416.8 ∆Er (meV) 0 ± 20 –1.6 kb.5 ± 10.15 Ref. They are given for a given zone (RZ2.livingreviews.g. SC39-1383 means that we are dealing with the bore-hole number 39 at a depth of 13. in Table 2 of [123].org/lrr-2011-2 . At this step. Gravitation and Cosmology 37 Table 8: Summary of the analysis of the Oklo data.5 – – 7.5 4 ± 16 –97 ± 8 −45+7 −15 –5. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Recently. RZ10 mainly) with a number that correspond to the number of the bore-hole and the depth (e.8 90. [220] also includes the gadolinium even though it is not clear whether it can reliably be measured [123]. N148 . 220. one can deduce the eﬀective cross section. By comparing the solution of this system with the measured isotopic composition.83 m). Ore ? RZ2 (15) RZ10 RZ10 – RZ2 RZ2 RZ10 RZ2+RZ10 RZ2+RZ10 neutron spectrum Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell + + + + epithermal epithermal epithermal epithermal Temperature (◦ C) 20 180 – 700 200 – 400 327 200 – 300 200 – 300 σ ˆ149 (kb) 55 ± 8 75 ± 18 91 ± 6 91 ± 6 73. 415. The principal assumptions to infer the value of the resonance energy Er are the form of the neutron spectrum and its temperature. One can instead extend the system 235 by considering 239 94 Pu. It relies on a full-scale Monte-Carlo simulation and a computer model of the reactor zone RZ2 [416] and both RZ2 and RZ10 [234] and allows to take into account the spatial distribution of the neutron ﬂux.. [465] [123] [220] [220] [305] [416] [234] [234] [234] [234] 149 capture of neutron by 143 60 Nd and by 62 Sm with respective cross sections σ5 ≃ 0. the system has been closed by ∗ introducing a modiﬁed absorption cross section [123] σ5 to take into account both the ﬁssion. σ143 ∼ 0.5 ± 10. 62 Sm and 92 U takes the form dN147 = −σ ˆ147 N147 + σ ˆf 235 y147 N235 ˆdt φ dN148 =σ ˆ147 N147 ˆdt φ dN149 = −σ ˆ149 N149 + σ ˆf 235 y149 N235 ˆdt φ dN235 = −σ5 N235 .4 71. Here. N149 and N235 of 147 62 Sm. the diﬀerent analyses [465.0 85. 123. ˆdt φ (42) (43) (44) (45) where yi denotes the yield of the corresponding element in the ﬁssion of 235 ˆ5 is the ﬁssion 92 U and σ cross section. The measured values of σ ˆ149 can be found in these articles. 62 Sm. They give similar results. 305.Varying Constants.2 ± 9. 234] was proposed in order to take into account of the geometry and details of the reactor. and 92 U (see [234]).5 ± 67. 416.2 ± 18. This system can be integrated under the assumption that the cross sections and the neutron ﬂux are constant and the result compared with the natural abundances of the samarium to extract the value of σ ˆ149 at the time of the reaction.

Note that the analysis of [416] indicates that the curves σ ˆ (T. This shows the importance of a good determination of the temperature. which can be translated to |∆αEM /αEM | < 1. They respectively restricted the temperature range to 180◦ C < T < 700◦ C and ◦ 200 C < T < 400◦ C. 2 /v 2 for v > vc and vanishing otherwise. These hypothesis on the neutron spectrum and on the temperature. nth (v.livingreviews. with one (the left branch) indicating a variation of Er . But. the nucleus appears as a potential well with a depth V0 ≃ 50 MeV. [234] chooses to adjust it so that r0 matches the experimental values.3 From the resonance energy to fundamental constants The energy of the resonance depends a priori on many constants since the existence of such resonance is mainly the consequence of an almost cancellation between the electromagnetic repulsive force and the strong interaction. which is probably too small. (47) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.4◦ C. The advantage of the Maxwell distribution assumption is that it avoids to rely on a particular model of the Oklo reactor since the spectrum is determined solely by the temperature. He attributed the change of the resonance energy to a modiﬁcation of the strong interaction coupling constant and concluded that ∆gS /gS ∼ ∆Er /V0 . 3. 2πT was assumed for the neutron with a temperature of 20◦ C. arguing that the Coulomb force increases the average inter-nuclear distance by about 2. T ) is more peaked when T decreases but remain in any analysis at low temperature. as well as the constraint on the shift of the resonance energy. T ).2. the distribution was adjusted to include an epithermal distribution n(v ) = (1 − f )nth (v. the role of each constant is diﬃcult to disentangle. I is related to the resonance integral of the cross section and r0 is the Oklo reactor spectral index. Shlyakhter [465] stated that for the neutron. leading to |αEM ˙ /αEM | < 10−17 yr−1 .org/lrr-2011-2 . In his ﬁrst analysis. are summarized in Table 8. (46) where g (T ) is a measure of the departure of σ from the 1/v behavior. It characterizes the contribution of the epithermal neutrons to the cross section. he concluded that ∆αEM /αEM ∼ 20∆gS /gS . vc is a cut-oﬀ velocity that also needs to be with nepi = vc speciﬁed. 220] also assume a Maxwell distribution but let the moderator temperature vary so that they deduce an eﬀective cross section σ ˆ (Rr . Note that these two branches disappear when the temperature is higher since σ ˆ (Er . the neutron spectrum shifted to a 1/E tail because of the absorption of neutrons in uranium resonances. a Maxwell distribution.8 × 10−8 . It was then noted [305. Then 2 v0 is the mean velocity at a temperature T0 = mn v0 /2kB = 20. the most uncertain is probably the amount of water present at the time of the reaction. 416. In the earlier studies [465. Thus. Er ) lie appreciably lower than for a Maxwell distribution and that [220] argues that the left branch is hardly compatible with the gadolinium data. 415]. Among the unknown parameters. Then. To convert the constraint on the eﬀective cross section. based on geochemical analysis. 234] ﬁnd two branches for ∆Er = Er − Er0 . T ) = (︁ m )︁3/2 2 n − mv e 2kB T . [123. Many analyses [220. T ) + f nepi (v ). The eﬀective cross section can then be parameterized [234] as σ ˆ = g (T )σ0 + r0 I. 416] that above an energy of several eV.38 Jean-Philippe Uzan Determination of Er .5% for A ∼ 150. since no full analytical understanding of the energy levels of heavy nuclei is available. one needs to specify the neutron spectrum.

85 ± 5. they concluded that |∆αEM /αEM | < (2 − 8) × 10−10 . The more recent analysis. 467. inspired by grand uniﬁcation model. This tight constraint arises from the large ampliﬁcation between the resonance energy (∼ 0.7 × 10−17 yr−1 < αEM ˙ /αEM < 5. based on a modiﬁcation of the neutron spectrum lead respectively to [416] ∆αEM /αEM = (3.1 eV) and the sensitivity (∼ 1 MeV).1 MeV.36 ± 1. they estimate that the nuclear Hamiltonian was proportional to mq /ΛQCD at lowest order. Damour and Dyson [123] related the variation of Er to the ﬁne-structure constant by taking into account that the radiative capture of the neutron by 149 62 Sm corresponds to the existence of an ∗ excited quantum state of 150 62 Sm (so that Er = E150 − E149 − mn ) and by assuming that the nuclear energy is independent of αEM .org/lrr-2011-2 .75) × 10−8 .3 for details). It follows from this analysis that αEM ∆Er ≃ −1.livingreviews. 212] related the variation of the resonance energy to the quark mass. corresponding to the range −6. found the favored result αEM ˙ /αEM = (−0.8) × 10−17 yr−1 .44) × 10−8 (50) and the other branch (indicating a variation. It follows that the variation of αEM can be related to the diﬀerence of the Coulomb binding energy of these two states. In particular this analysis [123] showed that the Bethe–Weiz¨ acker formula overestimates by about a factor the 2 the αEM -sensitivity to the resonance energy. The re-analysis of these data and also including the data of [220] with gadolinium. assuming that αEM ∝ m50 q on the basis of grand uniﬁcation (see Section 6.9 ± 0.).2 × 10−7 (49) at 2σ level. The computation of this latter quantity is diﬃcult and must be related to the mean-square radii of the protons in the isotopes of samarium. which determine the binding energy of the heavy nuclei was derived. ⃒ ΛQCD ⃒ Then. [207. Their ﬁrst estimate [207] assumes that it is related to the pion mass.65) × 10−8 (51) and [234] ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.65 ± 1.9 × 10−7 < ∆αEM /αEM < 1. (52) at a 95% conﬁdence level. the over-riding scale dependence of the terms. which allows to estimate that the energy of the resonance is related to the quark mass by (︂ )︂ ∆E r mq 17 ∼ (2. once combined with the constraint on ∆Er . Working within the Fermi gas model. ∆αEM (48) which. . (54) Similarly.0 × 10−17 yr−1 if αEM ˙ is assumed constant. Parameterizing the mass of the hadrons as mi ∝ ΛQCD (1 + κi mq /ΛQCD + . [399]. mπ . Gravitation and Cosmology 39 The following analysis focused on the ﬁne-structure constant and ignored the strong interaction.2 ± 0.4) × 10−17 yr−1 . . both using the formalism of [123]. and that the main variation Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. see Table 8) leads to αEM ˙ /αEM = (4.Varying Constants. (53) Er ΛQCD Using the constraint (48).5 − 10) × 10 ∆ ln . implies − 0. they ﬁrst deduced that ⃒ )︂⃒ (︂ ⃒ mq ⃒ ⃒∆ ln ⃒ < (1 − 4) × 10−8 . This non-zero result cannot be eliminated. reconsider the analysis of [123] by letting all gauge and Yukawa couplings vary. Olive et al. which corresponds to ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.

The constraint (48) then implies that ⃒ )︂⃒ (︂ ⃒ ⃒ ms ⃒ < 1. the Oklo data.org/lrr-2011-2 .livingreviews.5 the potential well can be related to the variation of mσ and mω and thus on mq by V ∝ mq . particularly to understand the existence of the left-branch. it was concluded [208] that the resonance energy scales as ∆Er ≃ 10(∆ ln Xq − 0. so that δR δmπ δEr ∼ −2V0 ∼ 3 × 108 . while being stringent and consistent with no variation. While a better understanding of nuclear physics is necessary to understand the full constant-dependence.15 mass ms of the strange quark to get mσ ∝ m0 and mω ∝ ms .40 Jean-Philippe Uzan arises from the variation of the radius R ∼ 5fm + 1/mπ of the nuclear potential well of depth V0 . R mπ assuming that R ≃ 1. 3. The second problem concerns modeling nuclear forces in terms of the hadronic parameters. It follows that [︁ ]︁ NX (t) = NX ∗ e−λ(t−t∗ ) .43. have to be considered carefully. It follows that the variation of s −3. r0 being the inter-nucleon distance. The sensitivity of the decay rate of a nucleus to a change of the ﬁne-structure constant is deﬁned. Their masses was related to the . 0.54 0. it can be compared with the shallow universe quasar constraints. which keeps only the σ (scalar) and ω (vector) exchanges in the eﬀective nuclear force. Assume some meteorites containing an isotope X that decays into Y are formed at a time t∗ . so that the the constraints from [416] would imply that ∆ ln(Xq /αEM In conclusion.1∆ ln αEM ). A small variation of the fundamental constants can either stabilize or destabilize certain isotopes so that one can extract bounds on the time variation of their lifetime by comparing laboratory data to geophysical and solar system probes. the nuclear potential was described by a Walecka model. corresponding to a mean redshift of z ∼ 0. Interestingly. t ∼ (4 – 5) Gyr. Then. the sensitivity sα maybe strongly enhanced. these last results illustrate that a detailed theoretical analysis and quantitative estimates of the nuclear physics (and QCD) aspects of the resonance shift still remain to be carried out.1 ) < 7 × 10−9 . ∂ ln αEM (55) λ is a function of the decay energy Q. At present. This method was initially pointed out by Wilkinson [539] and then revived by Dyson [168]. The main idea is to extract the αEM -dependence of the decay rate and to use geological samples to bound its time variation. in [467]. the data themselves require more insight. mainly due to an accidental cancellation between diﬀerent contributions to the nuclear binding energy.2A1/3 r0 . When Q is small.3 Meteorite dating Long-lived α. ⃒∆ ln ⃒ ΛQCD ⃒ By extrapolating from light nuclei where the N -body calculations can be performed more accurately. in a similar way as for atomic clocks [Equation (23)]. NY (t) = NX ∗ 1 − e−λ(t−t∗ ) + NY ∗ (56) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the interface between the perturbative QCD description and the description in term of hadron is not fully understand: we do not know the exact dependence of hadronic masses and coupling constant on ΛQCD and quark masses. In particular.2 × 10−10 .or β -decay isotopes may be sensitive probes of the variation of fundamental constants on geological times ranging typically to the age of the solar system. as sα ≡ ∂ ln λ .

It follows that α-particle escapes with a greater energy but at the same energy below the top of the barrier. Z + 2) with Bα = B (4. It follows that the sensitivity to the ﬁne-structure constant is (︂ )︂ αEM 1 d ln Q sα ≃ −4πZ √︀ 1− . It is well approximated by (︁ c )︁ . the penetrability increases.3. Z ) of the diﬀerent nuclei by Q = B (A. This computation indeed neglects the eﬀect of a variation of αEM on the nucleus that can be estimated to be dilated by about 1% if αEM increases by 1%. Its order of magnitude can be estimated from the Bethe–Weiz¨ acker formula Z (Z − 1) αEM MeV. we can measure {NX (t0 ). (57) t 0 − t ∗ t∗ From a sample of meteorites.1 Long lived α-decays The α-decay rate. so that the data should lie on a line (since NX ∗ is a priori diﬀerent for each meteorite). 3. which can be obtained from the same analysis for an isotope with a small sensitivity sα .Varying Constants. To derive a bound on the variation of the constant we also need a good estimation of t0 − t∗ . Λ is a function that depends slowly on αEM and Q. As a ﬁrst insight. called an ¯ (t0 − t∗ ). A+4 Z +2 X 4 −→ A Z X + 2 He. as well as an accurate laboratory measurement of the decay rate. (60) 2 d ln αEM Q/2mp The decay energy is related to the nuclear binding energies B (A. (61) EEM = 98. 218] for explicit examples). Gravitation and Cosmology 41 if one assumes the decay rate constant. Physically. (58) is governed by the penetration of the Coulomb barrier that can be described by the Gamow theory. the slope of which determines λ an average measure of the decay rate.livingreviews. 2). one can estimate sα by varying only the Coulomb term of the binding energy. v ) exp −4πZαEM v √︀ where v/c = Q/2mp c2 is the escape velocity of the α particle. when focusing on the ﬁne-structure constant. Since the barrier becomes thiner at a given energy below its top. λ. an increase of αEM induces an increase in the height of the Coulomb barrier at the nuclear surface while the depth of the nuclear potential well below the top remains the same.org/lrr-2011-2 . NY (t0 )} for each meteorite. If it is varying then these relations have to be replaced by NX (t) = NX ∗ e ∫︀ t t∗ λ(t′ )dt′ so that the value of NX today can be interpreted with Equation (56) but with an eﬀective decay rate of ∫︁ t0 1 ¯= λ λ(t′ )dt′ . These two quantities are related by [︁ ]︁ ¯ NY (t0 ) = eλ(t0 −t∗ ) − 1 NX (t0 ) + NY ∗ . of a nucleus A Z X of charge Z and atomic number A. (59) λ ≃ Λ(αEM . It follows that meteorites data only provides “isochron”. Z ) + Bα − B (A + 4.25 A1/3 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. which complicates the interpretation of the constraints (see [219.

04 Ö 108 4. it was argued that 300 – 2000 λ ∝ Xq . Assuming that ∆λ147 /λ147 is smaller than the fractional uncertainty of 7. (62) This constraint was revised by Dyson [168] who claimed that the decay rate has not changed by more than 20%.2 Long lived β -decays Dicke [150] stressed that the comparison of the rubidium-strontium and potassium-argon dating methods to uranium and thorium rates constrains the variation of αEM . 235 U and 232 Th have not changed by more than a factor 3 or 4 during the last 3 – 4 × 109 years from which it follows |∆αEM /αEM | < 8 × 10−3 .08 Ö 1014 3 Ö 106 6.06 Ö 10 1.g.org/lrr-2011-2 . Wilkinson [539] considered the most favorable case.310 2. By comparing the geological dating of the Earth by diﬀerent methods. with the sensitivities derived from a semiempirical analysis for a spherical nucleus [399].livingreviews. p+ = ℓ + 3 and p− = 2ℓ + 2 are the degrees of Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. we can use a non-relativistic approximation for the decay rate λ = Λ± Qp± (65) respectively for β − -decay and electron capture.5 Ö 1011 1. the eﬀect of other constants has not been investigated in depth.204 2. 3. it was suggested [399] to consider 147 Sm.678 4. As long as long-lived β -decay isotopes are concerned for which the decay energy Q is small.270 sα 774 890 575 659 571 466 548 Table 9 summarizes the most sensitive isotopes. The sensitivities of all the nuclei of Table 9 are similar. Therefore. It is also used to calibrate the age of the meteorites.42 Jean-Philippe Uzan Table 9: Summary of the main nuclei and their physical properties that have been used in α-decay studies. Λ± are functions that depend smoothly on αEM and which can thus be considered constant.41 Ö 1010 7.3.47 Ö 109 11 Q (MeV) 2. so that the best constraint on the time variation of the ﬁne-structure constant will be given by the nuclei with the smaller ∆λ/λ. (63) Uranium has a short lifetime so that it cannot be used to set constraints on longer time scales. during the past 2 × 109 years. he concluded that the decay constant λ of 238 U. Element Sm Gd Dy Pt Th U U Z 62 64 66 78 90 92 92 A 147 152 154 190 232 235 238 Lifetime (yr) 1. for 238 U. (64) As for the Oklo phenomena.082 4. in the same way as for Equation (53). one would obtain sα = 540 instead of sα = 548). which implies |∆αEM /αEM | < 4 × 10−4 .249 4. which leads to |∆ ln Xq | 10−5 .5 × 10−3 of its half-life |∆αEM /αEM | ×10−5 . They are in good agreement with the ones derived from Equation (61) (e.. Taking into account the contribution of the quark masses. It is clear that at lowest order both Q and mp scales as ΛQCD so that one needs to go beyond such a simple description to determine the dependence in the quark masses. that is the decay of 238 92 U for which sα = 548 (see Table 9). In a grand unify framework.947 3. that could lead to a constraint of the order of |∆ ln αEM | 2 × 10−7 .

to a β -decay may lead to interesting constraints.A.2) × 10−11 yr−1 ). the Re/Os ratio is inferred from iron meteorites the age of which is not determined directly.6 keV makes it a very sensitive probe of the variation of αEM . Gravitation and Cosmology 43 forbiddenness of √︀ the transition. the exponent p 2 Z 2 and is independent of ℓ. but the laboratory measurement were complicated by many technical issues so that Dyson only considered a conservative upper limit. Models of formation of the solar system tend to show that iron meteorites and angrite meteorites form within the same 5 million years. It follows that the sensitivity to a variation becomes p = 2 + 1 − αEM of the ﬁne-structure constant is d ln Q sα = p . following the same lines as for α-decay.5%.1 ± 0.639 ± 0. however. Fortunately. a change of 10−2 % of αEM will induce a change in the decay energy of order of the keV. We refer to Section III. Thus. The slope of the isochron was determined with a precision of 0.009) × 10−11 yr−1 . it is safe to neglect its eﬀect. in which case only the dependence on the other constants appear again through the nuclear binding energy. (︂ )︂ 20 MeV ∆αEM ∆Q ∆αEM ∆λ187 =p ≃p ∼ −2. he concluded that |∆αEM /αEM | < 9 × 10−4 during the past 3 × 109 years. (66) d ln αEM The second factor can be estimated exactly as for α-decay.8 so that sα ≃ −18000.025) × 10−11 yr−1 ). which gives 4. Note. We note that Λ± depends on the 5 p Fermi constant and on the mass of the electron as Λ± ∝ G2 F me Q .3) × 10−11 yr−1 ) and laboratory measurements of the decay rate (λ187 = (1.4 of FVC [500] for earlier constraints derived from rubidium-strontium. Assuming that the variation of the decay energy comes entirely from the variation of αEM . ∆ ln λ187 ≃ 104 ∆ ln[αEM Xq (Xd − Xu )0. A similar analysis [147] leads to −2. For high-Z nuclei with small decay energy Q.Varying Constants.058 ]. Dyson [167] compared the isotopic analysis of molybdenite ores (λ187 = (1. the meteoritic ages are determined mainly by 238 U dating so that eﬀectively we have a constraint on the variation of λ187 /λ238 .2 −1. the variation of the decay rate is not Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. However. In that case p ≃ 2. since the sensitivity of 238 U is much smaller than the one of the rhenium. The modelization and the computation of sα were improved in [399].9 −0. that comparing a α. that is of the order of the decay energy itself.23 Xe The dramatic improvement in the meteoric analysis of the Re/Os ratio [468] led to a recent reanalysis of the constraints on the fundamental constants. we could adopt [399] ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ ∆λ187 ⃒ −3 ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ λ187 ⃒ < 5 × 10 . Note that the discrepancy between meteorite and lab data could have been interpreted as a time-variation of αEM .666 ± 0. potassium-argon and we focus on the rhenium-osmium case.1) × 10−11 yr−1 ). 187 75 Re −→ 187 ¯e + e− 76 Os + ν (67) ﬁrst considered by Peebles and Dicke [406].2 × 104 λ187 Q Q αEM αEM if one considers only the variation of the Coulomb energy in Q. the isotopic analysis of 14 iron meteorites (λ187 = (1.org/lrr-2011-2 . However. Peebles and Dicke [406] did not have reliable laboratory determination of the decay rate to put any constraint.4 ± 0.6 ± 0. Using the recent laboratory measurement [333] (λ187 = (−1. The age of the latter can be estimated from the 207 Pb-208 Pb method. They noted that the very small value of its decay energy Q = 2.558 Gyr [337] so that λ187 = (1.livingreviews. This dependence is the same for any β -decay so that it will disappear in the comparison of two dating methods relying on two diﬀerent β -decay isotopes.

one cannot use a single transition compared to its laboratory value since the expansion of the universe induces a global redshifting of all spectra.and β . one should resort on various transitions and look for chromatic eﬀects that can indeed not be reproduce by the expansion of the universe. the dependencies in the other constants. 3. To achieve such a test. Xq . that it is to paleo-spectra. .decay processes and. 218]. It was shown that well-designed time dependence for λ can obviate this limit. As pointed out in [219. on a typical time scale of 5 Gyr (or equivalently a redshift of order z ∼ 0. 3. GF .3 Conclusions Meteorites data allow to set constraints on the variation of the fundamental constants. 271].org/lrr-2011-2 . This implies in particular that the redshift at which rate λ one should consider this constraint depends on the speciﬁc functional dependence λ(t).3.44 Jean-Philippe Uzan given by the dispersion of the meteoritic measurement. However. The analysis of Ref. For general introduction to these observations. ω0 is the energy measured today in the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. so that ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ ∆λ187 ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ (68) ⃒ λ187 ⃒ = −0. . require a nuclear model and remain very model-dependent. µ.016 ± 0.2). deduced that ∆αEM /αEM = (−8 ± 16) × 10−7 . as for the Oklo phenomenon. The method was ﬁrst used by Savedoﬀ [447] who constrained the time variation of the ﬁne-structure constraint from the doublet separations seen in galaxy emission spectra. Similar constraints can also bet set from spontaneous ﬁssion (see Section III. . the main diﬃculty concerns the dating of the meteorites and the interpretation of the eﬀective decay rate. the sensitivities can be computed mainly by considering the contribution of the Coulomb energy to the decay energy. [175.A. following the assumption of [399]. (70) (0) (0) αEM αEM in order to take into account the dependence of the spectra on the ﬁne-structure constant. one needs to understand the dependencies of diﬀerent types of transitions.4.4 3. which acts chromatically on all wavelengths. From an experimental point of view.016. these constraints really represents a bound on the average decay ¯ since the formation of the meteorites. but by comparing to its value today. that reduces to its contribution to the nuclear energy. we refer to [412. [400]. in a similar way as for atomic clock experiments. In order to tackle down a variation of the fundamental constants. due to the time average. that is at a redshift z . which are comparable to the ones set by the Oklo phenomenon. (69) at a 95% conﬁdence level.livingreviews. 474. ω is the energy in the rest-frame of the cloud.3 of FVC [500]) but this process is less well understood and less sensitive than the α. 169] suggested to use the convenient formulation (︃ (︃ )︃2 )︃4 α α EM EM ω = ω0 + q − 1 + q2 − 1 .1 Quasar absorption spectra Generalities Quasar (QSO) absorption lines provide a powerful probe of the variation of fundamental constants. Absorption lines in intervening clouds along the line of sight of the QSO give access to the spectra of the atoms present in the cloud. As long as we only consider αEM . Indeed.

the relativistic correction will be of opposite signs). Fe and Ni due to their more complicated electronic conﬁgurations. This is the case of Mg ii. The alkali doublet method (AD) focuses on the ﬁne-structure doublet of alkali atoms. We refer to [175. The coeﬃcient q is typically an order of magnitude larger than q2 so that the possibility to constrain a variation of the ﬁne-structure constant is mainly determined by q . From [367] The shift between two lines is easier to measure when the diﬀerence between the q -coeﬃcients of the two lines is large. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.livingreviews. which occurs. The uncertainty in q are typically smaller than 30 cm–1 for Mg. These coeﬃcients were computed for a large set of transitions. Even though these are reasonable assumptions. The accuracy for ω0 from dedicated laboratory measurements now reach 0.004 cm−1 . which can be used as an anchor. As can be seen on Figure 3. i. some transitions are almost insensitive to a variation of αEM . It is important to stress that the form (70) ensures that errors in the q -coeﬃcients cannot lead to a non zero detection of ∆αEM .org/lrr-2011-2 . 14] for an extensive discussion of the computational methods and a list of the q -coeﬃcients for various transitions relevant for both quasar spectra and atomic clock experiments. one cannot completely rule out systematic biases that they could induce. 45. q and q2 are two coeﬃcients that determine the frequency dependence on a variation of αEM and that arise from the relativistic corrections for the transition under consideration. Many methods were developed to take this into account. the results of this method rely on two assumptions: (i) ionization and chemical homogeneity and (ii) isotopic abundance of Mg ii close to the terrestrial value. Gravitation and Cosmology 45 laboratory. e. Figure 3 summarizes some of these results. This latter eﬀect increases the sensitivity and strengthens the method against systematic errors. Al and Zn.Varying Constants. To obtain strong constraints one can either compare transitions of light atoms with those of heavy atoms (because the αEM dependence of the ground state scales as Z 2 ) or compare s − p and d − p transitions in heavy elements (in that case. The AD method completely avoids the assumption of homogeneity because. the two lines of the doublet must have the same proﬁle.. for two levels with large q of opposite sign. It was then generalized to the many-multiplet method (MM). However. Figure 3: Summary of the values of some coeﬃcients entering the parameterization (70) and necessary to interpret the QSO absorption spectra data. Si..g. ﬁrst using a relativistic Hartree–Fock method and then using manybody perturbation theory. a reference point. but much larger for Cr.e. by construction. which uses correlations between various transitions in diﬀerent atoms.

g. Fe iiλ1608 at z > 1) or on radio techniques since radio transitions arise from many diﬀerent physical eﬀects (hyperﬁne splitting and in particular H i 21 cm hyperﬁne transition. the ﬁt is usually not unique.. etc). MM. ¯ αEM 2 λ λ 0 z ∆ν ∝ where cr ∼ 1 is a number taking into account the relativistic corrections.g.org/lrr-2011-2 . masers allow to reach a frequency calibration better than roughly 10 m/s. For instance a change of αEM of order 10–5 corresponds a shift of at most 20 m˚ A for a redshift of z ∼ 2.livingreviews. Each of these components depends on several parameters including the redshift. Also the radio techniques oﬀer some advantages: (1) to reach high spectral resolution (< 1 km/s). e. Si iv at z > 1. gp and µ. This is not a problem when the lines are not saturated but it can increase the error on αEM by a factor 2 in the case of strongly saturated lines [91]. Another way to avoid the inﬂuence of small spectral shift due to ionization inhomogeneities within the absorber and due to possible non-zero oﬀset between diﬀerent exposures was to rely on diﬀerent transitions of a single ion in individual exposure. ∆ν/ν ¯ ∝ αEM so that the variation of the ﬁne structure constant at a redshift z can be obtained as )︂ [︂(︂ )︂ (︂ )︂ ]︂ (︂ cr ∆λ ∆λ ∆αEM (z ) = / ¯ −1 . In the latter case. there are several sources of uncertainty that hamper the measurement.4. SIDAM and it implies that they can be applied only above a given redshift. [109] for a discussion). This method has been called the Single ion diﬀerential alpha measurement method (SIDAM). (2) in general.2 Alkali doublet method (AD) The ﬁrst method used to set constraint on the time variation of the ﬁne-structure constant relies on ﬁne-structure doublets splitting for which 2 αEM Z 4 R∞ .g. More important. or to about a third of a pixel at a spectral resolution of R ∼ 40000. Using the formulation (70). These parameters are constrained assuming that the proﬁles are the same for all transitions. the column density and the width of the line (Doppler parameter) to which one now needs to add the constants that are assumed to be varying. as for atomic clocks. e. these techniques are complementary since systematic eﬀects are diﬀerent in optical and radio regimes. Most studies are based on optical techniques due to the profusion of strong UV transitions that are redshifted into the optical band (this includes AD. δq + 2δq2 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.5 km/s. Let us ﬁrst emphasize that the shifts in the absorption lines to be detected are extremely small.. This expression is indeed a simple approach of the alkali doublet since one should.. In particular. one can deduce that cr = δq + δq2 . 2 n3 2 It follows that the relative separation is proportional αEM . the sensitivity of the line position to a variation of a constant is higher.46 Jean-Philippe Uzan Indeed the AD method avoids the implicit assumption of the MM method that chemical and ionization inhomogeneities are negligible. (3) the isotopic lines are observed separately. Lambda-doubling. as achieved with Keck/HIRES or VLT/UVES. which is indeed a non-trivial assumption for transitions from diﬀerent species (this was one of the driving motivations to use the transition from a single species and of the SIDAM method). molecular rotation. the absorption lines have complex proﬁles (because they result from the propagation of photons through a highly inhomogeneous medium) that are ﬁtted using a combination of Voigt proﬁles. which would corresponds to a shift of order ∼ 0. take into account the relativistic corrections more precisely. As we shall discuss later. e.3. while in optical there is a blend with possible diﬀerential saturations (see. the line frequencies and their comparisons yield constraints on diﬀerent sets of fundamental constants including αEM . Thus. 3. alleviating in particular problems with line blending and the use of.

Note that combining this result with the previous one (71 in a weighted mean would lead to ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. Si iv. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. e. It relies on the combination of transitions from diﬀerent species.3) × 10−5 . Silicium has three naturally occurring isotopes with terrestrial abundances 28 Si:29 Si:30 Si = 92.46) × 10−5 .92. The method is based on a χ2 minimization of multiple component Voigt proﬁle ﬁts to the absorption features in the QSO spectra.org/lrr-2011-2 .g. Mg ii. O vi. hence providing good anchors) while others such as Fe ii are more sensitive. ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.19 < z < 1.09 so that each absorption line is a composite of absorption lines from the three isotopes.08. q = 766 (resp.g. 362) cm–1 and q2 = 48 (resp. and resolution R ∼ 45000. Gravitation and Cosmology 47 where the δq are the diﬀerences between the q -coeﬃcients for the doublet transitions. [91] analyzed 15 Si iv absorption systems selected from a ESO-UVES sample containing 31 systems (eliminating contaminated. The accuracy of the measurements depends on how well the absorption line proﬁles are modeled. 2. The ﬁt is carried out by simultaneously varying these parameters for each component. it was shown that this eﬀect of isotopic shifts [377] is negligible in the case of Si iv. This comparison increases the sensitivity compared with methods using only alkali doublets. The ﬁrst implementation [522] of the method was based on a measurement of the shift of the Fe ii (the rest wavelengths of which are very sensitive to αEM ) spectrum with respect to the one of Mg ii.. some transitions are fairly unsensitive to a change of the ﬁne-structure constant (e. [377] analyzed 21 Keck/HIRES Si iv absorption systems toward 8 quasars to obtain the weighted mean of the sample. Si ii.15 ± 0.56) × 10−5 in the range 1.59 < z < 3.8914. (73) This is less constraining than the two previous analyses. Several authors have applied the AD method to doublets of several species such as. C iv. In general such a proﬁle depends on three parameters. However..02 The analysis [349] of seven C iv systems and two Si iv systems in the direction of a single quasar. In particular. Two series of analyses were performed during the past ten years and lead to contradictory conclusions.33 < z < 3.4. –8) cm–1 for Si iv λ1393 (resp. Al iii. in particular a lower limit on the column density was ﬁxed so that both lines of the doublets are detected at more than 5σ ) to get the weighted mean.59 < z < 2.84.68:3. Murphy et al. It is now extended to include ∆αEM /αEM .3 Many multiplet method (MM) A generalization of the AD method. known as the many-mulptiplet was proposed in [176]. λ1402) so that cr = 0. 1. 1. We refer to Section III. 3. In this particular case. of order 60 – 80 per pixel. N v. the Doppler width (b) and the redshift.09 ± 8. mainly because the q -coeﬃcients are smaller for C iv (see [410] for the calibration of the laboratory spectra) One limitation may arise from the isotopic composition of silicium. Mg ii or Mg i.6.5 ± 1. as can be seen on Figure 3. (71) with a mean redshift of z = 2.04 ± 0. (72) The improvement of the constraint arises mainly from a better S/N ratio. obtained by the VLT-VES (during the science veriﬁcation) has led to ∆αEM /αEM = (−3. based on the Si iv doublet. Chand et al. saturated or very broad systems. The S/N ratio of these data is in the range 15 – 40 per pixel and the spectral resolution is R ∼ 34000.livingreviews. the column density N .Varying Constants.3 of FVC [500] for a summary of their results (see also [318]) and focus on the three most recent analysis.23:4.43) × 10−5 .

Hunting systematics.2 < z < 1.8 plus 18 damped Lyman-α absorption systems towards 13 QSO plus 21 Si iv absorption systems toward 13 QSO.39) × 10−5 . It was shown that. (5) Hyperﬁne splitting can induce a saturation similar to isotopic abundances. Mg i. The low-z (z < 1. later updated [367] to include 143 absorption systems. At high-z . S ii. This was the ﬁrst claim that a constant may have varied during the evolution of the universe. the Mg transitions are used as anchors against which the large positive shifts in the Fe ii can be measured. Al iii). this can. while this is no more the case for high redshift observations (hence emphasizing the complementarity of these observations). Al ii. with respectively 77 and 66 systems. (1) Errors in the determination of laboratory wavelengths to which the observations are compared.8 < z < 4. ﬂexures in the instrument are dealt with by recording a calibration lamp spectrum before and after the science exposure and the signal-to-noise and stability of the lamp is crucial (10) Instrumental eﬀects such as variations of the intrinsic instrument proﬁle have to be controlled. 524] of the initial sample and by including new optical QSO data to reach 28 absorption systems with redshift z = 0. 0. Al iii and Fe ii was also included. The most recent analysis [369] relies on 128 absorption spectra.53) × 10 −5 0. Usually quasar absorption systems are expected to have lower heavy element abundances. . Using 30 absorption systems toward 17 quasars.org/lrr-2011-2 .livingreviews. on average. The analysis for each sample give the weighted mean ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.17) × 10−5 . Zn ii. Cr ii.2. (6) The variation of the velocity of the Earth during the integration of a quasar spectrum can also induce diﬀerential Doppler shift. they obtained ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. (75) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 374] for the Keck/HIRES (see also [236]) as well as [534] for the VLT/UVES measurements. It was later conﬁrmed in a re-analysis [376. with most spectral regions with S/N∼ 30. (3) One has to ensure that there is no transition not blended by transitions of another system.8) and high-z rely on diﬀerent ions and transitions with very diﬀerent αEM dependencies. (9) Temperature variations during the observation will change the air refractive index in the spectrograph. In particular.88 ± 0.11) × 10−5 . This calibration is crucial and its quality is discussed in [368.6 < z < 1 1 < z < 1.48 Jean-Philippe Uzan Keck/HIRES data.5 – 1. mimic a negative ∆αEM /αEM .2.12) × 10−5 . Cr ii and Zn ii and Mg i.8 1. for low redshift observations. diﬀerent transitions are ﬁtted (Fe ii. (4) The diﬀerential isotopic saturation has to be controlled. (74) The resolution for most spectra was R ∼ 45000 and the S/N per pixel ranges from 4 to 240. The wavelength scale was calibrated by mean of a thoriumargon emission lamp. At low-z .2 < z < 4. (8) The presence of a magnetic ﬁeld will shift the energy levels by Zeeman eﬀect.74 ± 0. The MM-method was ﬁrst applied in [522] who analyzed one transition of the Mg ii doublet and ﬁve Fe ii transitions from three multiplets. The spatial inhomogeneity of these abundances may also play a role. Al ii. The two sub-samples respond diﬀerently to simple systematic errors due to their diﬀerent arrangement of q -coeﬃcients in wavelength space. ∆αEM /αEM = (−1.54 ± 0.57 ± 0. Ni ii. (2) While comparing wavelengths from diﬀerent atoms one has to take into account that they may be located in diﬀerent regions of the cloud with diﬀerent velocities and hence with diﬀerent Doppler shifts. 0. While performing this kind of observations a number of problems and systematic eﬀects have to be taken into account and controlled. (7) Atmospheric dispersion across the spectral direction of the spectrograph slit can stretch the spectrum. The more robust estimates is the weighted mean ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.6. ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. The analysis used mainly the multiplets of Ni ii.17 ± 0.

0. in direction of 18 QSO with a S/N ranging between 50 and 80 per pixel and a resolution R > 44000. even in each absorber. Gravitation and Cosmology 49 All these eﬀects have been discussed in detail in [374. contrary to this trend. VLT/UVES data. No direct measurement of rMg = (26 Mg + 25 Mg)/24 Mg in QSO absorber is currently feasible due to the small separation of the isotopic absorption lines. such modiﬁed nucleosynthetic history will lead to an overproduction of elements such as P. which in their asymptotic giant branch phase are the dominant factories for heavy Mg at low metallicities typical of QSO absorption systems. In order to avoid as much systematics as possible. It would require that rMg reaches 0. Care needs to be taken since the star formation history can be diﬀerent ine each region. P above current constraints [192]. as a possible explanation of the low-z Keck/HIRES observations without any variation of αEM . fulﬁlling the above criteria. they apply a series of selection criteria [90] on the systems used to constrain the time variation of the ﬁne-structure constant: (1) consider only lines with similar ionization potentials (Mg ii. 470] analyzed the observations of 23 absorption systems. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. This led Ashenfelter et al.6. It was also argued that 13 C is a tracer of 25 Mg and was shown to be low in the case of HE 0515-4414 [321]. However. The advantage of this choice is to reject most complex or degenerate systems. However. 376] to argue that none of them can explain the current detection. [18] that was tuned to avoid these problems.06 ± 0. Si ii and Al ii) as they are most likely to originate from similar regions in the cloud. [18] to propose a chemical evolution model with strongly enhanced population of intermediate (2 – 8 M⊙ ) stars.4 < z < 2. led another team to check this detection using observations from UVES spectrograph operating on the VLT.62. As we pointed out earlier. Refs. The previous results. They concluded that ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. and their importance for fundamental physics. In conclusion. Al. In standard models it should be near 0 at zero metallicity since type II supernovae are primarily producers of 24 Mg. on the basis of molecular absorption lines of MgH that rMg generally decreases with decreasing metallicity. Fe ii. Si. hence giving a 3σ constraint on a variation of αEM . and based on numerical simulations. it was shown [231]. one assumption of the method concerns the isotopic abundances of Mg ii that can aﬀect the low-z sample since any changes in the isotopic composition will alter the value of eﬀective rest-wavelengths. (5) reject strongly saturated systems with large velocity spread. it was found [552] that rMg can reach high values for some giant stars in the globular cluster NGC 6752 with metallicity [Fe/H]∼ −1. However. (4) demand than at least one of the anchor lines is not saturated to have a robust measurement of the redshift.3. This isotopic composition is assumed to be close to terrestrial 24 Mg:25 Mg:26 Mg = 79:10:11. This was recently complemented by a study on the calibration since adistortion of the wavelength scale could lead to a non-zero value of ∆αEM . compared to 0. The drawback is indeed that the analysis will be based on less systems.org/lrr-2011-2 . (3) consider only systems with hight enough column density to ensure that all the mutiplets are detected at more than 5σ .Varying Constants. The quality of the calibration is discussed in [368] and shown to have a negligible eﬀect on the measurements (a similar result has been obtained for the VLT/UVES data [534]). but this later model is not the same as the one of Ref. (2) avoid absorption lines contaminated by atmospheric lines.27 (but then the UVES/VLT constraints would be converted to a detection). so that one cannot a priori use the best-ﬁt obtained from the Keck data to the UVES/VLT data. no compelling evidence for a systematic eﬀect has been raised at the moment.livingreviews. [90. which could result in uncontrolled systematics eﬀects. (6) keep only systems for which the majority of the components are separated from the neighboring by more than the Doppler shift parameter.06) × 10−5 .

44 ± 0. An absolute uncertainty of ∆z ∼ 10−5 . they use data from a diﬀerent telescopes observing a diﬀerent (Southern/Northern) hemisphere. If ∆αEM ̸= 0 then there should exist a linear relation with a slope proportional to ∆αEM /αEM .15) × 10−5 . on the basis of Fe ii transition. 470] by means of the SIDAM method (see below) and disagree with some of them. Open controversy.livingreviews. They also claim that the errors quoted in [367] are underestimated by a factor 1.org/lrr-2011-2 . This discrepancy between VLT/UVES and Keck/Hires results is yet to be resolved. that is it is similar from exposure to exposure. The MM method was adapted to use a linear regression method [427].4 ± 1. claiming for a problem of calibration. We refer to [373] for a discussion on the Keck wavelength calibration error and [534] for the VLT/UVES as well as [86] for a discussion on the ThAr calibration. 371. 371. This needs to be conﬁrmed and investigated in more detail. corresponding to ∆λ ∼ 0. At the moment.15. it is argued [236] that this level of systematic uncertainty makes it diﬃcult to use the Keck/HIRES to constrain the time variation of αEM (at least for a single system or a small sample since the distortion pattern pertains to the echelle orders as they are recorded on the CDD. Regressional MM (RMM).7) × 10−6 that is obtained with the standard MM technique on the same data. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. [236] provides an analysis of the wavelength accuracy of the Keck/HIRES spectrograph. This exchange has enlightened some diﬀerences in the statistical analysis.3.1 ± 1. In particular. ∆αEM /αEM = (−0. Their conclusions do not agree. we have to face a situation in which two teams have performed two independent analyses based on data sets obtained by two instruments on two telescopes. z = 1.02 ˚ A with daily drift of ∆z ∼ 5 × 10−6 −5 and multiday drift of ∆z ∼ 2 × 10 . The main points that were raised are (1) the fact that some of the uncertainties on ∆αEM /αEM are smaller than a minimum uncertainty that they estimated and (2) the quality of the statistical analysis (in particular on the basis of the χ2 curves). using the same ﬁts to the absorption proﬁles. This is also consistent with the constraint (79) obtained on the same system with the HARPS spectrograph. (76) emphasizing that the errors are probably larger.5. On the basis of the articles [372. 370]. These arguments were responded in [471] The revision [471] of the VLT/UVES constraint rejects two more than 4σ deviant systems that were claimed to dominate the re-analysis [371. (77) compared to ∆αEM /αEM = (0.01 ± 0. since only one of them is claiming for a detection of a variation of the ﬁne-structure constant. While the cause of this drift remains unknown. 0.50 Jean-Philippe Uzan This analysis was challenged by Murphy. Webb and Flambaum [372. which diﬀers from the above cited value. Ref.3. 370] and concludes that ∆αEM /αEM = (0.7syst ) × 10−6 . 370] and the answer [471]. they claim to ﬁnd diﬀerent individual measurements of ∆αEM /αEM and a weighted mean. To ﬁnish. it is indeed diﬃcult (without having played with the data) to engage one of the parties. Using (quoting them) the same reduced data. On a single absorption system (VLT/UVES). let us mention that [361] reanalyzed some systems of [90.16) × 10−5 . 0. the eﬀect on ∆αEM /αEM for an ensemble of absorbers at diﬀerent redshifts would be random since the transitions fall in diﬀerent places with respect to the pattern of the disortion).4 < z < 2. The idea is to measure the redshift zi deduced from the transition i and plot zi as a function of the sensitivity coeﬃcient. they concluded that ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.9 ± 2.4 < z < 2.

1σ . On the other hand both teams have achieved an amazing work in order to understand and quantify all sources of systematics. 48]).Varying Constants.6 hours and declination −61 ± 9 deg (see also [50. This would indeed lead to an improvement in the robustness of these results. [359] for a discussion of the systematics of this analysis).61 ± 0. z = 1.8 = (−0. Indeed.67) × 10−6 . ∆αEM /αEM = (5.12) × 10−5 . that is of opposite sign with respect to the previous Keck/HIRES detection [367] (∆αEM /αEM )Keck. [523] concludes that the distribution of αEM is well represented by a spatial dipole. The ﬁrst analysis relies on the QSO HE 0515-4414 that was used in [427] to get the constraint (77). should hopefully set this observational issue. 361] is obtained from an absorption system toward Q 1101-264.6 m telescope at La Silla observatory [92]. z>1.8 = (−0.16) × 10−5 . This higher component exhibits a positive variation of αEM . (80) These constraints do not seem to be compatible with the results of the Keck/HIRES based on the MM method. Indeed a similar reverse analysis would also be appropriate. in agreement with the former study [471].4 Single ion diﬀerential measurement (SIDAM) This method [320] is an adaptation of the MM method in order to avoid the inﬂuence of small spectral shifts due to ionization inhomogeneities within the absorbers as well as to non-zero oﬀsets between diﬀerent exposures.54 ± 0. which can aﬀect these constraints is the relative shift of the wavelength calibration in the blue and the red arms of UVES where the distant Fe lines are recorded simultaneously (see. R ∼ 112000.15. A potential systematic uncertainty. it is appropriate that one team has reanalyzed the data of the other and challenged its analysis. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. in the direction right ascension 17. z<1. A recent data [523] set of 60 quasar spectra (yielding 153 absorption systems) for the VLT was used and split at z = 1. It was pointed out that the Keck/HIRES and VLT/UVES observations can be made consistent in the case the ﬁne structure constant is spatially varying [523]. one can note that they do not correspond to the same hemisphere and invoke a spatial variation. It was mainly used with Fe ii. 3. as well as the new techniques.g. Since it relies on a single ion.8 = (+0. z = 1. z = 1. z<1. This emphasizes the diﬃculty in comparing diﬀerent data sets and shows that the constraints can easily be combined as long as they are compatible with no variation but one must care about a possible spatial variation otherwise.4) × 10−6 . The HARPS spectrograph has a higher resolution that UVES.79) × 10−6 . The same system was studied independently. Gravitation and Cosmology 51 On the one hand. which are appearing. while at higher redshift (∆αEM /αEM )VLT z>1.8 to get (∆αEM /αEM )VLT. it is unfortunately premature to choose one data set compared to the other. e. it is less sensitive to isotopic abundances.12 ± 1. (∆αEM /αEM )Keck.4. (79) The second constraint [325.livingreviews. (78) at 1σ .8 = (−0.org/lrr-2011-2 . Both developments..84.15. which provides transitions with positive and negative q -coeﬃcients (see Figure 3). An independent analysis [361] of the same system gave a weighted mean ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.5 ± 2. and in particular not sensitive to the one of Mg. Today.3 ± 0. using the HARPS spectrograph mounted on the 3. Observations based on Fe ii with a S/N of about 30 – 40 per pixel set the constraint ∆αEM /αEM = (0.20) × 10−5 .06 ± 0.17) × 10−5 .74 ± 0.66 ± 2. signiﬁcant at 4.

8 ± 1. The recent detection of 21 cm and molecular hydrogen absorption lines in the same damped Lyman-α system at zabs = 3.livingreviews. ∆x/x = (0. [411] also mentioned that 4 systems at z = 1. as ﬁrst performed in [548] in z ∼ 0. molecular transitions: y ≡ gp α2 EM 2 The H i 21 cm hyperﬁne transition frequency is proportional to gp µ−1 αEM R∞ (see Section 3.52 Jean-Philippe Uzan 3.35. 2 since the hyperﬁne transition is proportional to αEM gp µ−1 R∞ while optical transitions are simply proportional to R∞ .org/lrr-2011-2 ..6 towards Q0458-020 and Q2337-011.5 H i-21 cm vs. the error analysis of [494] tries to estimate the eﬀect of the assumption that the strongest absorption arises in the same component.7 × 10−6 .174 towards SDSS J1337+3152 constrains [472] the variation x to ∆x/x = −(1.68) × 10−5 . hence emphasizing this limitation. this measurement is inconsistent with claims of a smaller value of αEM from the many-multiplet method.7) × 10−6 . as the H2 column density was low.94) × 10−5 . we note that the systems lie in two widely-separated ranges and that the two samples have completely diﬀerent scatter.6 H i vs.4 – 1.63 ± 0.174. Therefore. Using 9 absorption systems.58 ± 1. ∆µ/µ < 4 × 10−4 .02 ± 1. using the existing constraints on ∆µ/µ. of Si ii. It follows that constraints on the time variation of x can be obtained from high resolution 21 cm spectra compared to UV lines. the rotational transition frequencies of diatomic are inversely proportional to Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. (81) This constraint was criticised in [275] on the basis that the systems have multiple components and that it is not necessary that the strongest absorption arises in the same component in both type of lines.23 < z < 0. but this analysis ignores an important wavelength calibration estimated to be of the order of 6.5) × 10−6 and that another system at z = 3.0) × 10−6 over the band o redshift 0 < ⟨z ⟩ ≤ 1. only Werner band absorption lines are seen so that the range of sensitivity coeﬃcients is too narrow to provide a stringent constraint.46. Therefore it can be split into two samples of respectively 5 and 4 systems to get ∆x/x = (1.1).1. 1.53.7 < z < 2. H2 and UV observation so that in principle one can measure αEM . (84) This system is unique since it allows for 21 cm.2 ± 0.7 ± 1. x and µ independently. z = 3. Note also that the comparison [274] with C i at z ∼ 1. (2) the clouds responsible for the 21 cm and UV absorptions must be localized in the same place. It was argued that. Following [147]. 0. e.99) × 10−5 .4. the systems must be selected with care and today the number of such systems is small and are actively looked for [411].23 < z < 2. On the other hand. ∆x/x = (−0. It was also shown that the H2 and 21 cm are shifted because of the inhomogeneity of the gas.0 ± 1. 0. However.35.524 absorber.g. UV: x = α2 EM gp /µ The comparison of UV heavy element transitions with the hyperﬁne H i transition allows to extract [496] 2 x ≡ αEM gp /µ. (82) (83) In such an approach two main diﬃculties arise: (1) the radio and optical source must coincide (in the optical QSO can be considered pointlike and it must be checked that this is also the case for the radio source). unless fractional changes in gp are larger than those in αEM and µ. Fe ii and/or Mg ii.3 sets ∆x/x = (0.5) × 10−6 . yields ∆x/x = (6. 3. However.1 gives ∆x/x = (0.4. there was no evidence for any variation of x [494].

54) × 10−5 z = 0. The main systematics is the kinematical bias. 13 CO(1-2).org/lrr-2011-2 . νrot mp where the variation of M/mp is usually suppressed by a large factor of the order of the ratio between the proton mass and nucleon binding energy in nuclei. (86) [78] obtains the constraints |∆y/y | < 3. so that we can safely neglect it.25 and z ∼ 0.2 ± 0. that the diﬀerent lines do not come exactly from the same material along the line of sight. they enjoy the same Rydberg dependence but diﬀerent gp and αEM dependencies. i.18 cm: F = gp (α2 EM µ) Using transitions originating from a single species. C18 O(1-2).685.6847.247.6847 in the direction of TXS 0218+357 for which the spectra of CO(1-2).e. and dealing with cold gas and narrow lines. y 1 + zmol This method was ﬁrst applied [513] to the CO molecular absorption lines [536] towards PKS 1413+135 to get z = 0. of OH is split into two levels by Λ-doubling and each of these doubled level is further split into two hyperﬁne-structure states. Gravitation and Cosmology 53 their reduced mass M . They concluded that ∆y/y = (−0. HCO+ (1-2) and HCN(1-2) are available. The radio domain has the advantage of heterodyne techniques.57 OH . The 18 cm lines of the OH radical oﬀers such a possibility [95. The analysis led to ∆y/y = (−0.4 × 10−5 at z ∼ 0.57 (87) and it was also proposed to combine them with HCO+ transitions to lift the degeneracy. ∆y/y = (−4 ± 6) × 10−5 The most recent constraint [375] relies on the comparison of the published redshifts of two absorption systems determined both from H i and molecular absorption. with the same velocity. ∆y zmol − zH = . the comparison of the hyperﬁne and rotational frequencies is proportional to νhf M 2 2 ∝ gp αEM ≃ gp αEM ≡ y. The ground state.livingreviews.44) × 10−5 . it has two “main” lines (∆F = 0) and two “satellite” lines (∆F = 1). Since these four lines arise from two diﬀerent physical processes (Λ-doubling and hyperﬁne splitting). HCO+ (1-2) and HCO+ (2-3) have been detected.7 1.org/sci/facilities/alma/ Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. By comparing the four transitions to the H i hyperﬁne line. 3 http://www.16 ± 0.247. Thus. To improve this method one needs to ﬁnd more sources. allows to reduce the systematic eﬀects. (85) The second system is an absorption system in direction of PKS 1413+135 for which the molecular lines of CO(1-2). As on the example of Equation (35) where we compared an electronic transition to a vibro-rotational transition. The ﬁrst is a system at z = 0. like with SIDAM. with a spectral resolution of 106 or more. 2 Π3/2 J = 3/2.Varying Constants. CO(23). z = 0. 3..eso. which may be possible with the radio telescope ALMA 3 . The constraint on the variation of y is directly determined by comparing the redshift as determined from H i and molecular absorption lines. 272].4. one can have access to 2 F ≡ gp (αEM µ)1.

z = 0. 3.2467. z = 4. (90) (91) which represents the best constraints at high redshift. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.26) × 10−5 .85 .0syst ) × 10−5 . This behavior has recently been discovered at cosmological distances and it was shown [95] that a comparison between the sum and diﬀerence of satellite line redshifts probes G = gp (αEM µ)1. A more recent analysis [273] claims for a tentative evidence (with 2.51 ± 1. Using the C ii ﬁne-structure and CO rotational emission lines from the quasars J1148+5251 and BR 1202-0725. or at 99.8 Far infrared ﬁne-structure lines: F ′ = α2 EM µ z = 0.livingreviews.org/lrr-2011-2 .247 towards PKS 1413+135 and at z ∼ 0.36 ± 1. From the analysis of the two conjugate satellite OH systems at z ∼ 0.1 ± 1. A good candidate for the rotational lines is CO since it is the second most abundant molecule in the Universe after H2 .765 towards PMN J0134-0931.247 towards PKS 1413+135.54 Jean-Philippe Uzan Using the four 18 cm OH lines from the gravitational lens at z ∼ 0. A similar analysis [138] in a system in the direction of PKS 1413+135 gave ∆F/F = (0. it was concluded that ∆F ′ /F ′ = (0.4.6 × 10−5 at z ∼ 0. preventing from velocity oﬀset between the lines. (88) where the second error is due to velocity oﬀsets between OH and H i assuming a velocity dispersion of 3 km/s. to give |∆G/G| < 1. when comparing the frequencies of two diﬀerent species.18 ± 0.4 ± 1. which respectively behaves as R∞ αEM and R∞ µ ¯= R∞ /µ so that they give access to 2 F ′ = αEM µ.765 toward PMN J0134-0931 and comparing the H i 21 cm and OH absorption redshifts of the diﬀerent components allowed to set the constraint [276] ∆F/F = (−0.1% conﬁdence) for a smaller value of G ∆G/G = (−1. ∆F ′ /F ′ = (1. As usual.4.85 The satellite OH 18 cm lines are conjugate so that the two lines have the same shape.69. 3. Centaurus A. (92) It was also applied to a nearby system. but with one line in emission and the other in absorption.42.6σ signiﬁcance. Also.765. the shape of the two lines must agree if they arise from the same gas.9 “Conjugate” satellite OH lines: G = gp (αEM µ)1. One strength of this method is that it guarantees that the satellite lines arise from the same gas.0018. (89) Another combination [300] of constants can be obtained from the comparison of far infrared ﬁne2 structure spectra with rotational transitions.44 ± 0. one must account for random Doppler shifts caused by non-identical spatial distributions of the two species.46) × 10−5 (93) for the system at z ∼ 0. This arises due to an inversion of the level of populations within the ground state of the OH molecule.0) × 10−4 . Several other candidates for microwave and FIR lines with good sensitivities are discussed in [299].5) × 10−5 . z = 6. it was concluded [95] that |∆G/G| < 7.6 × 10−5 .

The authors performed their analysis with two laboratory catalogs and got diﬀerent results. The lines were selected so that they are isolated.7 ± 3.1. We refer to Section V. But if ∆µ ̸= 0 there must exist a correlation between zi and Ki so that a linear regression of zi (measurement) as a function of Ki (computed) allows to extract (zabs .org/lrr-2011-2 . b ≡ −(1 + zabs ) ∆µ .0249 in the directions of Q 0405-443 and Q 0347-383 observed with the VLT/UVES spectrograph. Ki ≡ d ln λi d ln µ corresponding to the Lyman and Werner bands of molecular hydrogen.5σ for the combined analysis. The data have a resolution R = 53000 and a S/N ratio ranging between 30 and 70. From this expression. It was further improved with an analysis of two absorption systems at z = 2. unsaturated and unblended.C of FVC [500] for earlier studies and we focus on the latest results.livingreviews. The same selection 4 Again. but with 0 diﬀerent normalization since in the parameterization we would have qi = ωi Ki /2.0249 in the direction of two quasars (Q 1232+082 and Q 0347-382) for which a ﬁrst analysis of VLT/UVES data showed [262] a slight indication of a variation.8) × 10−5 at 1. µ which implies in particular that zabs is not the mean of the zi if ∆µ ̸= 0 .5947 and z = 3.4. one can deduce that the observed redshift measured from the transition i is simply zi = zabs + bKi . Indeed zi is measured with some uncertainty of the astronomical measurements λi and by errors of the laboratory measurements λ0 i . They point out that the errors on the laboratory wavelengths are comparable to those of the astronomical measurements. The recent constraints are mainly based on the molecular hydrogen of two damped Lyman-α absorption systems at z = 2. Gravitation and Cosmology 55 3.Varying Constants.3377 and 3. It follows that the analysis relies on 12 lines (over 50 detected) for the ﬁrst quasar and 18 (over 80) for second but the two selected spectra had no transition in common. I have chosen to use µ = mp /me and µ ¯ = me /mp . As proposed in [512].10 Molecular spectra and the electron-to-proton mass ratio As was pointed out in Section 3. the sensitivity of a vibro-rotational wavelength to a variation of µ can be parameterized as (︂ )︂ ∆µ λi = λ0 (1 + z ) 1 + K . Constraints with H2 H2 is the most abundant molecule in the universe and there were many attempts to use its absorption spectra to put constraints on the time variation of µ despite the fact that H2 is very diﬃcult to detect [387]. b) and their statistical signiﬁcance. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. that is at a redshift zabs so that the observed wavelength is λi /(1+ zabs ). ∆µ/µ = (5. µ is used either from me /mp or mp /me . Ki is a sensitivity coeﬃcient analogous to the q -coeﬃcient introduced in Equation (70). abs i i µ where λ0 i is the laboratory wavelength (in the vacuum) and λi is the wavelength of the transition i in the rest-frame of the cloud. molecular lines can provide a test of the variation4 [488] of µ since rotational and vibrational transitions are respectively inversely proportional to their reduce mass and its square-root [see Equation (35)].

56

Jean-Philippe Uzan

criteria where applied, letting respectively 39 (out of 40) and 37 (out of 42) lines for each spectrum and only 7 transitions in common. The combined analysis of the two systems led [261] ∆µ/µ = (1.65 ± 0.74) × 10−5 or ∆µ/µ = (3.05 ± 0.75) × 10−5 ,

according to the laboratory measurements that were used. The same data were reanalyzed with new and highly accurate measurements of the Lyman bands of H2 , which implied a reevaluation of the sensitivity coeﬃcient Ki . It leads to the two constraints [431] ∆µ/µ = (2.78 ± 0.88) × 10−5 , ∆µ/µ = (2.06 ± 0.79) × 10

−5

z = 2.59, z = 3.02,

(94) (95)

,

leading to a 3.5σ detection for the weighted mean ∆µ/µ = (2.4 ± 0.66) × 10−5 . The authors of [431] do not claim for a detection and are cautious enough to state that systematics dominate the measurements. The data of the z = 3.02 absorption system were re-analyzed in [529], which claim that they lead to the bound |∆µ/µ| < 4.9 × 10−5 at a 2σ level, instead of Equation (95). Adding a new set of 6 spectra, it was concluded that ∆µ/µ = (15 ± 14) × 10−6 for the weighted ﬁt [530]. These two systems were reanalyzed [289], adding a new system in direction of Q 0528-250, ∆µ/µ = (1.01 ± 0.62) × 10−5 , ∆µ/µ = (0.82 ± 0.74) × 10−5 , ∆µ/µ = (0.26 ± 0.30) × 10−5 , z = 2.59, z = 2.8, z = 3.02, (96) (97) (98)

respectively with 52, 68 and 64 lines. This gives a weighted mean of (2.6±3.0)×10−6 at z ∼ 2.81. To compare with the previous data, the analysis of the two quasars in common was performed by using the same lines (this implies adding 3 and removing 16 for Q 0405-443 and adding 4 and removing 35 for Q 0347-383) to get respectively (−1.02 ± 0.89) × 10−5 (z = 2.59) and (−1.2 ± 1.4) × 10−5 (z = 3.02). Both analyses disagree and this latter analysis indicates a systematic shift of ∆µ/µ toward 0. A second re-analysis of the same data was performed in [490, 489] using a diﬀerent analysis method to get ∆µ/µ = (−7 ± 8) × 10−6 . (99) Recently discovered molecular transitions at z = 2.059 toward the quasar J2123-0050 observed by the Keck telescope allow to obtain 86 H2 transitions and 7 HD transitions to conclude [342] ∆µ/µ = (5.6 ± 5.5stat ± 2.7syst ) × 10−6 , z = 2.059. (100)

This method is subject to important systematic errors among which (1) the sensitivity to the laboratory wavelengths (since the use of two diﬀerent catalogs yield diﬀerent results [431]), (2) the molecular lines are located in the Lyman-α forest where they can be strongly blended with intervening H i Lyman-α absorption lines, which requires a careful ﬁtting of the lines [289] since it is hard to ﬁnd lines that are not contaminated. From an observational point of view, very few damped Lyman-α systems have a measurable amount of H2 so that only a dozen systems is actually known even though more systems will be obtained soon [411]. To ﬁnish, the sensitivity coeﬃcients are usually low, typically of the order of 10–2 . Some advantages of using H2 arise from the fact there are several hundred available H2 lines so that many lines from the same ground state can be used to eliminate diﬀerent kinematics between regions of diﬀerent excitation temperatures. The overlap between Lyman and Werner bands also allow to reduce the errors of calibration. To conclude, the combination of all the existing observations indicate that µ is constant at the 10–5 level during the past 11 Gigayrs while an improvement of a factor 10 can be expected in the ﬁve coming years.

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Varying Constants, Gravitation and Cosmology

57

Other constraints It was recently proposed [201, 202] that the inversion spectrum of ammonia allows for a better sensitivity to µ. The inversion vibro-rotational mode is described by a double well with the ﬁrst two levels below the barrier. The tunneling implies that these two levels are split in inversion doublets. It was concluded that the inversion transitions scale as νinv ∼ µ ¯4.46 , compared with a rotational transition, which scales as νrot ∼ µ ¯. This implies that the redshifts determined by the two types of transitions are modiﬁed according to δzinv = 4.46(1 + zabs )∆µ/µ and δzrot ∼ (1 + zabs )∆µ/µ so that zinv − zrot . ∆µ/µ = 0.289 1 + zabs Only one quasar absorption system, at z = 0.68466 in the direction of B 0218+357, displaying NH3 is currently known and allows for this test. A ﬁrst analysis [201] estimated from the published redshift uncertainties that a precision of ∼ 2 × 10−6 on ∆µ/µ can be achieved. A detailed measurement [366] of the ammonia inversion transitions by comparison to HCN and HCO+ rotational transitions concluded that |∆µ/µ| < 1.8 × 10−6 , z = 0.685, (101)

at a 2σ level. Recently the analysis of the comparison of NH3 to HC3 N spectra was performed toward the gravitational lens system PKS 1830-211 (z ≃ 0.89), which is a much more suitable system, with 10 detected NH3 inversion lines and a forest of rotational transitions. It reached the conclusion that |∆µ/µ| < 1.4 × 10−6 , z = 0.89, (102) at a 3σ level [250]. From a comparison of the ammonia inversion lines with the NH3 rotational transitions, it was concluded [353] |∆µ/µ| < 3.8 × 10−6 , z = 0.89, (103)

at 95% C.L. One strength of this analysis is to focus on lines arising from only one molecular species but it was mentioned that the frequencies of the inversion lines are about 25 times lower than the rotational ones, which might cause diﬀerences in the absorbed background radio continuum. This method was also applied [323] in the Milky Way, in order to constrain the spatial variation of µ in the galaxy (see Section 6.1.3). Using ammonia emission lines from interstellar molecular clouds (Perseus molecular core, the Pipe nebula and the infrared dark clouds) it was concluded that ∆µ = (4 − 14) × 10−8 . This indicates a positive velocity oﬀset between the ammonia inversion transition and rotational transitions of other molecules. Two systems being located toward the galactic center while one is in the direction of the anti-center, this may indicate a spatial variation of µ on galactic scales. New possibilities The detection of several deuterated molecular hydrogen HD transitions makes it possible to test the variation of µ in the same way as with H2 but in a completely independent way, even though today it has been detected only in 2 places in the universe. The sensitivity coeﬃcients have been published in [263] and HD was ﬁrst detected by [387]. HD was recently detected [473] together with CO and H2 in a DLA cloud at a redshift of 2.418 toward SDSS1439+11 with 5 lines of HD in 3 components together with several H2 lines in 7 components. It allowed to set the 3σ limit of |∆µ/µ| < 9 × 10−5 [412]. Even though the small number of lines does not allow to reach the level of accuracy of H2 it is a very promising system in particular to obtain independent measurements.

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58

Jean-Philippe Uzan

3.4.11

Emission spectra

Similar analysis to constrain the time variation of the fundamental constants were also performed with emission spectra. Very few such estimates have been performed, since it is less sensitive and harder to extend to sources with high redshift. In particular, emission lines are usually broad as compared to absorption lines and the larger individual errors need to be beaten by large statistics. The O iii doublet analysis [24] from a sample of 165 quasars from SDSS gave the constraint ∆αEM /αEM = (12 ± 7) × 10−5 , 0.16 < z < 0.8. (104)

The method was then extended straightforwardly along the lines of the MM method and applied [238] to the ﬁne-structure transitions in Ne iii, Ne v, O iii, O i and S ii multiplets from a sample of 14 Seyfert 1.5 galaxies to derive the constraint ∆αEM /αEM = (150 ± 70) × 10−5 , 3.4.12 Conclusion and prospects 0.035 < z < 0.281. (105)

This subsection illustrates the diversity of methods and the progresses that have been achieved to set robust constraints on the variation of fundamental constants. Many systems are now used, giving access to diﬀerent combinations of the constants. It exploits a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum from far infrared to ultra violet and radio bands and optical and radio techniques have played complementary roles. The most recent and accurate constraints are summarized in Table 10 and Figure 4.

3

Μ Μ x105

2

1

0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

z

Figure 4: Summary of the direct constraints on αEM obtained from the AD (blue), MM (red) and AD (green) methods (left) and on µ (right) that are summarized in Table 10.

At the moment, only one analysis claims to have detected a variation of the ﬁne structure constant (Keck/HIRES) while the VLT/UVES points toward no variation of the ﬁne structure constant. It has led to the proposition that αEM may be space dependent and exhibit a dipole, the origin of which is not explained. Needless to say that such a controversy and hypotheses are sane since it will help improve the analysis of this data, but it is premature to conclude on the issue of this debate and the jury is still out. Most of the systematics have been investigated in detail and now seem under control. Let us what we can learn on the physics from these measurement. As an example, consider the constraints obtained on µ, y and F in the redshift band 0.6 – 0.8 (see Table 10). They can be used to extract independent constraints on gp , αEM and µ ∆µ/µ = (0 ± 0.18) × 10−5 , ∆αEM /αEM = (−0.27 ± 2.09) × 10−5 , ∆gp /gp = (0.38 ± 4.73) × 10−5 .

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5 ± 1.3) (–0.247.59 3.23 – 2.82 ± 0.765 0.mol CO.UV C ii . Gravitation and Cosmology 59 Table 10: Summary of the latest constraints on the variation of fundamental constants obtained from 2 2 2 the analysis of quasar absorption spectra.69 6.51 ± 1.78 ± 0.26) (–0.46) (–0.1 < 1.57 .8 3. CHO+ OH .mol H i .174 4.179) (0.35 3.418 2. We recall that y ≡ gp αEM . 2.84 0. x ≡ αEM gp /µ.2 0.44) (–4 ± 6) Redshift 2. ′ 2 1.2 – 4.685 0.247 2.0018 0.765 0.2467 0.01 ± 0.44 ± 0.UV H i .08 1.46) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.3 1.02 3.17 ± 0.26 ± 0.59 – 2.15 ± 0.8) < 0.685 0.99) ± 0.01 ± 0.55stat ± 0.27syst ) < 1.54) (–0.42 0.livingreviews.18 < 0. [377] [91] [349] [367] [90] [361] [361] [375] [375] [536] [276] [138] [494] [472] [327] [327] [95] [95] [273] [431] [431] [289] [289] [289] [490] [366] [353] [250] [412] [342] y F x F′ G (–0.33 – 3.79) (1.247 0.88) (2. F ≡ gp (αEM µ)1.7 ± 0.84 0.012 ± 0.15) (–0.2 ± 0.38 < 0.02.247 0.17) (1 ± 10) (14 ± 15) µ (2.30) (0.15 1.0syst ) (0.059 Ref.19 – 1.267) (–0.36 ± 1.H i H i . 0.59 0.59 2.85 F ≡ αEM µ and µ ≡ mp /me .H i OH .org/lrr-2011-2 .CO C ii .92 1.Varying Constants.6847 0.14 <9 (0.566 ± 0.16 (–1.11) (0.89 2.74) (0.62) (0.43) (–3.18 ± 0. Constant αEM Method AD AD AD MM MM SIDAM SIDAM H i .63 (–0.CO OH OH OH H2 H2 H2 H2 H2 H2 NH3 NH3 HC3 N HD HD System 21 15 9 143 21 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Constraint (Ö 10–5 ) (–0.56 ± 0. G = gp (αµ) .57 ± 0.09 ± 8.4 – 2.06 ± 0.02 2.16 ± 0.

Progresses concerning the calibration are also expected.ch/Instruments/HARPS/ http://sci. it is clear that these constraints and the understanding of the absorption systems will increase in the coming years. 507]. we have seen in Section 6. The limitation may then lie in the statistics and the calibration and it would be useful to use more than two QSO with overlapping spectra to cross-calibrate the line positions. Since the AD method is free of the two main assumptions of the MM method. While the size of the radio sample is still small. the EXPRESSO (Echelle Spectrograph for PREcision Super Stable Observation) project [115] on 4 VLT units or the CODEX (COsmic Dynamics EXplorer) on E-ELT projects [360. Let us just mention. it seems important to increase the precision of this method as well as any method relying only on one species.int/science-e/www/area/index. but also on the constraints (71) and (72) obtained from the AD method and on which both teams agree. The Bohlin formula [62] gives the estimates (︂ σλ ∼ ∆λpix ∆λpix Wobs )︂ 1 √ Ne (︂ M 3/2 √ 12 )︂ . This illustrates how important the whole set of data is since one will probably be able to constrain the order of magnitude of R in a near future. the FIR lines are expected to be observed by a new generation of telescopes such as HERSCHEL6 .cfm?fareaid=16 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. This can be done by increasing R up to the point at which the narrowest lines in the absorption systems are resolved. 357. that would mean that ∆ ln αEM ∼ (1 − 5) × 10−7 . Any improvement is related to the possibility to measure line positions more accurately.livingreviews. They shall provide a resolving power of R = 150000 to be compared to the HARPS5 (High Accuracy Radial velocity planet Searcher) spectrograph (R ∼ 112000) has been used but it is operating on a 3.g. This means that one needs to discover more absorption systems suited for these analyses. 187]). For instance the future Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be able to detect relative changes of the order of 10–7 in αEM . surveys are being carried out so that the number of known redshift OH. one can expect improvements from higher spectral resolution. The search for a better resolution is being investigated in many direction. For instance. where ∆λpix is the pixel size. using. Much progress is expected.unige. Even if its value its time-dependent. 5 6 http://obswww. Thus. This can be achieved by increasing the S/N ratio and spectral resolution of the data used or by increasing the sample size and including new transitions (e. Independently of these constraints. In general R is expected to be of the order of 30 − 50.3 that in grand uniﬁcation theory the variation of the constants are correlated. e.org/lrr-2011-2 . which would be a very important piece of information for the theoretical investigations. HI and HCO+ absorption systems will increase. The former constraints show that if ∆ ln µ = R∆ ln αEM then the constraint (101) imposes that |R∆ ln αEM | < 1. The metal lines have intrinsic width of a few km/s.. cobalt [172. which is highly incompatible with the constraint (74) obtained by the same team on αEM .g. the observed line positions can be determined with an accuracy of σλ ∼ 1 m ˚ A. This implies that the accuracy on ∆αEM /αEM is of the order of 10–5 for lines with typical q -coeﬃcients.8 × 10−6 . Wobs is the observed equivalent width.6 m telescope.esa.. laser comb [478]. In conclusion. Ne is the mean number of photoelectron at the continuum level and M is the number of pixel covering the line proﬁle. As we have seen this limit can be improved to 10–6 when more transitions or systems are used together.60 Jean-Philippe Uzan This shows that one can test the compatibility of the constraints obtained from diﬀerent kind of systems. We mention in the course of this paragraph many possibilities to improve these constraints. With the current resolution of R ∼ 40000.

in contradiction with the observed abundances. which are highly unstable. From [103]. It follows that the production of 12 C in stars relies on the three conditions: the decay lifetime of 8 Be. newly produced 12 C would almost immediately be fused further to form heavier elements so that one expects only a tiny amount of 12 C to be produced. Be + 4 He ↔ 12 C∗ → 12 C + 7. The variation of any constant that would modify the energy of this resonance would also endanger the stellar nucleosynthesis of carbon. Furthermore. so that a macroscopic amount of beryllium can be produced. which ensures that most of the carbon synthesized is not destroyed 12 by the capture of an α-particle. so that the possibility for carbon production has Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the stars need to reach high temperatures and densities. E0+ = 379. In these conditions.5 Stellar constraints Stars start to accumulate helium produced by the pp-reaction and the CNO cycle in their core. This led Hoyle [257] to conclude that a then unknown excited state of the 12 C with an energy close to the 3α-threshold should exist since such a resonance would increase the probability that 8 Be captures an α-particle. which allows for 8 He + 4 He ↔ 8 Be.15 keV].org/lrr-2011-2 .Varying Constants. The existence of this resonance.livingreviews. the Jlπ = 0+ C 2 -state of was actually discovered [111] experimentally later. 2 Figure 5: Left: Level scheme of nuclei participating to the 4 He(αα. In order to produce elements heavier than A > 7 by fusion of lighter isotopes.367 MeV. an excited state of 4 12 C lies just above the energy of 8 Be+α.47 ± 0.1616 MeV. with an energy of 372 ± 4 keV [today. is four orders of magnitude longer than the time for two α particles to scatter. γ )12 C reaction. the products of further nuclear reactions of helium with either helium or hydrogen lead to isotopes with A = 5 or A = 8. of order 10–16 s. above the ground state of three α-particles (see Figure 5). Right: Central abundances at the end of the CHe burning as a function of δN N for a 60 M⊙ star with Z = 0. Gravitation and Cosmology 61 3.1197 MeV is non resonant and below the energy of 12 C + α. which is suﬃcient to lead to considerable production of carbon. the energy level of 16 O at 7. of order 7.

which aﬀects the stellar evolution. (106) Mα k B T kB T where Mα and Nα are the mass and number density of the α-particle. it requires to link QCD to nuclear physics. and the gamma width. This requires one to use a stellar evolutionary model.livingreviews. to determine the eﬀective parameters. if E0+ is decreased. VN being described in [491].. −5 keV ∆E0+ 50 keV 2 2 in order for the C/O ratio to be larger than the error in the standard yields by more than 50%.g. 5 and 20 M⊙ with solar metallicity up to thermally pulsating asymptotic giant branch [390] and in low. Qualitatively. 391. This was included in a stellar code and ran for red giant stars with 1. The modiﬁed 3α-reaction rate was then given by )︂3 [︂ ]︂ (︂ 2π 2 Γ ε(p) 3 rα = 33/2 Nα exp − . This allows to relate the energy of the Hoyle level relative to the triple alpha threshold. On the other hand. such as the resonance 2 of the oxygen. e. 3. then all α-particles would produce carbon so that no 2 oxygen would be synthesized. ε ≡ Qααα . the stellar production of carbon or oxygen will be reduced by a factor 30 to 1000. 1. which was further improved [451] to. It was estimated [334] that the carbon production in intermediate and massive stars is suppressed if the various of the energy of the resonance is outside the range −250 keV ∆E0+ 60 keV. Indeed. any of them involving assumptions. the binding energies and the cross sections will also be modiﬁed in a complex way. where A is the nucleon number.5% and 4% of the values of the strong and electromagnetic forces.62 Jean-Philippe Uzan often been used in anthropic arguments. where δN N is a dimensionless parameter that describes the change of the nuclear interaction. When A > 4 no exact solution can be found and approximate solutions Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. A ﬁrst analysis [390. In order to implement the variation of the strength of the nuclear interaction with respect to the electromagnetic interaction. 25 M⊙ ) with solar metallicity also up to TP-AGB [451] to conclude that outside a window of respectively 0. 2. 15. The simplest choice is to modify only the energy of the resonance but it may not be realistic since all cross sections and binding energies should also be aﬀected. T the kinetic energy and V the NN interaction potential. we expect that if E0+ is modiﬁed due to the variation of a constant other quantities. as a function of the parameter p.org/lrr-2011-2 . relate these parameters to nuclear parameters. 491] and its strength was modiﬁed by multiplying the eﬀective NN-potential by an arbitrary number p.3. one needs to go through diﬀerent steps. In practice. 5. However. The Hamiltonian of the system is then of the form H = i T (ri + j<i V (rij ). intermediate and high mass (1. cross sections. if E0+ is increased then the carbon would 2 be rapidly processed to oxygen since the star would need to be hotter for the triple-α process to start. to relate the nuclear parameters to fundamental constants. 451] used a model that treats the carbon nucleus by solving the 12-nucleon Schr¨ odinger equation using a three-cluster wavefunction representing the three-body dynamics of the 12 C state. As for the Oklo phenomenon.3. This involves the whole nuclear physics machinery. it was taken as V (rij ) = VC (rij ) + (1 + δN N )VN (rij ). the latter being almost not aﬀected. In order to compute the resonance energy of the 8 Be and 12 C a microscopic was ∑︀A cluster ∑︀model A developed [297]. The NN interaction was described by the Minnesota model [297. to draw a constraint on the variation of the fundamental constants from the stellar production of carbon. the energy of the resonance was changed by hand. in such an analysis. Γγ . The resonance width Γ = Γα Γγ /(Γα + Γγ ) ∼ Γγ .

. In this semi-analytical stellar structure model.g. which enters in the Coulomb barrier penetration through the Gamow energy. ε(r). Besides. The underlying idea is to assume that the power generated per unit volume. αEM .09208 − 12. ER (12 C) = (0. which enters mainly on the hydrostatic equilibrium.5 × 10−3 .000 years old [see. is proportional to the fudge factor C . (109) at a redshift of order z ∼ 15. (III) for weaker rates. given the discussion in Section 3. δN N can be related to the deuterium binding energy as ∆BD /BD = 5. e. This was implemented in [103. the eﬀect of the fundamental constants was reduced phenomenologically to 3 parameters. one can distinguish 4 regimes (I) the star ends the CHe burning phase with a core composed of a mixture of 12 C and 16 O. −3 × 10−4 < ∆BD /BD < 9 × 10−3 . In some sense. (108) so that the energy of the Hoyle level relative to the triple alpha threshold is Qααα = ER (8 Be) + ER (12 C). an underlying limitation arises from the fact that the composition of the interstellar media is a mixture of ejecta from stars with diﬀerent masses and it is not clear which type of stars contribute the most the carbon and oxygen production. which would arise from a modiﬁcation of the nuclear fusion factor.g. (107) which. [409] for details on the physics of the CMB]. another limitation arises from the complexity of nuclear physics.208 × δN N ) Mev. which describes globally the modiﬁcation of the nuclear reaction rates.. As for the Oklo phenomenon.3. 3. 180] to population III stars with typical masses. 12 C is produced slower. the resonance energy of the 8 Be and 12 C scale as ER (8 Be) = (0. a recent study [3] focus on the existence of stars themselves. to ensure the ratio C/O to be of order unity. by revisiting the stellar equilibrium when the values of some constants are modiﬁed. γ )16 O becomes eﬃcient earlier so that the star ends the CHe burning phase with a core composed mostly of 16 O. Gravitation and Cosmology 63 in which the wave function of the 8 Be and 12 C are described by clusters of respectively 2 and 3 α-particle is well adapted. To ﬁnish.725 K with Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. and a composite parameter C . e. the reaction 12 C(α. in [104].org/lrr-2011-2 . or equivalently of the cross section.412 × δN N ) Mev.Varying Constants. G.8. showing that no ﬁne-tuning seems to be required. In particular. the 16 O is further processed to 20 Ne and then 24 Mg so that the star ends the CHe burning phase with a core composed of 24 Mg and (IV) if the 3α rate is stronger. 15 and 60 M⊙ with zero metallicity. (II) if the 3α rate is weaker. First. the 12 C is produced more rapidly and the star ends the CHe burning phase with a core composed mostly of 12 C.6 Cosmic Microwave Background The CMB radiation is composed of photons emitted at the time of the recombination of hydrogen and helium when the universe was about 300. From Figure 5. Then. Typically this imposes that − 5 × 10−4 < δN N < 1. as in the standard case.livingreviews. Thus. This new system is very promising and will provide new information on the fundamental constants at redshifts smaller than z ∼ 15 where no constraints exist at the moment. even though drawing a robust constraint seems to be diﬃcult at the moment. one would need to include rotation and mass loss [181]. as.7701 × δN N . The parameter space for which stars can form and for which stable nuclear conﬁgurations exist was determined. and which determines the luminosity of the star. This radiation is observed to be a black-body with a temperature T0 = 2. in order to compute the central abundances at the end of the core He burning.2877 − 20. it can be seen as a generalization of the work by Gamow [224] to constrain the Dirac model of a varying gravitational constant by estimating its eﬀect on the lifetime of the Sun. it assumes that all cross sections are aﬀected is a similar way. allows to relate δN N to fundamental constants.

the equation of evolution of the ionization fraction takes the form [︂ (︂ )︂ ]︂ dxe B1 − B2 2 = C β (1 − xe ) exp − − R np xe . β is the ionization coeﬃcient. the number density of free electrons with respect to their total number density ne ). Bn = −EI /n is the energy of the nth hydrogen atomic level. and more subtle dependence. The second. The CMB temperature anisotropies mainly depend on three constants: G. Following [405. this angular power spectrum can be computed and compared to observational data in order to constrain this set of parameters. The temperature ﬂuctuation in a direction (ϑ. kB TM (115) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.livingreviews. TM is identical to the one of the photons Tγ = T0 (1 + z ) but evolves according to 8σT aR 4 xe dTM =− T (TM − Tγ ) − 2HTM dt 3me R 1 + xe (114) 4 2 where the radiation constant aR = 4σSB /c with σSB = kB π /(60πc2 3 ) the Stefan–Boltzmann 2 constant. R the recombination coeﬃcient. The ﬁrst dependence arises from the Thomson scattering cross section given by σT = 8π 2 2 α 2 EM 3 m2 ec (112) and the scattering by free protons can be neglected since me /mp ∼ 5 × 10−4 . It has mainly three eﬀects [435] that are detailed in Section 4. me aﬀect the dynamics of the recombination. comes from the ionization fraction. C the correction constant due to the redshift of Ly-α photons and to 2-photon decay and np = ne is the number density of protons. β is related to R by the principle of detailed balance so that (︂ β=R 2πme kB TM h2 )︂3/2 (︂ )︂ B2 exp − . for the sake of simplicity.64 Jean-Philippe Uzan small anisotropies of order of the µK. αEM and me . The gravitational constant enters in the Friedmann equation and in the evolution of the cosmological perturbations. However.4. only the recombination of hydrogen. we can trace their main eﬀects since they mainly modify the CMB spectrum through the change in the diﬀerential optical depth of photons due to the Thomson scattering τ ˙ = xe ne cσT . αEM . 338] and taking into account. which are redshifted out of the resonance line [405] because recombination to the ground state can be neglected since it leads to immediate re-ionization of another hydrogen atom by the emission of a Ly-α photons.. ϕ) = aℓm Yℓm (ϑ. ϕ). ϕ) is usually decomposed on a basis of spherical harmonics as =+ℓ ∑︁ m ∑︁ δT (ϑ.org/lrr-2011-2 . T ℓ m=−ℓ (110) The angular power spectrum multipole Cℓ = ⟨|alm |2 ⟩ is the coeﬃcient of the decomposition of the angular correlation function on Legendre polynomials. Given a model of structure formation and a set of cosmological parameters. (111) which enters in the collision term of the Boltzmann equation describing the evolution of the photon distribution function and where xe is the ionization fraction (i. In Equation (113). (113) dt kB TM where TM is the temperature.e. Their inﬂuence is complex and must be computed numerically.1. At high redshift. Recombination proceeds via 2-photon emission from the 2s level or via the Ly-α photons.

However.estec. mainly due to the degeneracies with other cosmological parameters. set the constraint −0. both the temperature of the decoupling and the residual ionization after recombination are modiﬁed by a variation of αEM or me . i. The eﬀect of reionisation was discussed in [350]. assuming the electron mass constant. describing the dependence of a variation of the ﬁnestructure constant as an eﬀect on recombination the redshift of which was modeled to scale as z∗ = 1080[1 + 2∆αEM /αEM ]. K as me αEM . This induces a shift of the Cℓ spectrum to higher multipoles and an increase of the values of the Cℓ . 277]. Gravitation and Cosmology 65 The recombination rate to all other excited levels is (︂ )︂3/2 ∑︁ ∫︁ ∞ ∗ 8 π kB T y 2 dy Bn /kB T R= 2 (2l + 1)e σnl y c 2πme e −1 Bn /kB T n.gov/ http://astro. Our previous analysis shows that the dependences in 2 the fundamental constants have various origins. This was ﬁrst discussed in [36. as can been seen from Eqs. since the binding energies Bi scale has me αEM . the decay rates Λ as me αEM . the transition frequencies as 8 5 2 and R has complicated .09 < ∆αEM < 0. Note that a change in the ﬁne-structure constant and in the mass of the electron are degenerate according to ∆αEM ≈ 0. it can be shown to behave as σnl ∝ αEM m− e f (hν/B1 ). the ionisation coeﬃcients β as αEM . (110–116). at a redshift of about z ∼ 1.39∆me but this degeneracy is broken for multipoles higher than 1500 [36]. The ﬁrst studies [244.gsfc. It was later improved [22] by a joint analysis of BBN and CMB data that assumes that only αEM varies and that included 4 cosmological parameters (Ωmat . me -dependence of the ionization cross section is −1 2 complicated to extract. 7 8 http://map.7. A similar analysis [307]. In summary.14 < ∆αEM < 0.l where σnl is the ionization cross section for the (n.esa.nl/SA-general/Projects/Planck/ Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. It concluded that a value of αEM smaller by a few percents in the past was favored but no deﬁnite bound was obtained.Varying Constants.nasa. l) excited level of hydrogen. 000. 277] focused on the sensitivity that can be reached by WMAP7 and Planck8 . The ﬁrst attempt [21] to actually set a constraint was performed on the ﬁrst release of the data by BOOMERanG and MAXIMA. The second eﬀect results from a smaller Silk damping. 2 −2 −3 −6 3 σT as αEM me . with a typical precision |∆αEM /αEM | ∼ 10−2 − 10−3 . The star indicates that the sum needs to be regularized and the αEM -. the Einstein’s coeﬃcients as me αEM me αEM −1 −2 dependence. it scales 8 2 as me αEM . They concluded that they should provide a constraint on αEM at recombination.02 at 68% conﬁdence level. 277] it was approximated by 2(1+ξ ) the scaling R ∝ αEM with ξ ∼ 0. the factor C is given by 1 + K Λ2s (1 − xe ) C= (116) 1 + K (β + Λ2s )(1 − xe ) where Λ2s is the rate of decay of the 2s excited level to the ground state via 2 photons.. ns ) assuming a universe with Euclidean spatial section. resulting in a narrower g .02. These works assume that only αEM is varying but. Finally. Ωb . The last scattering surface can roughly be determined by the maximum of the visibility function g=τ ˙ exp(−τ ). The constant K is given in terms of the Ly-α photon λα = 16π /(3me αEM c) by 3 −3 −6 K = np λα /(8πH ) and scales as me αEM . h. leading to −0.e. The ﬁrst eﬀect can be understood by the fact that pushing the last scattering surface to a higher redshift leads to a smaller sound horizon at decoupling. which measures the diﬀerential probability for a photon to be scattered at a given redshift. In earlier works [244. at a 2σ level. which roughly reduces to αEM me . Increasing αEM shifts g to a higher redshift at which the expansion rate is faster so that the temperature and xe decrease more rapidly. assuming a spatially ﬂat cosmological models with adiabatic primordial ﬂuctuations that. Most studies have introduced those modiﬁcations in the RECFAST code [454] including similar equations for the recombination of helium.livingreviews.org/lrr-2011-2 .

However.B. it was also obtained [352] −0. αs . EE ). Let us also emphasize the work by [351] trying to include the variation of the Newton constant by assuming that ∆αEM /αEM = Q∆G/G.81 × 10−3 and −0. These bounds were obtained without using other cosmological data sets. it was concluded [452.010.068 < ∆me /me < 0. We refer to [221] for a detailed review Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.66 Jean-Philippe Uzan With the WMAP ﬁrst year data.026. Ωb h2 . Restricting to a model with a vanishing running of the spectral index (αs ≡ dns /d ln k = 0). ns . at a 95% conﬁdence level. ns . Letting 6 cosmological parameters [(Ωmat h2 .01. It follows that the matter decouples thermally from the radiation at a redshift of order z ∼ 200. Including polarisation data data from ACBAR. me and µ.1 of FCV [500]).025 < ∆αEM /αEM < −0. Considering (Ωmat . the CMB photons are redshifted and their temperature drops as (1 + z ). and −0. 453] −0.018 and −0. that can couple the gas to the radiation through Compton scattering. 3. QUAD and BICEP. the bounds ﬂuctuating slightly depending on the choice of the recombination scenario. τ. In particular it shows that a lower value of αEM makes αs = 0 more compatible with the data. the bound on the variation of αEM was sharpened [438] to −0.079 at a 1σ level. A strong constraint on the variation of αEM can be obtained from the CMB only if the cosmological parameters are independently known. assuming (Ωmat . τ ) assuming a universe with Euclidean spatial sections. It was recently proposed [284] that the observation of the 21 cm emission can provide a test on the fundamental constants. Θ being the ratio between the sound horizon and the angular distance at decoupling] and 2 constants vary they. G being kept ﬁxed.043 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0. after marginalizing over the remaining cosmological parameters (Ωmat h2 . including polarisation and SDSS data. it gives −0.042. The main limitation of these analyses lies in the fact that the CMB angular power spectrum depends on the evolution of both the background spacetime and the cosmological perturbations. [438] forecasts that CMB alone can determine αEM to a maximum accuracy of 0. so that the results will always be conditional to the model of structure formation.097 < ∆αEM αEM < 0. Ωb h2 . that is on the shape of the initial power spectrum. Q being a constant and the investigation of [380] taking into account αEM . Ωh2 . The analysis of the WMAP-3yr data allows to improve [476] this bound to −0.1%.02. As ) for the cosmological parameters (ΩΛ being derived from the assumption ΩK = 0.52 < ∆µ/µ < 0.044. which got −0. h. The intergalactic hydrogen atoms after recombination are in their ground state.L. in combination with the 2dF galaxy redshift survey. zre ) and using both temperature and polarization data (T T . The constraints on αEM or me can then be seen mostly as constraints on a delayed recombination.013 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0.livingreviews. This constraint was conﬁrmed by the analysis of [259]. It leads to −0.28 × 10−3 < ∆αEM /αEM < 1.015 including HST data.034. T E . As ).050 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0. ns . at a 95% conﬁdence level.org/lrr-2011-2 . with the WMAP-1yr data alone and −0.038 at 95% C. T E .042 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0.06 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0.003 and 0. see Section III. h. EE ) that −8. assuming that both αEM and me can vary and that the universe was spatially Euclidean. τ ) for the cosmological parameters they concluded from WMAP-5 data (T T . at a 95% conﬁdence level. A similar analyis [381] not including me gave −0. when combined with constraints on the Hubble parameter from the HST Hubble Key project.039 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0. as well as τ from the re-ionisation redshift. Ωb .012 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0. It follows that it depends on the whole set of cosmological parameters as well as on initial conditions. The WMAP 5-year data were analyzed. Θ. ns . the baryons are prevented from cooling adiabatically since the residual amount of free electrons.05 < ∆αEM /αEM < 0. Ωb . also at 95% C. 453] was updated [310] to the WMAP-7yr data.17 The analysis of [452. zre .7 21 cm After recombination. is too small.L.009 < ∆me /me < 0. which hyperﬁnestructure splits into a singlet and a triple states (1s1/2 with F = 0 and F = 1 respectively. which can be reduced by taking into account some further prior from the HST data.

The equation of evolution for the gas temperature Tg is given by Equation (114) with TM = Tg (we recall that we have neglected the contribution of helium) and the electronic density satisﬁes Equation (113). It follows that we also have access to an angular power spectrum Cℓ (zobs ) at various redshift (see [329] for details on this computation). Ωb . h.3. ns . where the Einstein coeﬃcient A12 is deﬁned below. As . As . 1.8] [–1. the radiative interaction with CMB photons with a wavelength of λ21 = 21. as for the CMB. h. 1. ns .livingreviews. we can deduce the brightness temperature from the brightness Iν . Θ. –0. As . It follows [284. ns . 1.2. ν21 = 1420 MHz) and spin-changing atomic collision. 2] [–6. solid angle and time. Ωb h2 .5. Ωb h2 .TE.2. me ) (Ωmat h2 . ns ) (Ωmat .1 cm (i. Ωb h2 .5] [–0.e. 2.Varying Constants.4] [–4. τ. τ. h. Ωb . The population of the two states is determined by two processes. ns . ns . Observationally.7.8] [–1.0] [–1.0. Ωb h2 .9.6] [–3. Ωb h2 . As ) (Ωmat h2 . 2] [–5.TE. 285] that the change in the brightness temperature of the CMB at the corre2 sponding wavelength scales as Tb ∝ A12 /ν21 . Ωb h2 . The fraction of atoms in the excited (triplet) state versus the ground (singlet) state is conventionally related by the spin temperature Ts deﬁned by the relation (︂ )︂ nt T∗ = 3 exp − (117) ns Ts where T∗ ≡ hc/(λ21 kB ) = 68. Thus. zre . ns .83.3. 2] [–1.9. τ. Ωb . ns . τ. τ. there will also T 21 be ﬂuctuation in Tb due to imprints of the cosmological perturbations on np and Tg . Ωb h2 .. deﬁned as the temperature of the black-body radiation with spectrum Iν . Thus. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.4. me ) (Ωmat h2 . All assume ΩK = 0. αs ) same + αs = 0 (Ωmat . ns ) (Ωmat h2 . 3. 1] [–9.org/lrr-2011-2 . τ. h.2 mK is the temperature corresponding to the 21 cm transition and the factor 3 accounts for the degeneracy of the triplet state (note that this is a very simpliﬁed description since the assumption of a unique spin temperature is probably not correct [221]. [22] [307] [438] [438] [259] [259] [476] [452] [453] [381] [352] [352] [380] [310] [–9. It has a mean value. As ) (Ωmat h2 . Θ. h. Besides. ns ) (Ωmat h2 . µ) (Ωmat h2 . ¯b (zobs ) at various redshift where 1 + zobs = ν today /νobs . 0. Ωb h2 .2] [–4. ΩΛ h2 . ns . h.EE) + HST WMAP-5 + ACBAR + CBI + 2df WMAP-5 + ACBAR + CBI + 2df WMAP-5 + HST WMAP-5 + ACBAR + QUAD + BICEP WMAP-5 + ACBAR + QUAD + BICEP+HST WMAP-5 (TT. the evolution of the spin temperature is dictated by [221]. h. The second term corresponds to spontaneous transition and A10 is the Einstein coeﬃcient. As . h. Ωb . 3. τ. Constraint (αEM 102 ) Ö Data BOOMERanG-DASI-COBE + BBN COBE-BOOMERanG-MAXIMA WMAP-1 WMAP-1 WMAP-1 WMAP-1 + HST WMAP-3 (TT. that is the energy received in a given direction per unit area. Gravitation and Cosmology 67 Table 11: Summary of the latest constraints on the variation of fundamental constants obtained from the analysis of cosmological data and more particularly of CMB data.18] [–2.7] [–5. me ) same (Ωmat . 1. ns ) (Ωmat h2 . Θ.3] on 21 cm.EE) WMAP-7 + H0 + SDSS Comment BBN with αEM only (Ωmat . kB Tb ≃ Iν c2 /2ν 2 . τ. 4. me Ref. me . τ. (︂ )︂ )︂ (︂ 1 1 1 Tγ 1 dTs 2 = 4C10 − Ts + (1 + z )HA10 − (118) dt Ts Tg Ts Tγ T∗ The ﬁrst term corresponds to the collision de-excitation rate from triplet to singlet and the coeﬃcient C10 is decomposed as eH C10 = κHH 10 np + κ10 xe np with the respective contribution of H-H and e-H collisions.

It is motivating since Cℓ (zobs ) is expected to depend on the correlators of the fundamental constants. It was estimated that a single station telescope like LWA9 or LOFAR10 can lead to a constraint of the order of ∆αEM /αEM ∼ 0.8.org/lrr-2011-2 . e. Thus. ⟨αEM (x..g. but full in-depth analysis is still required (see [206. we have to consider those arising from the collision terms. of the cosmological perturbations. it oﬀers an interesting possibility to trace the constraints on the evolution of the fundamental constants between the CMB epoch and the quasar absorption spectra. Note that the signal can also be aﬀected by a time variation of the gravitational constant through the expansion history of the universe.g.. e. the neutron to proton ratio. electrons. The standard BBN scenario [117. power spectrum. the number of neutrino families. (119) As long as statistical equilibrium holds.869 × 10−15 s−1 . for T > 1 MeV. positrons an neutrinos are kept in statistical equilibrium by the (rapid) weak interaction n ←→ p + e− + ν ¯e . The 3 παEM ν21 me 5 brightness temperature depends on the fundamental constant as Tb ∝ gp µαEM /me .g.edu http://www. In natural units. which is between the CMB observation and the formation of the ﬁrst stars. besides the standard parameters such as.8 3. the 21 cm observation opens a observational window on the fundamental at redshifts ranging typically from 30 to 100. The 21 cm absorption signal in a available on a band of redshift typically ranging from z 1000 to z ∼ 20. Beside the same dependencies of the CMB that arise from the Thomson scattering cross section. zobs )αEM (x′ .g.. The eﬀect on the angular power spectrum have been estimated but still require an in depth analysis along the lines of. In conclusion. the knowledge of the cosmological parameters is a limitation since a change of 1% in the baryon density or the Hubble parameter implies a 2% (3% respectively) on the mean bolometric temperature. e.3% for the full LWA. that is during the “dark age”. The fundamental challenge for such a measurement is the subtraction of the foreground. improving to 0. n + νe ←→ p + e− . αW . focusing only on αEM . It follows that it scales as A10 ∝ gp µ αEM me . n + e+ ←→ p + ν ¯e .68 Jean-Philippe Uzan Both quantities depend on the value of the fundamental constants. even though it will also depend on the initial condition.livingreviews. the neutron-proton mass diﬀerence and the nuclear reaction rates. 409] proceeds in three main steps: 1. The result of Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN) thus depends on G. [284] (see also [221] for further discussions).unm. showed that this was the dominant eﬀect on a variation of the fundamental constant (the eﬀect on C10 is much complicated to determine but was argued to be much smaller).org Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 286] for a critical discussion of this probe).85%. αEM and αS respectively through the expansion rate. [329]. zobs )⟩ and thus in principle allows to study their ﬂuctuation. protons. e.lofar..1 Big bang nucleosynthesis Overview The amount of 4 He produced during the big bang nucleosynthesis is mainly determined by the neutron to proton ratio at the freeze-out of the weak interactions that interconvert neutrons and protons. (t < 1 s) a ﬁrst stage during which the neutrons. the neutron to proton ratio is (n/p) = e−Qnp /kB T 9 10 (120) http://lwa. the Einstein coeﬃcient scaling is given by 3 −2 3 3 13 A12 = 2 ∼ 2. As for CMB. 3.

29 MeV.26 being the = + with tN ∝ G and 2 . the weak interactions freeze out at a temperature Tf determined by the competition between the weak interaction rates and the expansion rate of the universe and thus roughly determined by Γw (Tf ) ∼ H (Tf ) that is √︀ 5 G2 GN∗ (kB Tf )2 (122) F (kB Tf ) ∼ where GF is the Fermi constant and N∗ the number of relativistic degrees of freedom at Tf .1 MeV when p + n reactions proceed faster than their inverse dissociation. are then obtained by solving a series of nuclear reactions ˙ i = J − ΓYi . 107] for η . For 0.8 MeV (t ∼ 2 s). 2. this gives a dependence axial/vector coupling of the nucleon. Yi . the number of neutrons and protons change only from the neutron β -decay between Tf to TN ∼ 0. there exists a discrepancy between the predicted abundance of lithium-7 based on the WMAP results [108. The abundances of the light element abundances. Below Tf .Varying Constants.19 ± 0. Yp .14 ± 0.636 G2 F (1 3 2 3gA )m5 e /(2π ).50) × 10−10 and its values measured in metal-poor halo stars in our galaxy [63]. η can be determined independently from the analysis of the cosmic microwave background anisotropies and the WMAP data [296] have led to to the conclusion that η = ηWMAP = (6. Around T ∼ 0. deuterium and lithium-7. is then well estimated by Yp ≃ 2 with (n/p)N = (n/p)f exp(−tN /τn ) −1/2 −2 TN −1 τn (n/p)N 1 + (n/p)N (124) (125) with gA ≃ 1. This happens roughly when nd ∼ η 2 exp(−BD /TN ) ∼ 1 (123) nγ with η ∼ 3 × 10−10 . the synthesis of light elements occurs only by two-body reactions.05 MeV < T < 0. helium-3. Assuming that BD ∝ αS 2 2 tN /τp ∝ G−1/2 αS GF . η the baryon-photon ratio and BA ≡ (Zmp + (A − Z )mn − mA )c2 the binding energy. On the other hand. This requires the deuteron to be synthesized (p + n → D) and the photon density must be low enough for the photo-dissociation to be negligible. Figure 6 summarizes the observational constraints obtained on helium-4. From an observational point of view. The abundance of 4 He by mass. 7 Li/H = 1. At present. 7 Li/H = (5. The abundance of the other light elements is given by [409] (︂ YA = gA ζ (3) √ π )︂A−1 2(3A−5)/2 A5/2 [︂ kB T mN c2 ]︂3(A−1)/2 Z A−Z BA /kB T η A−1 Yp Yn e .15) × 10−10 . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. (121) where gA is the number of degrees of freedom of the nucleus A Z X.6 MeV (3 s < t < 6 min). Y where J and Γ are time-dependent source and sink terms. This number being ﬁxed. mN is the nucleon mass. 4. the light elements abundances can be computed as a function of η and compared to their observed abundances. Gravitation and Cosmology 69 where Qnp ≡ (mn − mp )c2 = 1.org/lrr-2011-2 .livingreviews. 3. all abundances can be computed.

Kolb et al. For instance. which is a factor of three lower. the neutron-proton mass diﬀerence enters in the neutron-proton ratio and we also have a dependence in (5) mN and me and (6) the binding energies.2 of FVC [500]) generally focused on one of these parameters. the ﬁne-structure constant. Let us now see how the eﬀect of all these parameters are now accounted for in BBN codes. [295] calculated the dependence of primordial 4 He on G. If we focus on helium-4.2 Constants everywhere. is three times smaller than ηWMAP . This rough rule of thumb explains that the solution of the lithium-7 problem may lie in a possible variation of the fundamental constants (see below for details).C. since from Equation (123). In the non-relativistic limit. (3) αEM . ﬁrst by determining the dependencies of the light element abundances on the BBN parameters and then by relating those parameters to the fundamental constants. in all the binding energies.1. it is obtained as the thermal average of the product of the cross. mainly because 4 He has a larger binding energy. [260]).org/lrr-2011-2 . Campbell and Olive [77] kept track of the changes in ∆Qnp ∆Y Tf Tf and Qnp separately and deduced that Ypp ≃ ∆ Tf − Qnp while more recently the analysis [308] focused on αEM and v . which will aﬀect the Hubble expansion rate at the time of nucleosynthesis in the same way as extra-relativistic degrees of freedom do. letting TN unchanged. than the predicted value.8. at least [116] (see also [469]). It enters in the Coulomb barriers of the reaction rates through the Gamow factor. one just need ∆BD /TN ∼ − ln 9 so that the eﬀective η parameter. its abundance mainly depends on Qnp . the relative velocity and the the number densities. τn ).livingreviews. GF and Qnp to deduce that the helium-4 abundance was mostly sensitive in the change in Qnp and that other abundances were less sensitive to the value of Qnp . [51] started to focus on the αEM -dependence of the thermonuclear rates (see also Ref. (2) τn . To extract the constraint on the ﬁne-structure constant. Early studies (see Section III. It is the only weak interaction parameter and it is related to the Fermi constant GF . they decomposed Qnp as Qnp = αEM Qα + βQβ where the ﬁrst term represents the electromagnetic contribution and the second part corresponds to all non-electromagnetic contributions. Tf and TN (and hence mainly on the neutron lifetime. or equivalently the Higgs vev. Charged particles must tunnel through a Coulomb barrier to react. just by modifying the deuterium binding energy. This is the only gravitational sector parameter. Assuming that Qα and Qβ are constant and that the electromagnetic contribution is the dominant part of Q. the low-energy cross section can be written as σ (E ) = S (E ) −2πη(E ) e E (126) where η (E ) arises from the Coulomb barrier and is given in terms of the charges and the reduced Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. The analysis of the previous Section 3.8.26±0. (4) Qnp .70 Jean-Philippe Uzan (1. Separating the Coulomb part. the eﬀect of varying constants on the BBN predictions is diﬃcult to model because of the intricate structure of QCD and its role in low energy nuclear reactions.26)×10−10 . Thus. assuming no variation of constant. Changing αEM modiﬁes these barriers and thus the reaction rates. that was restricted to the helium-4 case. . In complete generality. Clearly all these parameters are not independent but their relation is often model-dependent. A back of the envelope estimates shows that we can mimic a lower η parameter. the neutron lifetime dictates the free neutron decay and appears in the normalization of the proton-neutron reaction rates. clearly shows that the abundances will depend on: (1) αG . 3. so that it modiﬁes the freeze-out time Tf . Bergstr¨ om et al. a solution is to proceed in two steps. . its abundances is less sensitive to the weak reaction rate and more to the parameters ﬁxing the value of (n/p). No solution to this Lithium-7 problem is known. they deduced that |∆αEM /αEM | < 10−2 .

017 using only deuterium and helium-4 since the lithium-7 problem was still present. BD ) to (αEM . They further related (τn . BD . neglecting the eﬀect of αEM on the . Focusing on the TN -dependence. p)3 H and 7 Be(n. assuming G constant where the variation of τn and the variation of the masses where tied to these parameters but the eﬀect on the binding energies were not considered. Keeping all other constants ﬁxed.53 0. v. me .405 concluded that YHe ∝ αEM v me τn Qnp BD G for independent variations.org/lrr-2011-2 . it was deduced that |∆αEM /αEM | < 2 × 10−2 . Many studies then tried to determinate the sensitivity to the variation of many independent parameters. Then the focus fell on the deuterium binding energy. it was concluded [207] that ∆BD /BD < 0.010 with these modiﬁcations.livingreviews. γ )D depends exponentially on BD and on the fact that the deuterium is in a shallow bound state. All these rates need to be multiplied by (1 + ∆αEM /αEM ).075. Ωb h2 }. [104] considered the eﬀect of a variation of (Qnp . Gravitation and Cosmology 71 mass Mr of the two interacting particles as √︂ η (E ) = αEM Z1 Z2 Mr c2 . (2) The radiative capture (photon emitting processes) are proportional to αEM since it is the strength of the coupling of the photon and nuclear currents.24 −1. v. Coc et al.043 2. 3 He(n. Their dependence on the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. me ) on the abundances of the light elements up to lithium-7. Qnp . it was concluded that ∆αEM /αEM = −0.7 s for the neutron. This eﬀect is generally weak because the Qi -values (energy release) of the diﬀerent reactions are generally larger than the Coulomb barrier at the exception of two cases. BD . BD } independently. 158. Qnp . me . mN . For helium-4 abundance these eﬀects are negligible since the main αEM -dependence arises from Qnp . [385] also took into account (1) the eﬀect that when two charged particles are produced they must escape the Coulomb barrier. GF . σ (E ) = EM 1 2 c2 exp2πη(E ) −1 Ref. τn .8. ∑︁ (X ) ∆ ln YHe = ci ∆ ln Xi i and assuming ΛQCD ﬁxed (so that the seven parameters are in fact dimensionless quantities).8 0. [309] up to lithium-7 considering the parameters {αEM . This shows that the situation is more complex and that one cannot reduce the analysis to a single varying parameter. as we shall discuss in the next Section 3. It was −0. Flambaum and Shuryak [207. This analysis was then extended [385] to take into account the αEM dependence of the form factor to conclude that √︂ Mr c2 2πη (E ) ≃ 2 πα Z Z exp−2πη(E ) . τn .024 0. assuming no exotic eﬀects and taking a lifetime of 886. Its value mainly sets the beginning of the nucleosynthesis. [364] considering the dependence on the parameters {Xi } ≡ {G. 2E (127) The form factor S (E ) has to be extrapolated from experimental nuclear data but its αEM -dependence as well as the one of the reduced mass were neglected. The rate of these reactions must be multiplied by a factor (1 + ai ∆αEM /αEM ). The importance of BD is easily understood by the fact that the equilibrium abundance of deuterium and the reaction rate p(n. 157] illustrated the sensitivity of the light element abundances on BD .Varying Constants. ΛQCD . Equipped . (3) The electromagnetic contribution to all masses was taken into account. The sensitivity of the helium-4 abundance to the variation of 7 parameters was ﬁrst investigated by M¨ uller et al. p)7 Li. αEM . which modify the Qi -values as Qi → Qi + qi ∆αEM /αEM ). (X ) The ci are the sensitivities to the BBN parameters. md − mu ).3. This was generalized by Landau et al. assuming the six others are ﬁxed.4 0. 208.007+0 −0. that is of TN since the temperature must low-enough in order for the photo-dissociation of the deuterium to be negligible (this is at the origin of the deuterium bottleneck).

D/H 0.24 0.02 0 0. Qnp and τn variations Mass fraction He/H.23 0.24 0. (right): Dependence of the light element abundance on the independent variation of the BBN parameters.72 Jean-Philippe Uzan WMAP 2009 10 -2 ΩBh 2 me.25 0. The vertical line depicts the constraint obtained on η from the study of the cosmic microwave background data.08 -0.22 10 -4 Mass fraction 0. From [105] Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.06 -0.26 0. BD.1 η×10 10 ∆x/x Figure 6: (Left): variation of the light element abundances in function of η compared to the spectroscopic abundances.08 0.livingreviews. D/H me τn 10 -5 D 3 3 10 -6 3 He Li/H 10 -5 10 Li/H 7 10 7 -9 7 Li 10 -9 Qnp BD -10 10 -10 10 WMAP 1 10 -0.06 0.org/lrr-2011-2 .22 -3 10 -4 He He/H.23 0.25 0. The lithium-7 problem lies in the fact that ηspectro < ηWMAP .02 0.26 4 0. assuming η = ηWMAP .1 -0.04 -0.04 0. From [107].

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independent variation of each of these parameters is depicted on Figure 6. It conﬁrmed the result of [207, 394] that the deuterium binding energy is the most sensitive parameter. From the helium-4 data alone, the bounds − 8.2 × 10−2 and − 7.5 × 10−2 ∆τn τn 6 × 10−2 , −4 × 10−2 ∆Qnp Qnp 2.7 × 10−2 , (128)

∆B D BD

6.5 × 10−2 ,

(129)

at a 2σ level, were set (assuming ηWMAP ). The deuterium data set the tighter constraint −4 × 10−2 ∆ ln BD 3 × 10−2 . Note also on Figure 6 that the lithium-7 abundance can be brought in concordance with the spectroscopic observations provided that BD was smaller during BBN −7.5 × 10−2 ∆B D BD −4 × 10−2 ,

so that BD may be the most important parameter to resolve the lithium-7 problem. The eﬀect of the quark mass on the binding energies was described in [49]. They then concluded that a variation of ∆mq /mq = 0.013 ± 0.002 allows to reconcile the abundance of lithium-7 and the value of η deduced from WMAP. This analysis was extended [146] to incorporate the eﬀect of 13 independent BBN parameters including the parameters considered before plus the binding energies of deuterium, tritium, helium3, helium-4, lithium-6, lithium-7 and beryllium-7. The sensitivity of the light element abundances to the independent variation of these parameters is summarized in Table I of [146]. These BBN parameters were then related to the same 6 “fundamental” parameters used in [364]. All these analyses demonstrate that the eﬀects of the BBN parameters on the light element abundances are now under control. They have been implemented in BBN codes and most results agree, as well as with semi-analytical estimates. As long as these parameters are assume to vary independently, no constraints sharper than 10–2 can be set. One should also not forget to take into account standard parameters of the BBN computation such as η and the eﬀective number of relativistic particle. 3.8.3 From BBN parameters to fundamental constants

To reduce the number parameters, we need to relate the BBN parameters to more fundamental ones, keeping in mind that this can usually be done only in a model-dependent way. We shall describe some of the relations that have been used in many studies. They mainly concern Qnp , τn and BD . At lowest order, all dimensional parameters of QCD, e.g., masses, nuclear energies etc., are to a good approximation simply proportional to some powers of ΛQCD . One needs to go beyond such a description and takes the eﬀects of the masses of the quarks into account. Qnp can be expressed in terms of the mass on the quarks u and d and the ﬁne-structure constant as Qnp = aαEM ΛQCD + (md − mu ), where the electromagnetic contribution today is (aαEM ΛQCD )0 = −0.76 MeV and therefore the quark mass contribution today is (md − mu ) = 2.05 [230] so that ∆αEM ∆(md − mu ) ∆Qnp = −0.59 + 1.59 . Qnp αEM (md − mu ) All the analyses cited above agree on this dependence. (130)

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Jean-Philippe Uzan

The neutron lifetime can be well approximated by [︁√︀ (︁ )︁]︁ 2 √︀ 1 + 3gA 2 5 2 − 1(2q 4 − 9q 2 − 8) + 15 ln q + 2−1 G m q q , F e 120π 3 √ with q ≡ Qnp /me and GF = 1/ 2v 2 . Using the former expression for Qnp we can express τn in terms of αEM , v and the u, d and electron masses. It follows

−1 τn =

∆τ n ∆αEM ∆v ∆me ∆(md − mu ) = 3.86 +4 + 1.52 − 10.4 . τn αEM v me (md − mu )

(131)

Again, all the analyses cited above agree on this dependence. Let us now turn to the binding energies, and more particularly to BD that, as we have seen, is a crucial parameter. This is one the better known quantities in the nuclear domain and it is experimentally measured to a precision better than 10–6 [19]. Two approaches have been followed.

Pion mass. A ﬁrst route is to use the dependence of the binding energy on the pion mass [188, 38], which is related to the u and d quark masses by

¯ ⟩f −2 ≃ m m2 ¯u + dd ˆ ΛQCD , π = mq ⟨u π

1 ¯ ⟩f −2 depends only where mq ≡ 2 (mu + md ) and assuming that the leading order of ⟨u ¯u + dd π on ΛQCD , fπ being the pion decay constant. This dependence was parameterized [553] as

∆B D ∆m π = −r , BD mπ where r is a ﬁtting parameter found to be between 6 [188] and 10 [38]. Prior to this result, the analysis of [207] provides two computations of this dependence, which respectively lead to r = −3 and r = 18 while, following the same lines, [88] got r = 0.082. [364], following the computations of [426], adds an electromagnetic contribution −0.0081∆αEM /αEM so that ∆BD r ∆mq ∆αEM =− − 0.0081 , (132) BD 2 mq αEM but this latter contribution has not been included in other work.

Sigma model. In the framework of the Walecka model, where the potential for the nuclear forces keeps only the σ and ω meson exchanges,

V =−

2 g2 gs exp(−mσ r) + v exp(−mω r), 4πr 4πr

where gs and gv are two coupling constants. Describing σ as a SU(3) singlet state, its mass was related to the mass of the strange quark. In this way one can hope to take into account the eﬀect of the strange quark, both on the nucleon mass and the binding energy. In a second step BD is related to the meson and nucleon mass by ∆B D ∆mσ ∆m ω ∆mN = −48 + 50 +6 BD mσ mω mN so that ∆BD /BD ≃ −17∆ms ms [208]. Unfortunately, a complete treatment of all the nuclear quantities on ms has not been performed yet.

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The case of the binding energies of the other elements has been less studied. [146] follows a route similar than for BD and relates them to pion mass and assumes that ∂Bi BD = fi (Ai − 1) r ≃ −0.13fi (Ai − 1), ∂mπ mπ where fi are unknown coeﬃcients assumed to be of order unity and Ai is the number of nucleons. No other estimates has been performed. Other nuclear potentials (such as Reid 93 potential, Nijmegen potential, Argonne v 18 potential and Bonn potential) have been used in [101] to determine the dependence of BD on v and agree with previous studies. These analyses allow one to reduce all the BBN parameter to the physical constants (αEM , v , me , md − mu , mq ) and G that is not aﬀected by this discussion. This set can be further reduced, since all the masses can be expressed in terms of v as mi = hi v , where hi are Yukawa couplings. To go further, one needs to make more assumption, such as grand uniﬁcation, or by relating the Yukawa coupling of the top to v by assuming that weak scale is determined by dimensional transmutation [104], or that the variation of the constant is induced by a string dilaton [77]. At each step, one gets more stringent constraints, which can reach the 10–4 [146] to 10–5 [104] level but indeed more model-dependent! 3.8.4 Conclusion

Primordial nucleosynthesis oﬀers a possibility to test almost all fundamental constants of physics at a redshift of z ∼ 108 . This makes it very rich but indeed the eﬀect of each constant is more diﬃcult to disentangle. The eﬀect of the BBN parameters has been quantiﬁed with precision and they can be constrained typically at a 10–2 level, and in particular it seems that the most sensitive parameter is the deuterium binding energy. The link with more fundamental parameters is better understood but the dependence of the deuterium binding energy still left some uncertainties and a good description of the eﬀect of the strange quark mass is missing. We have not considered the variation of G in this section. Its eﬀect is disconnected from the other parameters. Let us just stress that assuming the BBN sensitivity on G by just modifying its value may be misleading. In particular G can vary a lot during the electron-positron annihilation so that the BBN constraints can in general not be described by an eﬀective speed-up factor [105, 134].

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to a non-gravitational time scale. such as the motion of the bodies of the Solar system..76 Jean-Philippe Uzan 4 The Gravitational Constant The gravitational constant was the ﬁrst constant whose constancy was questioned [155]. It follows that most constraints are obtained from systems in which gravity is non-negligible. We also emphasize that constraints on the variation of G are meant to be constraints on the dimensionless parameter αG . An early analysis 11 The CODATA is the COmmittee on Data for Science and Technology. A main diﬃculty arises from tidal dissipation that also causes the mean distance and orbital period to increase (for tidal changes 2n/n ˙ + 3a/a ˙ = 0). which demonstrates the diﬃculty in measuring the value of this constant.674 28(67) Ö 10–11 m3 kg–1 s–2 so that its relative standard uncertainty ﬁxed by the CODATA11 in 2006 is 0. e. e. Similarly all absorption lines will be shifted in the same way. This accounts for comparing a gravitational time scale (related to the orbital motion) and an atomic time scale and it is thus assumed that the variation of atomic constants is negligible over the time of the experiment. We refer to Section IV of FVC [500] for earlier constraints based. A variation of the gravitational constant.codata. on the determination 1.1 [224]. in 1998. P G (133) Earlier constraints rely on paleontological data and ancient eclipses observations (see Section IV. the disparity between diﬀerent experiments led. 4.25 M⊙ and gives a constraint of the order of |∆G/G| < 0. and in particular the time variation of G. It follows that in general the constraints assume that the values of the other constants are ﬁxed. the atomic transitions or the nuclear physics. or on the estimation of the Earth radius at diﬀerent geological epochs. which roughly scales as G2. In particular.livingreviews.org/. ˙.1 of FVC [500]) and none of them are very reliable. being a pure gravitational phenomenon. This explains partly why the constraints on the time variation are less stringent than for the other constants. The ﬁrst constraint arises from the Earth-Moon system. to a temporary increase of this uncertainty to 0. From a theoretical point of view. but not as in the same ratio as for G The Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) experiment has measured the relative position of the Moon with respect to the Earth with an accuracy of the order of 1 cm over 3 decades. A decrease in G would induce both the Lunar mean distance and period to increase. does not aﬀect the local physics. They are mostly related in the comparison of a gravitational time scale.B.org/lrr-2011-2 .1 Solar systems constraints Monitoring the orbits of the various bodies of the solar system oﬀers a possibility to constrain deviations from general relativity. one has ˙ ˙ G P = −2 . The value of the gravitational constant is G = 6. e. Interestingly. theories with a varying gravitational constant can be designed to satisfy the equivalence principle in its weak form but not in its strong form [540] (see also Section 5).01%. period of orbits. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. As long as the gravitational binding energy is negligible. see http://www.75 of the Earth surface temperature. it is equivalent at stating that the masses of all particles are varying in the same way to that their ratios remain constant. Taking their variation into account would add degeneracies and make the constraints cited below less stringent.g.. A time variation of G is then related to a variation of the mean motion (n = 2π/P ) of the orbit of the Moon around the Earth.15% [241]. such as. astrophysical and cosmological systems..g. Most theories of gravity that violate the strong equivalence principle predict that the locally measured gravitational constant may vary with time.g.

Venus and Mercury with a caesium atomic clock between 1964 and 1969. Gravitation and Cosmology 77 ˙ | ≤ 3 × 10−11 yr−1 . G⃒ 0 The major contribution to the uncertainty is due to the modeling of the dynamics of the asteroids on the Earth-Mars range.2 Pulsar timing Contrary to the solar system case. the main uncertainty arising from Lunar tidal acceleration.04 × 10−11 yr−1 . The data were ﬁtted to the theoretical equation of motion for the bodies in a Schwarzschild spacetime. This was improved to |G/G cluding Mariner 9 and Mars orbiter data [429]. ˙ | < 3 × 10−11 yr−1 . assuming a Brans–Dicke theory. In that case. scalar-tensor gravity) and compute all the eﬀects in this model or one has a more phenomenological approach and tries to put some model-independent bounds. Using the same data but a diﬀerent modeling of the asteroids. both a dipole gravitational radiation and the variation of G induce a periodic variation in the pulse period. 4. [458] compared radar-echo time delays between Earth. Nordtvedt [386] showed that the orbital period changes as [︂ ]︂ ˙ ˙ P 2(m1 c1 + m2 c2 ) + 3(m1 c2 + m2 c1 ) G =− 2+ P m1 + m2 G (137) where ci ≡ δ ln mi /δ ln G. He concluded that for the pulsar PSR 1913+16 (m1 ≃ m2 and c1 ≃ c2 ) one gets ˙ ˙ P G = − [2 + 5c] . the dependence of the gravitational binding energy cannot be neglected while computing the time variation of the period. 24 years of data.org/lrr-2011-2 .5 × 10−10 yr−1 by intion of the planet reﬂecting the radar. G⃒ 0 Reasenberg et al. Here two approaches can be followed.0 ± 2.Varying Constants. which was then improved by Chandler et al. [93] to Reasenberg [428] got |G/G −11 −1 ˙ |G/G| < 10 yr . Shapiro et al. |G/G using all available astrometric data and in particular the ranging data from Viking landers on Mars deduced that ⃒ ˙⃒ G ⃒ (136) ⃒ = (2 ± 4) × 10−12 yr−1 .. They concluded that |G/G The data concerning Venus cannot be used due to imprecision in the determination of the por˙ | < 1. Eardley [177] followed the ﬁrst route and discussed the eﬀects of a time variation of the gravitational constant on binary pulsar in the framework of the Brans–Dicke theory. either one sticks to a model (e. With. [249] spacecraft and deduced. one reached [542] ˙ | ≤ 6 × 10−12 yr−1 and ﬁnally.0) × 10−12 yr−1 . Hellings et al.livingreviews. perturbations from the Moon and other planets. The combination of Mariner 10 an Mercury and Venus ranging data gives [12] ⃒ ˙⃒ G ⃒ (135) ⃒ = (0. of this data [544] assuming a Brans–Dicke theory of gravitation gave that |G/G ˙ It was improved [365] by using 20 years of observation to get |G/G| ≤ 1. Hellings et al. taking into account the ˙ | < 4 × 10−10 yr−1 . [249] also tried to attribute their result to a time variation of the atomic constants. (138) P G Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the latest analysis of the Lunar laser ranging experiment [543] |G/G increased the constraint to ⃒ ˙⃒ G ⃒ (134) ⃒ = (4 ± 9) × 10−13 yr−1 . G⃒ 0 Similarly. [430] considered the 14 months data obtained from the ranging of the Viking ˙ | < 10−12 yr−1 . The analysis was further extended [457] to give ˙ G/G = (−2 ± 10) × 10−12 yr−1 .g.

Assuming that the angular momentum is conserved so that I/P = constant. He also noted that a positive G induces a spin-up counteracting the electromagnetic spin-down. Heintzmann and Hillebrandt [248] then modelled the pulsar by a polytropic (P ∝ ρn ) white dwarf and deduced that ˙ | < 10−10 yr−1 .10 ± 1. [127] used the timing data of the binary pulsar PSR 1913+16. They got ˙ G/G = (1. They imple˙ /P . He used the data from the pulsar PSR 0655+64 to deduce that the rate of decrease of G was smaller than ˙ 0 ≤ −G/G < 5. one deduces that ⃒ (︂ )︂ ˙ ˙⃒ d ln I G P ⃒ . (143) ⃒ = P⃒ d ln G G G (141) The observational spin-down can be decomposed as ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ ˙⃒ ˙⃒ ˙⃒ P P P ⃒ ⃒ ⃒ + ⃒ ⃒ = ⃒ P⃒ P⃒ P⃒ obs mag GW ⃒ ˙⃒ P ⃒ + ⃒ . emission of gravitational waves. [282] used data from PSR B1913+16 and PSR B1855+09 respectively to get ˙ G/G = (4 ± 5) × 10−12 yr−1 and ˙ G/G = (−9 ± 18) × 10−12 yr−1 . (142) the latter case being more “secure” since the orbiting companion is not a neutron star. following Eardley [177].5δ P /P . he estimated that cEarth ∼ −5 × 10−10 . |G/G (146) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.3 × 10−11 yr−1 .78 Jean-Philippe Uzan the coeﬃcient c being model dependent.0 ± 2. (145) The analysis [516] of 10 years high precision timing data on the millisecond pulsar PSR J0437-4715 has allowed to improve the constraint to ˙ | < 2. P⃒ G (144) ˙ /Pmag and P ˙ /PGW are positive deﬁnite. used the scaling relations N ∝ G−3/2 and M ∝ G−5/2 to deduce that 2d ln I/d ln G = −5 + 3d ln I/d ln N .07) × 10−11 yr−1 . when G < 6. This theory-independent deﬁnition has to be contrasted with the theory-dependent result (138) by Nordtvedt [386].3) × 10−11 yr−1 . mented the eﬀect of the time variation of G by considering the eﬀect on P ˙ ˙ ˙ in a phenomenological way. where δ P is the part of the orbital period derivative that is not explained otherwise (by gravitational waves radiation damping). it follows that P ˙ /Pobs ≥ P ˙ /PG so that a bound Since P ˙ on G can be inferred if the main pulse period is the period of rotation. Heintzmann and Hillebrandt [248] related the spin-down of the pulsar JP1953 to a time variation of G. that G/G = −0. Damour et al. (139) Damour and Taylor [137] then reexamined the data of PSR 1913+16 and established the upper bound ˙ G/G < (1. cMoon ∼ −10−8 and cSun ∼ −4 × 10−6 justifying the formula used in the solar system. Goldman [233]. The spin-down is a combined eﬀect of electromagnetic losses.livingreviews. (140) Kaspi et al.org/lrr-2011-2 . Mansﬁeld [344] assumed a relativistic degend ln I/d ln G = 2 − 3n/2 so that |G/G ˙ < 0. possible spin-up due to matter accretion. which can provide another bound if an independent estimate of the pulsar magnetic ﬁeld can be obtained. As another application. All the previous results concern binary pulsars but isolated ones can also be used. They deﬁned.5 × 10−11 yr−1 .8 × 10−11 yr−1 ˙ at a 2σ level. zero temperature polytropic star and got that. 0 ≤ −G/G ˙ erate.

[140] found that low-mass stars evolving from the Zero Age Main Sequence to the red giant branch satisfy L ∝ G5. Note also that they usually require to have a precise distance determination of the star. due to the changing hydrostatic equilibrium. basically two types of methods have been used. Delg’Innocenti et al. see Section IV. following the idea that Thomson scattering contributes signiﬁcantly to the opacity inside such stars. determined for instance from the luminosity of the main-sequence turn-oﬀ. It follows that the main stage of the stellar evolution. and |G/G in [302] in order to take into account the correlation between the surface temperatures and the ˙ | < 2. radii of some old neutron stars to get |G/G 4. The idea of using stellar evolution to constrain the possible value of G was originally proposed by Teller [487]. being the only control parameter. radius). considering only modiﬁed Urca reactions.6 M 4. will adjust to compensate the modiﬁcation of the intensity of the gravity. and in particular the lifetimes of the various stars. have to be compatible with Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. in the case of the opacity being dominated by pure Thomson scattering. and a second in which only a statistical measurement of the change of G can be inferred. Gamow [224] found that the luminosity of the star is given approximately by L ∝ G7. which are very sensitive to the temperature. concluding that under the Dirac hypothesis.org/lrr-2011-2 . which release energy that is invested partly in neutrino emission and partly in heating the stellar interior. In the case of the Sun.livingreviews. which may depend on G. Indeed. Eventually. direct Urca reactions operating in the neutron star core are obtained.5 . Gravitation and Cosmology 79 Recently. inferred from ultraviolet observations. therefore we need to increase the initial content of hydrogen to obtain the present observed Sun. the ﬁrst in which on relate the variation of G to some physical characteristic of a star (luminosity. In the case of non-degenerate stars. two upper limits for variation were ˙ | < 2 × 10−10 yr−1 .Varying Constants. 487].C of FVC [500]. It follows from the previous analysis that the evolution of the star on the main sequence is highly sensitive to the value of G.3 Stellar constraints Early works. as the forcing through the change of G is balanced by the ongoing reactions. PSR J0437-4715. In a numerical test of the previous expression. it was argued [266. Indeed.1 × 10−11 yr−1 . the temperature.8 M 5.3. Comparing the surface temperature of the nearest millisecond pulsar. The luminosity of a main sequence star can be expressed as a function of Newton’s gravitational constant and its mass by using homology relations [224. 4. |G/G ˙ | < 4 × 10−12 yr−1 . This was extended allowed. This would aﬀect the hydrostatic equilibrium of the star and in particular its pressure proﬁle. the star arrives at a stationary state in which the temperature remains nearly constant. will be modiﬁed. the ﬁrst class of methods are more reliable and robust but is usually restricted to nearby stars. and thus the nuclear time scales associated to the various processes. the luminosity of the star is given by L ∝ G4 M 3 . In the particular case that the opacity is dominated by free-free transitions. who stressed that the evolution of a star was strongly dependent on G. This would force non-equilibrium β -processes to occur.7 . Their ages. This results from the fact that an increase of the gravitational constant is equivalent to an increase of the star density (because of the Poisson equation). 432] that a variation of G would induce a departure of the neutron star matter from β -equilibrium. which agrees to within 10% of the numerical results. As we shall see. studied the Solar evolution in presence of a time varying gravitational constant. It will then aﬀect the nuclear reaction rates. the original nuclear resources of the Sun would have been burned by now. the burning of hydrogen will be more eﬃcient and the star evolves more rapidly.1 Ages of globular clusters The ﬁrst application of these idea has been performed with globular clusters. this would mean that for higher values of G. eﬀective temperature. The driving idea behind the stellar constraints is that a secular variation of G leads to a variation of the gravitational interaction.

Ricci and Villante [436] studied the eﬀect of a variation of G on the density and pressure proﬁle of the Sun and concluded that present data cannot constrain G better than 10−2 %...1 over the last 4. Guenther et al.e. The standard solar model depends on few parameters and G plays a important role since stellar evolution is dictated by the balance between gravitation and other interactions.1) × 10−11 yr−1 . [240] also showed that g -modes could corresponds to |G/G provide even much tighter constraints but these modes are up to now very diﬃcult to observe. the central densities and abundances of helium and hydrogen.15% higher than the inverted helioseismic sound speed [335].5 × 10 yr .6 × 10−12 yr−1 . using the claim of detection by Hill and Gu [251]. Their structure is supported against gravitational collapse by the pressure of degenerate electrons.livingreviews. The observation of the period of non-radial pulsations of white dwarf allows to set similar constraints. In particular the uncertainties for the standard solar model lead to a range in the value of the sound speed in the nuclear region that is as much as 0. [283] for a white dwarf model taking into account a varying G). This gives the constraint [140] ˙ G/G = (−1.2 Solar and stellar seismology A side eﬀect of the change of luminosity is a change in the depth of the convection zone so that the inner edge of the convecting zone changes its location.80 Jean-Philippe Uzan the estimation of the age of the galaxy.3. Helioseismology. In particular. which ˙ | < 2 × 10−11 yr−1 . Guenther et al. White dwarfs. This opens the way to use seismological techniques to investigate their internal properties. ˙ | < Nevertheless. and helioseismology allows one to determine the sound speed in the core of the Sun and. Astronomical observations determines GM⊙ with an accuracy better than 10−7 and a variation of G with GM⊙ ﬁxed 2 2 3 induces a change of the pressure (P = GM⊙ /R⊙ ) and density (ρ = M⊙ /R⊙ ). that |G/G −12 −1 4. any deﬁnite prediction is masked by the uncertainties in the solar models available in the literature. i.org/lrr-2011-2 . These waves are observed for our star.5 × 109 years. p-modes [141]. A variation of G induces a modiﬁcation of the degree of degeneracy of the white dwarf. their non-radial oscillations is mostly determined by the Brunt–V¨ ais¨ al¨ a frequency d ln P 1/γ1 /ρ N2 = g dr where g is the gravitational acceleration. Demarque et al. The experimental uncertainties in G between diﬀerent experiments have important implications for helioseismology.g. the Sun. they concluded.4 ± 2. [239] then compared the p-mode spectra predicted by diﬀerent theories with varying gravitational constant to the observed spectrum obtained by a network of six telescopes and deduced that ⃒ ⃒ ⃒˙ ⃒ (148) ⃒G/G⃒ < 1. hence on the frequency N Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. [141] considered an ansatz in which G ∝ t−β and showed that |β | < 0. White dwarfs represent the ﬁnal stage of the stellar evolution for stars with a mass smaller to about 10 M⊙ . (147) The eﬀect of a possible time dependence of G on luminosity has been studied in the case of globular cluster H-R diagrams but has not yielded any stronger constraints than those relying on celestial mechanics 4. While a lower value of G is preferred for the standard model. It was discovered that some white dwarfs are variable stars and in fact non-radial pulsator. Γ1 the ﬁrst adiabatic exponent and P and ρ the pressure and density (see. This induces a modiﬁcation of the vibration modes of the star and particularly to the acoustic waves. together with an equation of state. It was also shown [335] that the information provided by the neutrino experiments is quite signiﬁcant because it constitutes an independent test of G complementary to the one provided by helioseismology. e.

5) × 10−11 yr−1 if the solar neighborhood has a value of 8 Gyr (i.3. [225] considered the eﬀect of a variation of the gravitational constant on the cooling of white dwarfs and on their luminosity function. on whether the C/O white dwarf is stratiﬁed or not and on hypothesis on the age of the galactic disk. 232. which then induces a shift in the position of the cut-oﬀ in the luminosity function. scalar-tensor theory [435] (the eﬀect of the Fermi constant was also considered in [194]). it is a ﬁxed fraction of the Chandrasekhar mass. However.5 × 10−10 yr−1 < G/G < 4. The cooling process ˙ is accelerated if G/G < 0. Note that it will be degenerate with the cosmological parameters. Again.org/lrr-2011-2 . the variation of the gravitational constant intervenes via the Poisson equation and the gravitational potential. Using the observation of G117-B15A that has been monitored during 20 years. one obtains that 0 ≤ −G/G < 3 × 10−11 yr−1 . at a 2σ -level. this would induce a modiﬁcation of the luminosity distance-redshift relation [227. 435]. even though this is thought to be negligible at the luminosities where white dwarfs are pulsationally unstable[54]. one expects that G/G = −2M Thorsett [492] used the observations of ﬁve neutron star binaries for which ﬁve Keplerian parameters can be determined (the binary period Pb . Garc´ ıa-Berro et al. In the case of Type II supernovae. the energy of white dwarfs.g. as L=− ˙ G dB + Egrav . |G/G 4.1 × 10−11 yr−1 . Simple analytical models of the light curves of Type Ia supernovae predict that the peak of luminosity is proportional to the mass of nickel synthesized. Restricting to cold white dwarfs with luminosity smaller than ten solar luminosity.. the time and longitude of the periastron T0 and ω ) as well as the relativistic Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.e. Garc´ ıa-Berro et al. one would require a variation of G to explain the data). For instance. e. Assuming that the mean ˙ ˙ NS /3 MNS . In the case of ˙ the standard hypothesis of an age of 11 Gyr.0 × 10−11 yr−1 .3 Late stages of stellar evolution and supernovae (150) (149) A variation of G can inﬂuence the white dwarf cooling and the light curves ot Type Ia supernovae. when they are cool enough. dt G (151) which simply results from the hydrostatic equilibrium. it was concluded [43] that ˙ − 2. one would require G/G = −(2. the Hubble diagram is sensitive to the whole history of G(t) between the highest redshift observed and today so that one needs to rely on a better deﬁned model. (152) The result depends on the details of the cooling theory.. The same observations were reanalyzed in [54] to obtain ˙ | < 4. including the formation of neutron stars. is entirely of gravitational and thermal origin so that a variation of G will induce a modiﬁcation of their energy balance and thus of their luminosity. [225] concluded that ˙ 0 ≤ −G/G < (1 ± 1) × 10−11 yr−1 . Gravitation and Cosmology 81 as well as the cooling rate of the star. such as. In models allowing for a varying G. the Chandrasekhar mass also governs the late evolutionary stages of massive stars. the eccentricity e. 2 The late stages of stellar evolution are governed by the Chandrasekhar mass ( c/G)3/2 m− n mainly determined by the balance between the Fermi pressure of a degenerate electron gas and gravity. In particular.Varying Constants. neutron star mass is given by the Chandrasekhar mass.5 ± 0. the luminosity can be related to the star binding energy B and gravitational energy. with no stratiﬁcation of the ˙ C/O binary mixture. Egrav . As ﬁrst pointed out by Vila [518]. it was shown that this eﬀect is small. In a good approximation.livingreviews. the projection of the orbital semi-major axis a1 sin i.

it was estimated that a LISA observation of an equalmass inspiral event with total redshifted mass of 105 M⊙ for three years should be able to measure ˙ G/G at the time of merger to better than 10–11 /yr. and therefore depends on the size of the horizon at this epoch. 506] for a discussion of the use of cosmological data to constrain deviations from general relativity. with the cutoﬀ length being determined by the thickness of the last scattering surface.4 New developments It has recently been proposed that the variation of G inducing a modiﬁcation of the binary’s binding energy. damping term.org/lrr-2011-2 . that their age was determined by the rate at which Pb is increasing (so MNS = MNS − M ˙b ) and that the mass follows a normal distribution. For instance.6 ± 4. 4.1 Cosmic microwave background A time-dependent gravitational constant will have mainly three eﬀects on the CMB angular power spectrum (see [435] for discussions in the framework of scalar-tensor gravity in which G is considered as a ﬁeld): 1. In the same vein. depends on any variation of the Newton constant throughout the history of the Universe. 4. (153) 4. We refer to [504. that tN S ≃ 2Pb /P at 2σ . For instance.2) × 10−12 yr−1 . viscosity and heat conduction in the photon-baryon ﬂuid produce a damping of the photon perturbations. so that the peak structure is shifted towards higher angular scales. they require to have some ideas about the whole history of G as a function of time but also. More speculative is the idea [25] that a variation of G can lead a neutron to enter into the region where strange or hybrid stars are the true ground state. which would be an invaluable constraint for many models.livingreviews. The amplitude of the Silk damping is modiﬁed. The thickness of the last scattering surface is modiﬁed. It is well known that CMB anisotropies are aﬀected on small scales because the last scattering “surface” has a ﬁnite thickness. This method paves the way to constructing constraints in a large band of redshifts as well as in diﬀerent directions in the sky. hence.3. Assuming that the neutron star masses vary slowly as (0) ˙ NS tNS . if G is larger at earlier time.82 Jean-Philippe Uzan advance of the angle of the periastron ω ˙ . and hence. Thorsett [492] deduced that. This would be associated with gamma-ray bursts that are claimed to be able to reach the level of 10–17 /yr on the time variation of G. as the variation of G reﬂects an extension of General relativity. In particular.4. it should aﬀect the gravitational wave luminosity. The variation of G modiﬁes the Friedmann equation and therefore the age of the Universe (and. At small scales. 2. one has to use the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. it requires to modify all equations describing the evolution (of the universe and of the large scale structure) in a consistent way. The net eﬀect is to introduce an extra. The damping scale is determined by the photon diﬀusion length at recombination. 3. When translating redshift into time (or length). the sound horizon). hence leading to corrections in the chirping frequency [554].4 Cosmological constraints Cosmological observations are more diﬃcult to use in order to set constraints on the time variation of G. ˙ G/G = (−0. roughly exponential. 502. the duration of recombination is modiﬁed by a variation of the Newton constant as the expansion rate is diﬀerent. the age of the Universe is smaller at recombination.

For the Planck mission these numbers are respectively. but it is much broader. assuming the number of neutrinos to be three. the proﬁles and eﬀects on the CMB can be very diﬀerent and diﬃcult to compare. 446] or to a general massless dilaton [455]. ACBAR. 134. ωBD < 500 if all parameters are ﬁxed but the CMB normalization and ωBD < 800 if one uses the polarization. which are aﬀected by a variation of the Newton constant. changing the value of the gravitational constant aﬀects the freeze-out temperature Tf .095 between recombination ˙ and today.livingreviews. Indeed. the best-ﬁt value is back to zero. The former considered G constant during BBN while the latter focused on a nonminimally quadratic coupling and a runaway potential. that ωBD > 120. τ goes from ∞ to 0 at recombination epoch. the eﬀects described above are also degenerate with a variation of the cosmological parameters. concluding that −0. 84. ξ = H/HGR . in agreement with the former analysis of [378]. The relevant quantity to consider is the visibility function g . that arises from the modiﬁcation of the value of the gravitational constant during BBN.1. A larger value of G corresponds to a higher expansion rate. from [435. and hence. 441.75 × 10−12 yr−1 < G/G < 1. (3) whether the scalar ﬁeld inducing the time variation of G is negligible or not compared to the other matter components. [2] concluded from the analysis of WMAP. which corresponds to −1. In the case of Brans–Dicke theory. This rate is determined by the combination Gρ and in the standard case the Friedmann equations imply that Gρt2 is constant.083 < ∆G/G < 0. As can be seen. 102. Gravitation and Cosmology 83 Friedmann equations.05 × 10−12 yr−1 . It should be noted that a combined analysis of BBN and CMB data was investigated in [113. and galaxy power spectrum data from 2dF. (4) on the time proﬁle of G that has to be determine to be consistent with the other equations of evolution. (2) modiﬁcation of the perturbation equations. for instance [89] by assuming a linear evolution with time or a step function. 292].8. It Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. e. 378]. it drops from a large value to a much smaller one.org/lrr-2011-2 .). The density ρ is determined by the number N∗ of relativistic particles at the time of nucleosynthesis so that nucleosynthesis allows to put a bound on the number of neutrinos Nν . This explains why it is very diﬃcult to state a deﬁnitive constraint. 26. 800. leads to the conclusion that G has not varied from more than 20% since nucleosynthesis. the visibility function still exhibits a peak.2 BBN As explained in detail in Section 3. In full generality. The eﬀect of a varying G can be described. 128.. Chen and Kamionkowski [94] showed that CMB experiments such as WMAP will be able to constrain these theories for ωBD < 100 if all parameters are to be determined by the same CMB experiment. in its most simple but still useful form.g. Other approaches considered the full dynamics of the problem but restricted themselves to the particular class of Jordan–Fierz–Brans–Dicke theory [1. 2500 and 3200. it is easier to compare the diﬀerent constraints. 4. the variation of G on the CMB temperature anisotropies depends on many factors: (1) modiﬁcation of the background equations and the evolution of the universe. VSA and CBI. Contrary to the ﬁne structure constant the role of G is less involved. allowing for a change both in G and Nν allows for a wider range of variation. one has two arbitrary functions that dictate the variation of G. An analysis [549] indictates that The ‘WMAP-5yr data’ and the ‘all CMB data’ both ˙ favor a slightly non-zero (positive) G/G but with the addition of the SDSS poser spectrum data. From a more phenomenological prospect. Thus. in the case of scalar-tensor theories (see below). [84] concluded from the study of helium and deuterium that ωBD > 380 when Nν = 3 and ωBD > 50 when Nν = 2. of a massless dilaton with a quadratic coupling [105.4. Equivalently. 106. 16. For standard cosmology. For instance. by introducing a speed-up factor. But. In the limit of an inﬁnitely thin last scattering surface. one just has a single constant parameter ωBD characterizing the deviation from general relativity and the time variation of G.Varying Constants. 551] (Casas et al. some works modeled the variation of G with time in a purely ad-hoc way.

interesting bounds can still be derived [117]. Barrow [26] assumed that G ∝ t−n and obtained from the helium abundances ˙ | < (2 ± 9. In particular translating the bound on extra relativistic degress of freedom (−0. or an extra number of relativistic degrees of freedom. Kolb et al. 134] in the case of a twoparameter family involving a non-linear scalar ﬁeld-matter coupling function.949 < ξ < 1. It was further improved by Rothman and Matzner [441] to |n| < 3 × 10−3 ˙ | < 1.1) by A(ϕ∗ ) 1 + α(ϕ∗ )ϕ′ 1 ∗ √︀ √︀ ξ= 2 2 ′ A0 1 − ϕ∗ /3 1 + α0 so that ξ2 = 2 G (1 + α(ϕ∗ )ϕ′ ∗) . that ∆G < 0.10 < G The relation between the speed-up factor. For instance [105]. assuming that −5. The BBN in scalar-tensor theories was investigated [105. Although the uncertainty in the helium-4 abundance has been argued to be signiﬁcantly larger that what was assumed in the past [401]. In 2 particular.5 (with the deﬁnitions introduced below Equation (164)). They concluded that even in the cases where before BBN the scalar-tensor theory was far from general relativity.4.5 β −1 (Ωmat h2 /0. However.062).3) h × 10−12 yr−1 .13. we stress that the dynamics of the ﬁeld can modify CMB results (see previous Section 4.livingreviews. with a variation of G is only approximate since it assumes that the variation of G aﬀects only the Friedmann equation by a renormalization of G. which corresponds to ωBD > 50. the speed-up factor is given (with the notations of Section 5.1) so that one needs to be careful while inferring Ωb from WMAP unless the scalar-tensor theory has converged close to general relativity at the time of decoupling.7 × 10−13 yr−1 . neglecting the cosmological constant.org/lrr-2011-2 . it was concluded [117]. Accetta et al. which ˙ | < 9 × 10−13 yr−1 . BBN imposes α0 < 10−6. which implies that |G/G a ﬂat universe. 4 He and 7 Li upon the variation of G and concluded that −0. In early studies. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.9 × 10−3 < n < 7 × 10−3 . This is indeed accurate only when the scalar ﬁeld is slow-rolling. This corresponds in terms of the Brans–Dicke parameter to ωBD > 25.4.6 < δNν < 0. [295] assumed a correlated variation of G. 3 He. [551] included the deuterium and lithium to improve the constraint to n < 5 × 10−3 . BBN enables to set quite tight constraints on the observable deviations from general relativity today. 2 2 ′ G0 (1 + α )(1 − ϕ∗ /3) (155) so that ∆G/G0 = ξ 2 − 1 only if α ≪ 1 (small deviation from general relativity) and ϕ′ ∗ ≪ 1 (slow rolling dilaton).84 Jean-Philippe Uzan was concluded that from the BBN in conjunction with WMAP determination of η set that ∆G/G has to be smaller than 20%.15)−3/2 when β > 0.82) to a constraint on the speed-up factor (0. since ∆G/G = ξ 2 − 1 = 7δNν /43. (154) − 0.1. αEM and GF and got a bound on the variation of the radius of the extra dimensions. All these investigations assumed that the other roughly corresponds to |G/G constants are kept ﬁxed and that physics is unchanged.3 < ∆G/G < 0. Yang et al. [1] studied the dependence of the abundances implying |G/G of D.

org/lrr-2011-2 . there is a diﬀerence: assuming that only G varies violates the strong equivalence principle while assuming a varying e results in a theory violating the weak equivalence principle. Fierz [195] realized that with such a Lagrangian. modifying Einstein’s gravity and incorporating non-gravitational forces and matter) was proposed by Jordan [268]. In the Jordan frame.1 Introducing new ﬁelds: generalities The example of scalar-tensor theories Let us start to remind how the standard general relativistic framework can be extended to make G dynamical on the example of scalar-tensor theories. G ∝ t−n with n−1 = 2 + 3ωBD /2. in which gravity is mediated not only by a massless spin-2 graviton but also by a spin-0 scalar ﬁeld that couples universally to matter ﬁelds (this ensures the universality of free fall)..1 5. e. It follows that.g.µ ϕ.1. Gravitation and Cosmology 85 5 Theories With Varying Constants As explained in the introduction. Thus. 12 Note that the Dirac hypothesis can also be achieved by assuming that e varies as t1/2 . This shows that many implementations of this idea are a priori possible. The ﬁrst implementation of Dirac’s phenomenological idea into a ﬁeld-theory framework (i. either atomic or Planck units. This action involves three arbitrary functions (F . 5. that have to take into account that G is no more a constant (in particular in a Lagrangian formulation one needs to take into account that G is no more constant when varying. gµν ] (157) 16πG∗ where G∗ is the bare gravitational constant. Einstein’s gravity is recovered when ωBD → ∞. Indeed this reﬂects a choice of units. the action of the theory takes the form ∫︁ d4 x √ S= −g [F (ϕ)R − g µν Z (ϕ)ϕ. the matter is universally coupled to the metric so that the length and time as measured by laboratory apparatus are deﬁned in this frame. In the Jordan frame.e.livingreviews. atomic spectra will be space-time-dependent. It follows that both G and the ﬁne-structure constant have been promoted to the status of a dynamical ﬁeld. Damour and Esposito-Far` ese [124] or Will [540]). This led to the deﬁnition of a one-parameter (ξ ) class of scalar-tensor theories in which only G is assumed to be a dynamical ﬁeld.Varying Constants. Such an hypothesis is indeed not a theory since the evolution of G with time is postulated and not derived from an equation of evolution12 consistent with the other ﬁeld equations. and he proposed to ﬁx η to the value −1 to prevent such a space-time dependence. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. for cosmological solutions. (156) −g d xφ R − ξ S= φ 2 η and ξ being two parameters. which can vary both in space and time. It does not mean that we are detecting the variation of a dimensionful constant but simply that either e2 / c or Gm2 e / c is varying. In this Jordan–Fierz–Brans–Dicke theory the gravitational constant is replaced by a scalar ﬁeld. He realized that the constants have to become dynamical ﬁelds and proposed the action ]︃ [︃ )︂2 (︂ ∫︁ √ φ 2 ∇φ 4 η − F .ν − 2U (ϕ)] + Smatter [ψ . This was then further explored by Brans and Dicke [67] (with the change of notation ξ → ω ). This kind of theory was further generalized to obtain various functional dependencies for G in the formalisation of scalar-tensor theories of gravitation (see. However. Z and U ) but only two are physical since there is still the possibility to redeﬁne the scalar ﬁeld. F needs to be positive to ensure that the graviton carries positive energy.. Dirac postulated that G varies as the inverse of the cosmic time. Smatter is the action of the matter ﬁelds that are coupled minimally to the metric gµν .

µ ∇∗ µ T∗ν (162) (163) (164) = α(ϕ∗ ) T∗ ∂ν ϕ∗ . as expected from the weak equivalence principle. (160) √ µ where T ≡ Tµ is the trace of the matter energy-momentum tensor T µν ≡ (2/ −g ) × δSm /δgµν . the Einstein equations are not modiﬁed. This illustrates the main features that will appear in any such models: (i) new dynamical ﬁelds appear (here a scalar ﬁeld).86 Jean-Philippe Uzan The variation of this action gives the following ﬁeld equations (︂ )︂ [︂ ]︂ 1 1 F (ϕ) Rµν − gµν R = 8πG∗ Tµν + Z (ϕ) ∂µ ϕ∂ν ϕ − gµν (∂α ϕ)2 2 2 +∇µ ∂ν F (ϕ) − gµν F (ϕ) − gµν U (ϕ) . 2F (ϕ) A(ϕ∗ ) = F −1/2 (ϕ). (158) dZ dU dF R− (∂α ϕ)2 + 2 . (159) 2Z (ϕ) ϕ = − dϕ dϕ dϕ µ ∇µ Tν =0. In this version. In this frame the ﬁeld equations are given by theory are perturbations of gµν 1 ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ αβ ∗ Rµν − R∗ gµν = 8πG∗ Tµν + 2∂µ ϕ∗ ∂ν ϕ∗ − gµν (g∗ ∂α ϕ∗ ∂β ϕ∗ ) − 2V (ϕ)gµν . It is useful to deﬁne an Einstein frame action through a conformal transformation of the metric ∗ gµν = F (ϕ)gµν . d4 x −g∗ [R∗ − 2g∗ (161) The kinetic terms have been diagonalized so that the spin-2 and spin-0 degrees of freedom of the ∗ and ϕ∗ respectively. This constant does not correspond to the gravitational constant eﬀectively measured in a Cavendish experiment.org/lrr-2011-2 . This shows that the same theory can be interpreted as a varying G theory or a universally varying mass theory. G∗ A2 0 corresponds to the exchange of a graviton while the second term G∗ A0 α0 is related to the long range scalar force. 2 ∗ ϕ∗ = −4πG∗ α(ϕ∗ ) T∗ + dV (ϕ)/dϕ∗ . The action (157) deﬁnes an eﬀective gravitational constant Geﬀ = G∗ /F = G∗ A2 . there is a source term to the conservation equation. with α ≡ d ln A/dϕ∗ and β ≡ dα/dϕ∗ . (ii) some constant will depend on the value of this scalar ﬁeld (here G Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. [191]) by (︂ dϕ∗ dϕ )︂2 = 3 4 (︂ d ln F (ϕ) dϕ )︂2 + 1 . which reduces to the standard Einstein equation when ϕ is constant and a new equation to describe the dynamics of the new degree of freedom while the conservation equation of the matter ﬁelds is unchanged. we have an equation. The Newton constant measured in this experiment is (︃ )︃ 2 F G ∗ φ 2 Gcav = G∗ A2 1+ (165) 0 (1 + α0 ) = 2 F 2F + 3Fφ 2 2 where the ﬁrst term.. but since the theory can now be seen as the theory in which all the mass are varying in the same way. As expected [183]. but remember that whatever its form the important parameter is the dimensionless quantity Gm2 / c. Deﬁning the ﬁeld ϕ∗ and the two functions A(ϕ∗ ) and V (ϕ∗ ) (see. the action (157) reads as S= 1 16πG∗ ∫︁ √ µν ∗ ∂µ ϕ∗ ∂ν ϕ∗ − 4V ] + Smatter [A2 gµν . 2V (ϕ∗ ) = U (ϕ)F −2 (ϕ).g. e. ψ ]. a subscript 0 referring to the quantity evaluated today. In the following all quantities labeled by a star (*) will refer to Einstein frame.livingreviews. The gravitational constant depends on the scalar ﬁeld and is thus dynamical.

that is α → 0. the Klein–Gordon equation can be rewritten in terms of the variable p = ln a as 2 ϕ′′ + (1 − w)ϕ′ ∗ = −α(ϕ∗ )(1 − 3w ). the theory is driven way from general relativity and is likely to be incompatible with local tests unless ϕ∗ was initially arbitrarily close from 0.Varying Constants. 5. 134]) in a consistent way and confront them with data. The time variation of G is then related to α0 . It follows that the Einstein equations will be modiﬁed and that there will exist a new equation dictating the propagation of the new degree of freedom. CMB anisotropy [435]. Note that the linear case correspond to a Brans–Dicke theory with a ﬁxed deviation from general relativity. 106. If this is not the case then these conclusions may be changed [287]. m(ϕ∗ ) = 2/(3 − ϕ∗2 ) evolving in a potential α(ϕ∗ )(1 − 3w) and subject to a damping force. Since the theory is fully deﬁned.1. It follows that the deviation from general relativity remains constant during the radiation era (up to threshold eﬀects in the early universe [108. this is the equation of motion of a point particle with a velocity dependent ′ inertial mass. 1 + α0 2 (1 + α0 These expressions are valid only if the ﬁeld is light on the solar system scales. so that the scalar-tensor theory becomes closer and closer to general relativity. The solar system constraints imply α0 to be 2 very small. It follows that α0 = βϕ0∗ and β0 = β .org/lrr-2011-2 . When β < 0. typically α0 < 10−5 while β0 can still be large. −(1 − w)ϕ′ ∗ . 2 ∗ 3 − ϕ′ ∗ (168) As emphasized in [130]. If β > 0. 189] impose that β0 > −4. β0 and the time variation of the scalar ﬁeld today )︂ (︂ ˙ cav G β0 ϕ ˙ ∗0 . In this particular example. Note that it implies that postulating a linear or inverse variation of G with cosmic time is actually not realistic in this class of models. The deviation from general relativity can be quantiﬁed in terms of the post-Newtonian parameters. it drives ϕ∗ toward 0. 134] and quantum eﬀects [85]) and the theory is then attracted toward general relativity during the matter era. it seems a priori simple to cook up a theory that will describe a varying ﬁne-structure constant by coupling a scalar ﬁeld to the electromagnetic Faraday tensor as ]︂ ∫︁ [︂ √ R 1 2 S= − 2(∂µ φ)2 − B (φ)Fµν −g d4 x (169) 16πG 4 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.5. because they are all driven by the same new scalar ﬁeld. The example of scalar-tensor theories is also very illustrative to show how deviation from general relativity can be fairly large in the early universe while still being compatible with solar system constraints. As long as V = 0. Consider the simplest model of a massless dilaton (V (ϕ∗ ) = 0) with quadratic coupling (ln A = 1 βϕ2 a= 2 ∗ ). (167) = 2α0 1 + 2 Gcav 1 + α0 This example shows that the variation of the constant and the deviation from general relativity quantiﬁed in terms of the PPN parameters are of the same magnitude. which can be expressed in terms of the values of α and β today as 2 2 1 β0 α 0 2α0 PPN .livingreviews. weak lensing [449]. BBN [105. Binary pulsar observations [125. one can easily compute various cosmological observables (late time dynamics [348]. During the cosmological evolution the ﬁeld is driven toward the minimum of the coupling function. 131].2 Making other constants dynamical Given this example. Gravitation and Cosmology 87 is a function of the scalar ﬁeld). It relies on the attraction mechanism toward general relativity [130. β − 1 = (166) γ PPN − 1 = − 2 2 )2 . the coupling of the scalar ﬁeld is universal so that no violation of the universality of free fall is expected.

A2 .88 Jean-Philippe Uzan so that the ﬁne-structure will evolve according to α = B −1 . such an simple implementation may have dramatic implications. (170) A4 / 3 It follows that the level of the violation of the universality of free fall is expected to be of the level of η12 ∼ 10−9 X (A1 .Z ) = ∂φ m(A. Z2 )(∂φ ln B )2 0 .livingreviews. (171) 4M 2 ∫︀ where the 4-dimensional gravitational constant is G∗ = 3πG5 /4 dy . this is the well-known conformal invariance of electromagnetism in four dimensions. A2 .3). 12π 2 G5 Decomposing the 5-dimensional metric g ¯AB as (︂ Aµ Aν 2 Aµ 2 )︂ gµν + M 2 φ M φ g ¯AB = . However.25 α(φ) Z (Z − 1) MeV. Aν 2 φ2 M φ where M is a mass scale. This led to the idea of the least coupling mechanism [135. 136] discussed in Section 5. we deduce that (∂φ ln B )0 has to be very small for the solar system constraints to be satisﬁed.. As an example. This example shows that we cannot couple a ﬁeld blindly to. let us recall the compactiﬁcation of a 5-dimensional Einstein–Hilbert action ([409].Z ) (φ) ∼ 10−2 α (φ).1.2 5. Z1 . Such dependencies of the masses and couplings are generic for higher-dimensional S= 1 16πG∗ ∫︁ (︂ R− Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. The scalar ﬁeld couples explicitly to the kinetic term of the vector ﬁeld and cannot be eliminated by a redeﬁnition of the metric: again.1 – 10). Z2 ) typically ranges as O(0. will be needed. chapter 13) ∫︁ 1 ¯ √ −g S= R ¯d5 x. the contribution of the electromagnetic binding energy to the mass of any nucleus can be estimated by the Bethe–Weiz¨ acker formula so that m(A. the Faraday tensor to make the ﬁne-structure constant dynamics and that some mechanism for reconciling this variation with local constraints. 5.4. A1/3 This implies that the sensitivity of the mass to a variation of the scalar ﬁeld is expected to be of the order of Z (Z − 1) ′ f(A. This is indeed very simplistic because this example only takes into account the eﬀect of the electromagnetic binding energy (see Section 6. e. we obtain )︂ √ φ2 2 F φ −g d4 x. Such a term induces a variation of the ﬁne-structure constant as well as a violation of the universality of free-fall.1 High-energy theories and varying constants Kaluza–Klein Such coupling terms naturally appear when compactifying a higher-dimensional theory. In particular.Z ) (φ) ⊃ 98.org/lrr-2011-2 .g. and in particular the university of free fall. Z1 .2. Since the factor X (A1 . It follows that today the scalar ﬁeld has to be very close to the minimum of the coupling function ln B . Let us also note that such a simple coupling cannot be eliminated by a conformal rescaling ∗ since gµν = A2 (φ)gµν ∫︁ ∫︁ √ √ 4 µρ µν µρ µν g∗ Fνσ Fρσ −g∗ d4 x B (φ)g g Fνσ Fρσ −g d x −→ B (φ)AD−4 (φ)g∗ so that the action is invariant in D = 4 dimensions.

It is actually one of the deﬁnitive predictions for string theory that there exists a dilaton. Ref. Gravitation and Cosmology 89 theories and in particular string theory.livingreviews.2 String theory There exist ﬁve anomaly-free. it gives rise to a tower of of ﬁelds χ(n) (xµ ) of mas mn = nRKK . as the coupling φR may suggest. CMB. Ref. from a 4-dimensional point of view. but at the expense of being more model-dependent. It follows that any ﬁeld χ(xµ . concluding that a variation similar to the one reported in [524] would make the distant supernovae brighter. This can be generalized to the case of D extra-dimensions [114] to G ∝ φ −D .4 × 10−10 from the Oklo data.2. [336] evaluated the eﬀect of such a couple variation of G and the structures constants on distant supernova data. 5.1% respectively for D = 2 and D = 7 Kaluza–Klein theory and that |∆RKK /RKK | < 3. (172) Note that the scaling of G with φ (or time) is not the one of the gravitational constant )︁ (︁ that would −1 be measured in a Cavendish experiment since Eq. supersymmetric perturbative string theories respectively known as type I. it can accommodate the Yang–Mills group SU (3) × SU (2) × U (1)]. that is in the extra dimensions. An analysis of most cosmological data (BBN. that couples directly to matter [484] and whose vacuum expectation value determines the string coupling constants [546]. In such a framework the variation of the gauge couplings and of the gravitational constant arises from the variation of the size of the extra dimensions so that one can derives stronger constraints that by assuming independent variation. type IIB. Assuming that the action (171) corresponds to the Jordan frame action. [28] took the ef−2 fects of the variation of αS ∝ RKK and deduced from the helium-4 abundance that |∆RKK /RKK | < 0.Varying Constants. e. endowed with an invariant UV cut-oﬀ Λ. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. [420]). y ) can be Fourier transformed along the compact dimension (with coordinate y ). −2 2 3 gY M ∝ φ /G ∝ φ . and containing a large number N of non-self-interacting matter species.7% and |∆RKK /RKK | < 1. At −1 energies small compared to RKK only the y -independent part of the ﬁeld remains and the physics looks 4-dimensional.g. type IIA. Let us mention the works by Marciano [345] and Wu and Wang [550] in which the structure constants at lower energy are obtained by the renormalization group. and the work by Veneziano [515] for a toy model in D ≥ 4 dimensions. The two main problems of these theories are that one cannot construct chiral fermions in four dimensions by compactiﬁcation on a smooth manifold with such a procedure and that gauge theories in ﬁve dimensions or more are not renormalizable.) assuming that the extra dimension scales as R0 (1 + ∆t−3/4 ) and R0 [1 + ∆](1 − cos ω (t − t0 )) concluded that ∆ has to be smaller than 10–16 and 10–8 respectively [311]. (165) tells us that Gcav ∝ G∗ φ 1 + 2φ1 +3 . while [330] assumes that gauge ﬁelds and matter ﬁelds can propagate in the bulk. quasar etc.. of radius RKK .. so that. αi (mKK ) = Ki (D)Gφ−2 (173) where the constants Ki depends only on the dimension and topology of the compact space [525] so that the only fundamental constant of the theory is the mass scale M4+D entering the 4 + Ddimensional theory. In the models by Kaluza [269] and Klein [291] the 5-dimensional spacetime was compactiﬁed assuming that one spatial extra-dimension S 1 . SO(32) heterotic and E8 × E8 heterotic theories (see. it follows that the gravitational constant and the Yang–Mills coupling associated with the vector ﬁeld Aµ must scale as G ∝ φ −1 .org/lrr-2011-2 . [295] used the variation (173) to constrain the time variation of the radius of the extra dimensions during primordial nucleosynthesis to conclude that|∆RKK /RKK | < 1%. A theory on M4 ×MD where MD is a D-dimensional compact space generates a low-energy quantum ﬁeld theory of the Yang–Mills type related to the isometries of MD [for instance [545] showed that for D = 7.

volume of compact space. It follows that the 4-dimensional couplings are determined in terms of a string scale and various dynamical ﬁelds (dilaton.. which takes the form.. (175) − − φ 6 V6 4 where φ ≡ V6 e−2Φ couples identically to the Einstein and Yang–Mills terms.. [340]).and right-moving modes of a closed string are independent. fermions and other form ﬁelds. in the string frame. (ii) a variation of the couplings and (iii) a violation of the weak equivalence principle. . Our purpose is to show how the 4-dimensional couplings are related to the string mass scale. When V6 is small. This reduces the number of supersymmetry to N = 1 and the quantization of the left-moving modes imposes that the gauge group is either SO(32) or E8 × E8 depending on the fermionic boundary conditions. . There are two other excitations that are common to all perturbative string theories. It follows that 2 8 M4 = e−2Φ V6 MI . e. D = 10 supergravity.org/lrr-2011-2 . the ﬁeld Φ couples diﬀerently to the gravitational and Yang–Mills terms because the graviton and Yang–Mills ﬁelds are respectively excitation of close and open strings. (177) e −Φ M I R10 − 4 where the dots contains terms describing the dynamics of the dilaton. ]︂ [︂ ∫︁ √ F2 6 −Φ 2 SI = d10 x −g10 MI e + .. . The eﬀective tree-level action is (see. that couples directly to matter [484] and whose vacuum expectation value determines the string coupling constant [546]. one has to assume that the matter ﬁelds (in the ‘dots’ of Equation (175) are minimally coupled to g4 . (178) SI = d10 x −g10 e−2Φ MI 4 where the second term describes the Yang–Mills ﬁelds localized on the D3-brane. to the dilaton and the structure of the extra dimensions mainly on the example of heterotic theories. Type I superstring admits open strings. one can use T-duality (to render V6 large. let us consider an example. . Ref. When the dilaton is massless. . To be more speciﬁc. Type I theories require D9-branes for consistency. Note that to reach this conclusion. )..g. e. It follows that 2 8 M4 = MH φ.g. a rank two symmetric tensor (the graviton) gµν and a rank two antisymmetric tensor Bµν . −2 6 gYM = MH φ (176) at tree-level. −2 gYM = e−Φ (179) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. we expect three eﬀects: (i) a scalar admixture of a scalar component inducing deviations from general relativity in gravitational eﬀects. [237]) ]︂ [︂ ∫︁ {︀ }︀ M 6 √ 8 R10 + 4 Φ − 4(∇Φ)2 − H FAB F AB + . the boundary conditions of which divide the number of supersymmetries by two. .livingreviews. The ﬁeld content then diﬀers from one theory to another. At variance with (174). It follows that the tree-level eﬀective bosonic action is N = 1. the eﬀective 4-dimensional action takes the form [︃ {︃ ]︃ (︂ )︂2 (︂ )︂2 }︃ ∫︁ 6 MH ∇φ 1 ∇V 6 4 √ 8 2 SH = d x −g4 φ MH R4 + F + . the dilaton. The strongly coupled SO(32) heterotic string theory is equivalent to the weakly coupled type I string theory.. It follows that MI can be lowered even to the weak scale by simply having exp Φ small enough. .90 Jean-Philippe Uzan One of the deﬁnitive predictions of these theories is the existence of a scalar ﬁeld. (174) SH = d10 x −g10 e−2Φ MH 4 When compactiﬁed on a 6-dimensional Calabi–Yau space. which allows to use a quantum ﬁeld theory approach) and turn the D9-brane into a D3-brane so that ∫︁ ∫︁ √ √ 1 8 R10 − d4 x −g4 e−Φ F 2 + . . The two heterotic theories originate from the fact that left. see.

At strong coupling. To conclude. Gravitation and Cosmology 91 at tree-level. no complete and satisfactory mechanism for the stabilization of the extra dimensions and dilaton is known. First. one can derive the couplings by including Kaluza–Klein excitations to get [163] ba (RMH )2 + . considered the same model but assumed that supersymmetry is broken by nonperturbative eﬀects such as gaugino condensation. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. D = 10)-supergravity model derived from the heterotic superstring theory in the low energy limit and assumed that the 10-dimensional spacetime is compactiﬁed on a 6-torus of radius R(xµ ) so that the eﬀective 4-dimensional theory described by (175) is of the Brans–Dicke type with ω = − 1. one can relate the gyromagnetic factor in terms of the quark masses. This is particularly important to interpret the constraints from the atomic clocks and the QSO spectra. This allows one to set stronger constraints on the varying parameters at the expense of a model-dependence. It will also give a link between the QCD scale. and if the brane is localized at an orbifold ﬁxed point. [290] considers a probe D3-brane probe in the context of AdS/CFT correspondence at ﬁnite temperature and provides the predictions for the running electric and magnetic eﬀective couplings. Assuming that φ has a mass µ.3 Relations between constants There are diﬀerent possibilities to relate the variations of diﬀerent constants. If one compactiﬁes the D9-brane on a 6-dimensional orbifold instead of a 6-torus. This step involves QCD and nuclear physics. [340] considered the (N = 1. = e−2Φ V6 MI −2 gYM = e−Φ + ci Mi . one can compute the binding energies and the masses of the proton.e. It allows to construct a varying speed of light model. At one-loop. Third. Ref. the reduced 4-dimensional matter action is ∫︁ √ (182) Smatter = d4 x −gφLmatter (g ). 5.livingreviews. (181) 2 when the volume is large compared to the mass scale and in that case the coupling is no more universal. the 4-dimensional eﬀective gravitational and Yang–Mills couplings depend on the considered superstring theory. then gauge ﬁelds couple to ﬁelds Mi living only at these orbifold ﬁxed points with a (calculable) tree-level coupling ci so that 2 8 M4 . (180) The coupling to the ﬁeld ci is a priori non universal. neutron and diﬀerent nuclei in terms of the gauge couplings and the quark masses. we have to take into account the running of coupling constants with energy and the possibilities of grand uniﬁcation to relate them. in quantum ﬁeld theory. The gravitational ﬁeld propagates in the 11-dimensional space while the gauge ﬁelds are localized on two 10-dimensional branes. and contrary to [340]. . and couples ∫︀ √ to the matter ﬂuid in the universe as Smatter = d10 x −g10 exp(−2Φ)Lmatter (g10 ). φ is stabilized and the variation of the constants arises mainly from the variation of R in a runaway potential. . In this model. −2 6 gYM φ− = MH The cosmological evolution of φ and R can then be computed to deduce that αEM ˙ /αEM ≃ 1010 −2 −1 (µ/1 eV) yr .org/lrr-2011-2 . As an example.. on the compactiﬁcation scheme but in any case they depend on the dilaton. superstring theories oﬀer a natural theoretical framework to discuss the value of the fundamental constants since they become expectation values of some ﬁelds. This is a ﬁrst step towards their understanding but yet.4. one would get a more complicated function. It has paved the way for various models that we detail in Section 5. beyond perturbation theory.Varying Constants. Otherwise. the coupling constants and the mass of the fundamental particles (i. the Yukawa couplings and the Higgs vev). Obviously. Second. the 10-dimensional E8 × E8 heterotic theory becomes M-theory on R10 × S 1 /Z2 [255].

It was noticed quite early that these relations imply that the weaker gauge coupling becomes stronger at high energy. depend on the gauge group and on the matter content of the theory and may be expended in powers of gi . among which the standard model of particle physics. they are given by )︂ (︂ 3 11 ng g 3 5ng g2 − . First there may exist algebraic relations between the Yukawa couplings of the standard model. such. while the strong coupling becomes weaker so that one can thought the three non-gravitational interactions may have a single common coupling strength above a given energy.org/lrr-2011-2 . that we decided to call ΛQCD . β1 (g1 ) = + 12 β2 (g2 ) = − 2 4π 6 3 4π 9 where ng is the number of generations for the fermions. Second. This scale characterizes all QCD properties and in particular the masses of the hadrons are expected to be proportional to ΛQCD up to corrections of order mq /ΛQCD . the three standard model coupling constants derive from one uniﬁed coupling constant. But the result may depend on ln E/m where E is the typical energy scale of the process.92 Jean-Philippe Uzan 5. the calculation of scattering processes include higher order corrections of the coupling constants related to loop corrections that introduce some integrals over internal 4momenta. (︂ )︂ g 3 11 nf β3 (g3 ) = − 32 − . This is the driving idea of Grand Uniﬁed Theories (GUT) in which one introduces a mechanism of symmetry-breaking from a higher symmetry group. The negative sign implies that (1) at large momentum transfer the coupling decreases and loop corrections become less and less signiﬁcant: QCD is said to be asymptotically free. We remind that the ﬁne-structure constant is deﬁned in the limit of zero momentum transfer so that cosmological variation of αEM are independent of the issue of the renormalization group dependence. the structure constants of the standard model unify at an energy scale MU α1 (MU ) = α2 (MU ) = α3 (MU ) ≡ αU (MU ). as SO(10) or SU(5). In a class of theories. (2) integrating the renormalization group equation for α3 gives 6π α3 (E ) = (33 − nf ) ln(E/Λc ) so that it diverges as the energy scale approaches Λc from above. with fundamental Dirac fermion representations.livingreviews. For the SU(3) sector. This running arises from the screening due to the existence of virtual particles. called renormalizable. at high energies.. d ln E where the beta functions.3. Depending on the theory. In quantum ﬁeld. (183) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the physical quantities calculated at any order do not depend on the choice of the cut-oﬀ scale. In these uniﬁcation schemes.g. 4π 4 6 nf being the number of quark ﬂavors with mass smaller than E . It has two important consequences for our present considerations. e. It follows that the values of the coupling constants of the standard model depend on the energy at which they are measured (or of the process in which they are involved).1 Implication of gauge coupling uniﬁcation The ﬁrst theoretical implication of high-energy physics arises from the uniﬁcation of the nongravitational interactions. The renormalization group allows to compute the dependence of a coupling constants as a function of the energy E as dgi (E ) = βi (E ). βi . these integrals may be either ﬁnite or diverging as the logarithm or power law of a UV cut-oﬀ. which are polarized by the presence of a charge. For the SU(2) and U(1) gauge couplings of the standard model.

Higgs vev and ΛQCD /MP are correlated. gauge couplings. (187) R ∼ 34 with a stated accuracy of about 20% [312. Gravitation and Cosmology 93 We note that the electroweak mixing angle. R = 38 ± 6 [74] and then R = 46 [75. In such cases. are not aﬀected by the variation of the uniﬁed coupling. 76]. one must sum the diﬀerent contributions. 135.Varying Constants. [77. i. The existence of these thresholds implies that the running of α3 is complicated since it depends on the masses of heavy quarks and colored superpartner in the case of supersymmetry. the diﬀerence arising from the quark masses and their associated thresholds. it could be concluded that m δ ln ∼ 35δ ln αEM . A second set of relations arises in models in which the weak scale is determined by dimensional transmutation [184. The large value of R arises from the exponential dependence of ΛQCD on α3 . In the limit in which the quark masses are set to zero.4.. 136. setting R ≡ δ ln ΛQCD /δ ln αEM . It was also mentioned in [75] that R can reach −235 in uniﬁcation based on SU(5) and SO(10). mp ∝ ΛQCD (1 + O(mq /ΛQCD )). This would imply that δ ln v = Sδ ln h with S ∼ 160 [104].e. 313] where the variation of the 3 coupling constants was reduced to the one of αU and MU /MP . The ﬁrst consequences of this uniﬁcation were investigated in Refs. the Higgs vev is related to the Yukawa constant of the top quark by [77] )︂ (︂ 8π 2 c .e. Given a ﬁeld decoupling at mth . 7) for the standard model (or below the SUSY scale ΛSUSY ) and by bi = (33/5. ΛQCD Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 313] (assuming only αU can vary). from which we deduce that −1 αEM (MZ ) = 5 −1 −1 α (MZ ) + α2 (MZ ). 2π MU It follows from the renormalization group relations that −1 −1 αi (E ) = αi (MU ) − (184) where the beta-function coeﬃcients are given by bi = (41/10. However. the can also be time dependent parameter. as well as the fermion mass generation.. assuming that the variation of the Yukawa couplings is negligible. the low-energy expression of the QCD scale is (︂ )︂ (︁ m m m )︁2/27 2π c b t ΛQCD = E exp − (185) E 9α3 (E ) for E > mt . 136] (see Section 5. it is ﬁxed by the symmetry to have the value sin2 θ = 3/8. −19/6.82 in the string dilaton model assuming Grand Uniﬁcation [135. 185.org/lrr-2011-2 .1). It was concluded that. −3) for N = 1 supersymmetric theory.livingreviews. as well as all other hadronic masses are proportional to ΛQCD . one has −1 −1 αi (E− ) = αi (E+ ) − (th) E− b mth bi ln − i ln 2π E+ 2π E+ (−) (th) where bi = b(+) − b(−) with b(+/−) the beta-function coeﬃcients respectively above and below the mass threshold. 74. the proton mass. [313] further relates the Higgs vev to αEM by d ln v/d ln αEM ≡ κ and estimated that κ ∼ 70 so that. these results implicitly assume that the electroweak symmetry breaking and supersymmetry breaking mechanisms. (186) v = Mp exp − 2 ht where c is a constant of order unity. For non-supersymmetric theories. 75. 1. but only for E ̸= MU since at E = MU . 3 1 bi E ln . In the case of multiple thresholds. This implies that the variation of Yukawa couplings. with tree-level matching at mth . R ∼ 40. 185]. i.

The running of αU can be extrapolated to the Planck mass. As we have already seen. v and in the case of supersymmetric theories the soft supersymmetry breaking mass. MP . MP ∆ ln αU = dU ℓ. dH = dS = dM = 0). which is actually backed up by the existing constraints. dM = 0) and for which d ln µ/d ln αEM = (14 − 0. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. dU = dM = 0) and for which d ln µ/d ln αEM = −21. From a phenomenological point of view. the Bethe–Weiz¨ acker formula (61). This allowed to be deﬁned six classes of scenarios: (1) varying gravitational constant (dH = dS = dX = 0) in which only MU /MP or equivalently GΛ2 QCD is varying. 5. MU ∆ ln m ˜ = dS ℓ. Introducing the coeﬃcients di by ∆ ln MU = dM ℓ.02˜ γ ). it was shown that the variations of all constants can be related to (dM . dU = dS = dM = 0) in which one has d ln µ/d ln αEM = −325.6(S + 1) .94 Jean-Philippe Uzan for the quark and electron masses. (2) varying uniﬁed coupling (dU = 1. µ αEM h with S ∼ 160. The dependence of the masses on the quark masses. 364] and emphasize that the correlated variation between diﬀerent constants (here µ and αEM ) depends strongly on the theoretical hypothesis that are made. concludes that δµ/µ = (13 ± 7)δαEM /αEM in a theory with soft SUSY breaking and δµ/µ = (−4 ± 5)δαEM /αEM otherwise.2 − 0. the Higgs vev.865 + 0. neutron.. dH = γ ˜ dX . 149. which requires to determine their binding energy. [147] making an assumption of proportionality with ﬁxed “uniﬁcation coeﬃcients” assumes that the variations of the constants at a given redshift z depend on a unique evolution factor ℓ(z ) and that the variation of all the constants can be derived from those of the uniﬁcation mass scale (in Planck units).013˜ γ ).3. still in a very model-dependent way. the electromagnetic binding energy induces a direct dependence on αEM and can be evaluated using. dS ≃ dH = γ ˜ dX .52 + 0. dS ) and ℓ(z ).3. Assuming αU (MP ) ﬁxed and letting MU /MP vary.g. the uniﬁed gauge coupling αU . This shows that a variation of αEM and µ can open a windows on GUT theories. A similar analysis [142] assuming that electroweak symmetry breaking was triggered by nonperturbative eﬀects in such a way that v and αU are related. typically one can conclude [104] that δµ δαEM δh = −0. dH . and homogeneous in space (so that it may not be applied as such in the case a chameleon mechanism is at work [69]). (3) varying Fermi scale deﬁned by (dH = 1. dS = dM = 0) and for which d ln µ/d ln αEM = (23. m ˜ . This would also imply that the variation of µ and αEM are correlated. using the renormalization group equations (neglecting the eﬀects induced by the variation of αU on the RG running of fermion masses). nuclei or even planets and stars. we need to compute their mass. via nuclear interactions. (6) varying uniﬁed coupling and Fermi scale with SUSY (dX = 1. dU . MP (dS = 0 for non-supersymmetric theories) and assuming that the masses of the standard model fermions all vary with v so that the Yukawa couplings are assumed constant.8R + 0. (4) varying Fermi scale and SUSY-breaking scale (dS = dH = 1. MU . and the determination of the nuclear binding energy are especially diﬃcult to estimate. ∆ ln v = dH ℓ. 147.28˜ γ )/(0.org/lrr-2011-2 .5.65˜ γ )/(0. When we consider “composite” systems such as proton. (5) varying uniﬁed coupling and Fermi scale (dX = 1. it was concluded [153] that R = 2π (bU + 3)/[9αEM (8bU /3 − 12)] where bU is the beta-function coeﬃcient describing the running of αU . e.livingreviews.2 Masses and binding energies The previous Section 5. Each scenario can be compared to the existing constraints to get sharper bounds on them [146. This decomposition is a good approximation provided that the time variation is slow.1 described the uniﬁcation of the gauge couplings.

Gravitation and Cosmology 95 In the chiral limit of QCD in which all quark masses are negligible compared to ΛQCD all dimensionful quantities scale as some power of ΛQCD . mN = cΛQCD with c ∼ 3. It was further extended [208] by using 0. The case of the deuterium binding energy BD has been discussed in diﬀerent ways (see Section 3. The nucleon mass can be computed in chiral perturbation theory and expressed in terms of the pion mass as [316] mN = a0 + a2 m2 π + 6 a4 m4 π + a6 mπ + σN π + σ∆π + σtad (where all coeﬃcients of this expansion are deﬁned in [316]). md and ΛQCD . This predicts a mass of order 860 MeV. Recently. that such a notation is dangerous since it would imply that mN vanishes in the chiral limit but it is a compact way to give δmN /δXq etc. Since it is weakly bound. For larger nuclei. . To go further and determine the sensitivity of the mass of a nucleus to the various constant. A second avenue is to use a sigma model in the framework of the Walecka model [456] in which the potential for the nuclear forces keeps only the σ . which can then be related to mu . 426. 11. m(A. however.9 being computed from lattice QCD.livingreviews. It has also been suggested [129] that the nuclear binding energy can be expressed as ES ≃ Aa3 + A2/3 b3 with limit a3 = achiral + m2 3 π ∂a3 . (188) (Note. the strong binding energy can be approximated by the liquid drop model aS (A − 2Z )2 (−1)A + (−1)Z ES = aV − 1/3 − aA + a P A A2 A A3/2 (189) with(aV . a ﬁtting formula derived from eﬀective ﬁeld theory and based of the semi-empirical formula derived in [222] was proposed [120] as (︂ )︂ (︂ )︂ 97 57 ES = − 120 − 1/3 ηS + 67 − 1/3 ηV + . smaller than the observed value of 940 MeV. [129] also pointed out that the delicate balance between attractive and repulsive nuclear interactions [456] implies that the binding energy of nuclei is expected to depend strongly on the quark masses [159]. 38. aA . (191) A A A where ηS and ηV are the strength of respectively the scalar (attractive) and vector (repulsive) nuclear contact interactions normalized to their actual value.2) MeV [439]. 23. 17. the situation is more complicated since there is no simple modeling.19 a sigma model to infer that mN ∝ ΛQCD Xq Xs .7. concerning the nucleon mass. Z ) = Zmp + (A − Z )mn + Zme + ES + EEM one should determine the strong binding energy [see related discussion below Eq.org/lrr-2011-2 . For large mass number A.Varying Constants.011 mN ∝ ΛQCD Xq Xs . For instance.8. aS . The fact that we do observe deuterium today sets a non-trivial constraint on the constants by imposing that the deuterium remains stable from BBN time to today. aP ) = (15.3).045 0. We also emphasize that the deuterium is only produced during BBN. 553]. which can be used to show [204] that the nucleon mass is scaling as 0.037 0. This was used in [145] to constrain the variation of the nuclear strength in a sigma-model. a3 has a non-vanishing limit to which we need to add a contribution scaling like m2 π ∝ ΛQCD mq .8. ∂m2 π (190) In the chiral limit. (17)] in function of the atomic number Z and the mass number A. it is also more sensitive to a variation of the nuclear force compared to the electromagnetic force.). These two examples explicitly show the strong dependence in nuclear modeling.7. . Many models have been created. A ﬁrst route relies on the use of the dependence of BD on the pion mass [188. ρ and ω meson exchanges [208]. These two parameters need to be Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. as it is too weakly bound to survive in the regions of stars where nuclear processes take place.

0013 gp ∝ Xq Xs .037 −0.586 and gn = −3.85)/ GeV and b = (0. nucleon.3. The proton and neutron gyromagnetic factors are respectively given by gp = 5.0289 0.0043 −1.3. the universality of free fall and stellar physics. ∝ Xq and gn ∝ mπ ∝ Xq the proton an neutron. which is central to determine the masses of nuclei and the binding energies.037 0.4.087 −0.14 −0.85 −0. We also refer to [211] for the study of the dependence of the binding of light (A ≤ 8) nuclei on possible variations of hadronic masses.3 Gyromagnetic factors The constraints arising from the comparison of atomic clocks (see Section 3.0186 0. 2 −0. Similarly. this dependence can be described by the approximate formula g (0) g (mπ ) = . (193) 0. 2 0.013 −0.452.087 −0. 1 + amπ + bm2 π The coeﬃcients are given by a = (1. 0.1) involve the ﬁnestructure constant αEM . 5.213 −0.011 once the scaling of the nucleon mass as mN ∝ ΛQCD Xq Xs (see Section 5.0073 −1. for the constants constrained by QSO observation.124 −0. 1. They also emphasize one of the most diﬃcult issue concerning the investigation about constant related to the intricate structure of QCD and its role in low energy nuclear physics. These expressions allow to compute the sensitivity coeﬃcients that enter in the decomposition of the mass [see Equation (201)].4 Models with varying constants The models that can be constructed are numerous and cannot all be reviewed here. This allows one to express the results of atomic clocks (see Section 3.96 Jean-Philippe Uzan related to the QCD parameters [159]. which are proportional to mπ ∝ mq ΛQCD .271)/ GeV2 respectively for −0. we focus on the string dilaton model in Section 5. and nucleon-resonance masses. Following [316]. −0. Xq . quantities that are particularly important for BBN.024 y ∝ αEM Xq Xs Xe .107 −0.037 0. we have (see Table 10) 2 −0.3) in terms of αEM . However. the nucleon magnetic moments remain ﬁnite so that one could have thought that the ﬁnite quark mass eﬀects should √︀ be small. In the chiral limit in which mu = md = 0. it is enhanced by π -meson loop corrections.org/lrr-2011-2 .4.85 G ∝ αEM Xq Xs Xe .174 . Thus.2 and the Bekenstein framework in Section 5. 3. Xs and Xe .57 F ∝ αEM Xq Xs Xe . This shows that the seven observable quantities that are constrained by current QSO observations can be reduced to only 4 parameters. including meson. This lead [197] to gp ∝ mπ This was further extended in [204] to take into account the dependence with the strange quark mass ms to obtain −0.1.087 −0.1 and then discuss the chameleon mechanism in Section 5.826 and are expected to depend on Xq = mq /ΛQCD [197]. gn ∝ Xq Xs .011 −1 F ′ ∝ αEM Xq Xs Xe . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.4.livingreviews. the proton-to-electron mass ratio µ and various gyromagnetic factors.3. 1.118 0. (192) All these expressions assumes ΛQCD constant in their derivations.37.2). 5.011 µ ¯ ∝ Xq Xs Xe . It is important to relate these factors to fundamental constants.013 x ∝ αEM Xq Xs .

The functions Bi are not known but can be expanded (from the genus expansion of string theory) in the limit Φ → −∞ as Bi (Φ) = e−2Φ + c0 + c1 e2Φ + c2 e4Φ + .4κ10−6 .org/lrr-2011-2 . It follows that the deviation from general relativity are characterized by the PPN parameters 2 2 2 γ PPN − 1 ≃ −2fA = −2βs κ ∆φ 2 0.. the action in Einstein frame takes the form [︂ ]︂ ∫︁ k d4 x √ 2 2 ¯ −g R − 2(∇φ) − BF (φ)F − ψD /ψ + . by deriving a link between equivalence-principle violations and time-variation of αEM ). If. Gravitation and Cosmology 97 5.. mA (φ) has a minimum φm then the scalar ﬁeld will be driven toward this minimum during the cosmological evolution. depends on the dilaton. It follows that the mass of any hadron. This model was compared to astrophysical data in [306] to conclude that |∆φ| < 3. Ms being the string mass scale. .Varying Constants. proportional to ΛQCD in ﬁrst approximation.). if the various coupling functions have diﬀerent minima then the minima of mA (φ) will depend on the particle A. for instance it could be associated to the ﬁxed point of a Z2 symmetry of the T . as allowed by the ansatz (195). . −Bψ (Φ)ψ /ψ (194) in the string frame. To avoid violation of the equivalence principle at an unacceptable level. After a conformal transformation (gµν = CBg g ˆµν . . +2 +2 4 Bg BΦ Bg −2 It follows that the Yang–Mills coupling behaves as gYM = kBF (φ).. Expanding ln B around its maximum φm as ln B ∝ −κ(φ − φm )2 /2. it is thus necessary to assume that all the minima coincide in φ = φm . which can be implemented by setting Bi = B . φ0 − φm ) using the diﬀerent observational bounds. 136] argued that the eﬀective action for the massless modes taking into account the full string loop expansion should be of the form [︂ ∫︁ ]︁}︁ {︁ [︁ √︀ 4 2 ˆ2 ˆ + 4BΦ (Φ) ˆ Φ − (∇ ˆ Φ)2 − BF (Φ) k F S = d x −g ˆ Ms Bg (Φ)R 4 ]︁ ¯ ˆ ˆD ˆ+ . to study all the experimental bounds together and to relate them in a quantitative manner (e. It follows that these functions can exhibit a local 1/2 ˆ maximum. An important feature of this model lies in the fact that at lowest order the masses of all nuclei are proportional to ΛQCD so that at this level of approximation. This toy model allows one to address the unsolved problem of the dilaton stabilization. mA (Bg . ψ = (CBg )−3/4 Bψ ψ ).g. 136] constrained the set of parameters (κ. This can be realized by assuming that φm is a special point in ﬁeld space. the coupling is universal and the theory reduces to a scalar-tensor theory and there will be no violation of the universality of free fall. BF . This also implies that the QCD mass scale is given by 2 ΛQCD ∼ Ms (CBg )−1/2 e−8π kBF /b (197) where b depends on the matter content. (196) S= 16πG 4 where the ﬁeld φ is deﬁned as ]︃ ∫︁ [︃ (︂ ′ )︂2 ′ ′ 3 Bg BΦ BΦ φ≡ dΦ. Damour and Polyakov [135. .livingreviews.4. However. . . .1 String dilaton and Runaway dilaton models Damour and Polyakov [135. (i) (i) (i) (195) where the ﬁrst term is the tree level term.or S -duality [129]. β PPN − 1 ≃ 1 2 dfA 1 3 3 2 f = βs κ ∆φ 0 2 A dφ 2 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www.

3 When one considers the eﬀect of the quark masses and binding energies. First. that is to the energy scale of inﬂation. The variation of the gravitational constant is. In full generality. as pointed out earlier.livingreviews. Interestingly. D = N − Z and E = Z (Z − 1)/(N + Z )1/3 and where the value of the parameters Ci are model-dependent. The ﬁeld is driven toward φm during the cosmological evolution. from Equation (167). a violation of the universality of free fall. simply [︂ ]︂ ˙ G ˙ 0 = −2 ln Ms + 1 d ln B φ ˙ 0. various compositiondependent eﬀects appear. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Λ QCD q Using an expansion of the form (17). ⃒ = κ∆φ0 φ (200) 0 α ⃒0 The second eﬀect is. It follows from this model that: The PPN parameters. the ﬁne-structure constant scales as αEM ≃ B −1 so that ⃒ α ˙⃒ ˙ 0 = −ZH0 βs κ2 ∆φ2 . it was concluded that (︂ )︂ (︂ )︂]︂ [︂ (︂ )︂ D E B + CD ∆ + CE ∆ ηAB = κ2 (φ0 − φm )2 CB ∆ M M M (202) with B = N + Z . the time variation of α and G today and the violation of the university of free-fall all scale as ∆φ2 0.org/lrr-2011-2 . a point at which the scalar ﬁeld decouples from the matter ﬁeld.H ∼ −5. The numerical estimations [135] indicate that ηU. (199) ⃒ = 2fA φ s 0 G⃒ 0 ˙ 0 is to use the Friedmann equations. ∆φ0 can be related to ∆φi at the end of inﬂation.4 × 10−5 (γ PPN − 1) showing that in such a class of models. we expect that [︃ ]︃ ∑︁ q mq mA (φ) = N ΛQCD (φ) 1 + 𝜖A + 𝜖EM (201) A αEM . The factor Z is model-dependent and another way to estimate φ √︁ 3 ˙ which imply that φ0 = H0 1 + q0 − Ωm0 where q is the deceleration parameter. the constraint on η ∼ 10−13 implies 1 − γ PPN ∼ 2 × 10−9 .98 Jean-Philippe Uzan with fA = [︂ ]︂ ∂ ln ΛQCD (φ) Ms 1 d ln B d ln B = − ln + ≡ −βs = βs κ∆φ0 ∂φ mA 2 dφ dφ (198) with ∆φ0 = φ0 − φm and βs ∼ 40 [135]. The mechanism is usually called the least coupling principle. = 2fA φ G mA 2 dφ ˙ 0 = H0 φ′ is obtained from the Klein–Gordon equation (168) and is typically given The value of φ 0 ′ by φ0 = −Zβs κH0 ∆φ0 were Z is a number that depends on the equation of state of the ﬂuid dominating the matter content of the universe in the last e-fold and the cosmological parameters so that ⃒ ˙⃒ G ⃒ ˙ 0 = −2ZH0 β 2 κ2 ∆φ2 . which is a better constraint that the one obtained directly. Once the dynamics for the scalar ﬁeld is solved. this quantity can be expressed in terms of amplitude of the density contrast at the end of inﬂation.

It follows (1) that the constraints on the time variation of the constants today can be relaxed if such a mechanism is at work and (2) that is the constants depend on the local value of the chameleon ﬁeld.g. Assuming that the heavy quarks and weak gauge bosons have been integrated out and that the dilaton theory has been matched to the light ﬁelds below the scale of the heavy quarks.4. e. Thus. In these two string-inspired scenarios. The coupling of the dilaton to the standard model ﬁelds was further investigated in [122.. The possible shift in the value of µ in the Milky Way (see Section 6. 498]. the amplitude of the variation of the constants is related to the one of the density ﬂuctuations during inﬂation and the cosmological evolution. folling [229]. the largest allowed variation of αEM is of order 2 Ö 10–6 .Varying Constants. The amplitude of residual dilaton interaction is related to the amplitude of the primordial density ﬂuctuations and it induces a variation of the fundamental constants. the eﬀective potential has a minimum the value of which depends on the matter local density ρ (see also [186]). the coupling of the dilaton has been parameterized by 5 parameters: de and dg for the couplings to the electromagnetic and gluonic ﬁeld-strength terms. and the coupling is an increasing function. dmu and dmd for the couplings to the fermionic mass terms so that the interaction Lagrangian is reduces to a linear coupling (e.g... A2 = exp βφ/MP . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. the ﬁeld is expected to be massive on Earth where the density is high and light in space in the solar system. It follows that the experiment on the universality of free fall in space may detect violations of the universality of free fall larger than the bounds derived by laboratory experiments [288. so that Bi = Ci + O(e−φ ). ∆ΛQCD /ΛQCD = dd κφ for the strong sector and ∆mi /mi = dmi κφ for the masses of the fermions. so that the model can also explain the late time acceleration of the cosmic expansion. provided it couples to dark matter or dark energy. 5. e. 71].org/lrr-2011-2 . which is reached for a violation of the universality of free fall of order 10–12 and it was established that √︂ ⃒ √︀ αEM ˙ ⃒ ⃒ ∼ ±10−16 1 + q0 − 3 Ωm0 1012 η yr−1 . is that all coupling functions have the same minimum so that the eﬀective potential entering the Klein–Gordon equation for the dilaton has a well-deﬁned minimum. their value will be environment dependent and will be diﬀerent on Earth and in space. 324. Gravitation and Cosmology 99 This model was extended [133] to the case where the coupling functions have a smooth ﬁnite limit for inﬁnite value of the bare string coupling. in this framework. (203) ⃒ αEM 0 2 ˙ 0 .3) was related [323.g.livingreviews. The cosmological variation of αEM in such model was investigated in [70.2 The Chameleon mechanism A central property of the least coupling principle. It was realized [287] that if the dilaton has a coupling A2 (φ) to matter while evolving in a potential V (φ) the source of the Klein–Gordon equation (168) has a an eﬀective potential Veﬀ = V (φ) + A2 (φ)ρ. a runaway potential. The late time dynamics of the scalar ﬁeld is similar as in quintessence models. It is concluded that. and dme . In the case where V is a decreasing function of φ. 322] to the model of [398] to conclude that such a shift was compatible with this model.3]. The dilaton runs away toward its attractor at inﬁnity during a stage of inﬂation. The formalism was also used to where the ﬁrst square-root arises from the computation of φ discuss the time variation of αEM and µ [97].1.) It follows that ∆αEM /αEM = de κφ for the ﬁne structure constant. that is at the heart of the former models. These parameters can be constrained by the test of the equivalence principle in the solar system [see Section 6. ∝ de φF 2 for the coupling to electromagnetism etc. 121]. Models based on the Lagrangian (209) and exhibiting the chameleon mechanism were investigated in [398].

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5.4.3

Bekenstein and related models

Bekenstein [39, 40] introduced a theoretical framework in which only the electromagnetic sector was modiﬁed by the introduction of a dimensionless scalar ﬁeld 𝜖 so that all electric charges vary in unison ei = e0i 𝜖(xα ) so that only αEM is assumed to possibly vary. To avoid the arbitrariness in the deﬁnition of 𝜖, which can be rescaled by a constant factor while e0i is inversely rescales, it was postulated that the dynamics of 𝜖 be invariant under global rescaling so that its action should be of the form ∫︁ µν g ∂µ 𝜖∂ν 𝜖 √ c −g d4 x, (204) S𝜖 = − 2 2l 𝜖2 l being a constant length scale. Then, 𝜖 is assumed to enter all electromagnetic interaction via ei Aµ → e0i 𝜖Aµ where Aµ is the usual electromagnetic potential and the gauge invariance is then preserved only if 𝜖Aµ → 𝜖Aµ + λ,µ for any scalar function λ. It follows that the the action for the electromagnetic sector is the standard Maxwell action ∫︁ √ 1 F µν Fµν −g d4 x, (205) S𝜖 = − 16π for the generalized Faraday tensor Fµν = 1 [(𝜖Aν ),µ − (𝜖Aµ ),ν .] 𝜖 (206)

To ﬁnish the gravitational sector is assumed to be described by the standard Einstein–Hilbert ∑︀ ∫︀ action. Finally, the matter action for point particles of mass m takes the form Sm = [−mc2 + µ −1 3 i i 4 (e/c)u Aµ ]γ δ (x − x (τ ))d x where γ is the Lorentz factor and τ the proper time. Note that the Maxwell equation becomes (︀ )︀ ∇µ 𝜖−1 F µν = 4πj ν , (207) which is the same as for electromagnetism in a material medium with dielectric constant 𝜖−2 and permeability 𝜖2 (this was the original description proposed by Fierz [195] and Lichnerowicz [332]; see also Dicke [152]). It was proposed [445] to rewrite this theory by introducing the two ﬁelds aµ ≡ 𝜖Aµ , ψ ≡ ln 𝜖

so that the theory takes the form ∫︁ ∫︁ ∫︁ √ √ √ c3 1 1 4 4 −2ψ µν S= R −g d x − e f fµν −g d x − (∂µ ψ )2 −g d4 x 16πg 16π 8πκ2

(208)

with κ = l/(4π c) and fµν the Faraday tensor associated with aµ . The model was further extended to include a potential for ψ [32] and to include the electroweak theory [461]. As discussed previously, this class of models predict a violation of the universality of free fall and, from Equation (14), it is expected that the anomalous acceleration is given by δ a = −M −1 (∂EEM /∂𝜖)∇𝜖. From the confrontation of the local and cosmological constraints on the variation of 𝜖 Bekenstein [39] concluded, given his assumptions on the couplings, that αEM “is a parameter, not a dynamical variable ” (see, however, [40] and then [301]). This problem was recently bypassed by Olive and Pospelov [397] who generalized the model to allow additional coupling of a scalar ﬁeld 𝜖−2 = BF (φ) to non-baryonic dark matter (as ﬁrst proposed in [126]) and cosmological constant, arguing that in supersymmetric dark matter, it is natural to expect that φ would couple more

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strongly to dark matter than to baryon. For instance, supersymmetrizing Bekenstein model, φ −1 will get a coupling to the kinetic term of the gaugino of the form M∗ φχ∂χ ¯ . Assuming that the gaugino is a large fraction of the stable lightest supersymmetric particle, the coupling to dark matter would then be of order 103 − 104 times larger. Such a factor could almost reconcile the constraint arising from the test of the universality of free fall with the order of magnitude of the cosmological variation. This generalization of the Bekenstein model relies on an action of the form ]︂ ∫︁ [︂ ∫︁ √ √ 1 2 1 2 1 −g d4 x (209) S = M4 R −g d4 x − M∗ ∂µ φ∂ µ φ + BF (φ)Fµν F µν 2 2 4 }︂ ∫︁ {︂∑︁ √ 1 1 2 ¯i [iD − −g d4 x N / − mi BNi (φ)]Ni + χ∂χ ¯ + M4 BΛ (φ)Λ + Mχ Bχ (φ)χT χ 2 2 where the sum is over proton [D / = γ µ (∂µ − ie0 Aµ )] and neutron [D / = γ µ ∂µ ]. The functions B can be expanded (since one focuses on small variations of the ﬁne-structure constant and thus of φ) as BX = 1 + ζX φ + ξX φ2 /2. It follows that αEM (φ) = e2 0 /4πBF (φ) so that ∆αEM /αEM = 2 ζF φ + (ξF − 2ζF )φ2 /2. This framework extends the analysis of [39] to a 4-dimensional parameter −4 space (M∗ , ζF , ζm , ζΛ ). It contains the Bekenstein √︀ model (ζF = −2, ζΛ√= 0, ζm ∼ 10 ξF ), a Jordan–Brans–Dicke model √ √ (ζF = 0, √ ζΛ = −2 2/2ω + 3, ζm = −1/ 4ω + 6), a string-like model (ζF = − 2, ζΛ = 2, ζm = 2/2) so that ∆αEM /αEM = 3) and a supersymmetrized Bekenstein model (ζF = −2, ζχ = −2, ζm = ζχ so that ∆ all the models, the √αEM /αEM ∼ 5/ω ). In 2 universality of free fall sets a strong constraint on ζF / ω (with ω ≡ M∗ /2M4 ) and the authors showed that a small set of models may be compatible with a variation of αEM from quasar data while being compatiblewith the equivalence principle tests. A similar analysis [347] concluded that such models can reproduce the variation of αEM from quasars while being compatible with Oklo and meteorite data. Note that under this form, the eﬀective theory is very similar to the one detailed in Section 5.4.2. This theory was also used [41] to study the spacetime structure around charged black-hole, which corresponds to an extension of dilatonic charged black hole. It was concluded that a cosmological growth of αEM would decrease the black-hole entropy but with half the rate expected from the earlier analysis [139, 339]. 5.4.4 Other ideas

**Let us mention without details other theoretical models, which can accommodate varying constants:
**

Models involving a late time phase transition in the electromagnetic sector [87, 10]; Braneworld models [336, 8, 73, 331, 403] or extra-dimensions [477]; Model with pseudo-scalar couplings [203]; Growing neutrino models [9, 533] in which the neutrino masses are a function of a scalar ﬁeld, that is also responsible for the late time acceleration of the universe. In these models the neutrinos freeze the evolution of the scalar ﬁeld when they become non-relativistic while its evolution is similar as in quintessence when the neutrinos are ultra-relativistic; Models based on discrete quantum gravity [223] or on loop quantum gravity in which the Barbero–Immirzi parameter controls the minimum eigenvalue of the area operator and could be promoted to a ﬁeld, leading to a classical coupling of Einstein’s gravity with a scalar-ﬁeld stress-energy tensor [354, 483] “varying speed of light” models for which we refer to the review [341] and our previous analysis [183] for a critical view;

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Quintessence models with a non-minimal coupling of the quintessence ﬁeld [20, 11, 96, 112, 162, 217, 315, 314, 389, 347, 404, 531] [see discussion Section 2.2.3]; Mass varying neutrinos [9, 533]; Holographic dark energy models with non-minimal couplings [235]

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As in Section 5. spatial variations can also occur.1. given the Copernican principle. i ∗ V∗ i = −4πG∗ σ∗ + O(c−2 ). The source terms can be expressed in terms of the matter stress-energy tensor in the Einstein frame as 00 ii σ∗ c2 = T∗ + T∗ . g00 = − exp −2 2 + O(c ). gij = − exp 2 2 δij + O(c−6 ). the ﬁelds dictating the variation of the constants have ﬂuctuations that can let their imprint in some cosmological observables. deﬁned with respect to the metric g∗ . 6. 6. Gravitation and Cosmology 103 6 Spatial Variations The constraints on the variation of the fundamental constant that we have described so far are mainly related to their cosmological evolution so that. c c c so that Eqs. c2 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. they reduce to constrains on the time variation of the fundamental constants. we can assume that at lowest order the proﬁle of the scalar ﬁeld will be obtained from the scalar-tensor theory.1 Generalities We restrict to the weakly self-gravitating (V∗ /c2 ≪ 1) and slow moving (T 01 ≪ T 00 ) localized material systems and follow [124].Varying Constants.livingreviews. (162–163) take the form ∗ V∗ = −4πG∗ σ∗ + O(c−4 ). Indeed. On local scales (e.4. c2 (211) This set of equations can be solved by means of the retarded Green function.1.org/lrr-2011-2 . The equation for φ∗ can be solved iteratively. Restricting to the static case with a single massive point source. i 0i σ∗ = T∗ .g. our solar system or the Milky Way) the ﬁelds at the origin of the variation of the constants are sourced by the local matter distribution so that one expect that the constants are not homogeneous on these scales. ∗ φ∗ = −4πG∗ S + O(c−6 ) (210) c2 where ∗ is the ﬂat d’Alembertian and where the scalar ﬁeld has been assumed to be light so that one can neglect its potential.1 Local scales In order to determine the proﬁle of the constant in the solar system. 00 ii Sc2 = −α(φ∗ )(T∗ − T∗ ). Using harmonic coordinates. since at lowest order in G∗ /c2 it has solution φ∗ = φ1 (r∗ ) ≡ φ0 − α0 V∗ (r∗ ). It follows that the Einstein frame gravitational potential is V∗ (r∗ ) = G∗ M∗ /r∗ . let us assume that their value is dictated by the value of a scalar ﬁeld. the Einstein frame metric can be expanded as )︂ (︂ )︂ (︂ 4 ∗ V∗ V∗ −6 ∗ −5 ∗ ∗ g0i = − 3 Vi + O(c ). the only non-vanishing source terms are σ∗ (r) = M∗ δ 3 (r∗ ) and S (r) = −α(φ∗ )M∗ δ 3 (r∗ ) so that the set of equations reduces to two Poisson equations ∆∗ V∗ = −4πG∗ M∗ δ 3 (r∗ ) + O(c−4 ). They may be used to set constraints in two regimes: On cosmological scales.. ∆∗ φ∗ = 4π G∗ M∗ 3 δ (r∗ ) + O(c−6 ). taking into account that all masses scale as ΛQCD (φ∗ ) where φ∗ is the value of the ﬁeld in the Einstein frame.

9) × 10−5 . t= (E − e sin E ) r= 1 + e cos ψ 1 − e cos E GM where a is the semi-major axis. (216) which. (217) Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. is a good approximation.2 Solar system scales The parameters ki can be constrained from laboratory measurements on Earth. ψ ) = −s0 α0 2 − s0 α0 2 e cos ψ + O(e2 ). r φ∗ = φ1 (r) ≡ φ0 − α0 ΦN ( r ) . 6. 460. (214) ⃒ αi seasonal c deﬁning the parameters ki . cos ψ = . c2 (212) where we have neglected the corrections −α(φ)(φ − φ0 ) for the gravitational potential. For laboratory in orbit on an elliptic trajectory. allows to conclude that ke = (4.0167 for the Earth orbit. The atomic dysprosium experiment [100] allowed to set the constraint [193] kαEM = (−8.13ke | < 2. It follows that at lowest order the Newton potential and the scalar ﬁeld are given by ΦN = GM . 462]. kq = (6.5 × 10−5 .9 ± 3. si ≡ d ln αi /dφ.2) × 10−5 .6) × 10−6. This shows that the order of magnitude of the constraints will be roughly of 10−16 /10−10 ∼ 10−6 since atomic clocks reach an accuracy of the order of 10−16 . its proﬁle is given by αi (r) = ′ αi (φ0 ) − α0 αi (φ0 )ΦN (r)/c2 so that ∆αi ΦN (r) (r) = −si (φ0 )α0 αi c2 (213) where si (φ0 ) is the sensitivity of the constant αi to a variation of the scalar ﬁeld. Now let us consider any constant αi function of φ. given the solar system constraints on α0 . Since e ≃ 0. This shows that local terrestrial and solar system experiments do measure the eﬀects of the cosmological variation of the constants [124.6 ± 5. |kαEM + 0. (215) for αEM and me /ΛQCD respectively. the signal should have a peak-to-peak amplitude of 2 GM e/ac2 ∼ 3. combined with the previous constraints. Thus. e the eccentricity and ψ the true anomaly. √︂ cos E − e a(1 − e2 ) a3 . It follows that ∆αi GM GM (a. The second term is a seasonal modulation and it is usually parameterized [209] as ⃒ ∆αi ⃒ ∆ΦN ⃒ = ki 2 .5 ± 6) × 10−7 .livingreviews. which. 461.7 ± 6. αi ac ac The ﬁrst term represents the variation of the mean value of the constant on the orbit compared with its cosmological value.1.104 Jean-Philippe Uzan This can be used to determine the Jordan frame metric and the variation of the scalar ﬁeld in function of the Jordan frame coordinates.3 × 10−10 on a period of 1 year.org/lrr-2011-2 .17ke = (−3. The data of [214] and [37] lead respectively to the two constraints [209] kαEM + 0.

210]. Such bounds can be improved by comparing clocks on Earth and onboard of satellites [209. [34] also used the data of [440] to conclude kαEM = (−5. [61]. This is in contradiction with the local constraint (219). 444. We refer to [265] as an unexplained seasonal variation that demonstrated the diﬃculty to interpret phenomena. comparison of N2 H+ and N2 D+ in the dark cloud L183. by considering diﬀerent transitions in diﬀerent environments. 6. and L1400K selected from the previous sample in order to estimate systematic eﬀects due to possible velocity gradients.4stat ± 0. Gravitation and Cosmology 105 for me /ΛQCD and mq /ΛQCD respectively.1 ± 1.1) × 10−6 .7) × 10−5 .2) in order to be compatible with local constraints. A similar analysis [326] based on the ﬁne-structure transitions in atomic carbon C i and low2 laying rotational transitions in 13 CO probed the spatial variation of F = αEM µ over the galaxy. A second analysis [322] map four molecular cores L1498. The analysis was based on an ammonia spectra atlas of 193 dense protostellar and prestellar cores of low masses in the Perseus molecular cloud.7 × 10−7 (222) between high (terrestrial) and low (interstellar) densities of baryonic matter.4) × 10−6 . HC3 N and N2 H+ with 3 radio-telescopes showed that |∆µ/µ| < 3 × 10−8 between the cloud environment and the local laboratory environment. 547]. kµ = (−1. L1512. 358] to constrain kµ from emission lines due to ammonia in interstellar clouds of the Milky Way led to the conclusion that kµ ∼ 1.1 × 10−7 . (220) All these constraints use the sensitivity coeﬃcients computed in [14. This may result from rest frequency uncertainties or it would require that a mechanism such as chameleon is at work (see Section 5. This was updated [319] to |∆F ′ /F ′ | < 2.5 ± 3.1) × 10−6 . it led to kµ = (3. However.9 ± 2.3 Milky Way An attempt [323.2) × 10−5 .1. which are much below the constraints obtained on time variations from QSO absorption spectra. 343] while the observation of atomic spectra near the Sun can lead to an accuracy of order unity [209].3 × 10−7 so that |∆αEM /αEM | < 1.org/lrr-2011-2 .1 ± 3. L1517. 463] reanalyzed the data by [408] to conclude that kαEM +0. once expressed in terms of ∆¯ µ.3 ± 1. allow one to set the three constraints as kαEM = (2. It concluded that |∆F ′ /F ′ | < 3.1) × 10−8 . gives ∆¯ µ = (26 ± 1stat ± 3sys ) × 10−9 . Combined with the previous constraint on µ it would imply that |∆αEM /αEM | < 2 × 10−7 . combined with measurement of H-maser [17]. these bounds give an upper bound on a hypothetic chameleon eﬀect. Combined with the constraint (218).4. kq = (−1.36ke = (1.7) × 10−5 . (218) which.livingreviews. an oﬀset was measured that could be interpreted as a variation of µ of amplitude ∆¯ µ/µ ¯ = (2. The measured velocity oﬀset. A space mission with atomic clocks onboard and sent to the Sun could reach an accuracy of 10–8 [343.8 ± 3.4) × 10−5 .Varying Constants.51kµ = (7. using the comparison of cesium and a strontium clocks derived that kαEM + 0.9 ± 3. (219) [34.4 ± 5.3sys ) × 10−8 .2 ± 0. (221) kq = (0. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Since extragalactic gas clouds have densities similar to those in the interstellar medium. A second analysis [324] using high resolution spectral observations of molecular core in lines of NH3 .

523] that the ﬁne structure constant may have a dipolar variation that would explain consistently the data from the Southern and Northern hemispheres (see Section 3. t)⟩ = Pφ (k. Such spatial ﬂuctuations also induce non-Gaussian temperature and polarization correlations in the CMB [466. depend on the local value of a dynamical scalar ﬁeld φ. the example of CMB computation in scalartensor theories [435]. one gets that ℓ(ℓ + 1)Cℓ ∝ ℓns −1 on large angular scales. Now the scalar ﬁeld can be decomposed into a background and perturbations ¯(t) + δφ(x. ∆X/X0 ≡ X (φ)/X (φ0 ) − 1. (224) X0 X0 4π ℓ If δφ is a stochastic ﬁeld characterized by its power spectrum. i. their value must ﬂuctuate on cosmological scales and have a non-vanishing correlation function.e. 417]. It follows that ∆X (x.. if Pφ ∝ k ns −1 where ns is a spectral index.g. It follows that if the fundamental constants depend on such a ﬁeld.106 Jean-Philippe Uzan 6. then ∫︁ 2 2 ¯ (XX ) [φ(z )] Pφ (k. Because of statistical isotropy. t) not to be small compared to the background SX (φ ¯ for the spatial dependence to dominate over the large scale time dependence. ≡ sX (φ (223) The ﬁrst term of the r. For instance. the ﬂuctuations being a stochastic variable.2 and 13 Gpc. ¯) ∼ sX (φ ¯). As we have seen earlier. e. αEM enters the dynamics of recombination. one can express the equal-time angular power spectrum of ∆X/X0 for two events on our past lightcone as ⟨ ⟩ ∑︁ ∆X (n1 . one gets that ∆X/X0 = sX (φ)∆φ. z )jℓ [k (η0 − η )]k 2 dk. It follows that one needs δφ(x. The eﬀect on large the scale structure was also studied in [30. t) = sX (φ X X0 ¯)∆φ ¯ + SX (φ ¯)δφ(x. it will modify the mean power spectra (this is a negligible eﬀect) and induce a curl component (B mode) to the polarization [466]. t) ¯)[φ ¯(t) − φ0 ] + {sX (φ ¯) + s′ (φ ¯)[φ ¯(t) − φ0 ]}δφ(x. t) where the background value depends only on t because of the Copernican as φ = φ hypothesis.2 Cosmological scales During inﬂation. r. t)δ (k1 + k2 ) in Fourier space.org/lrr-2011-2 . t). Let assume a constant. More important these ﬂuctuations can be correlated with the metric perturbations.livingreviews.. r. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. (225) Cℓ (z ) = SX π jℓ being a spherical Bessel function. similarly to weak gravitational lensing. It is also expected that the second term in the curly brackets is negligible with respect to the ﬁrst. and in the same way as for CMB anisotropies (see.g. ns = 1 (XX ) corresponding to scale invariance.4. 363] and the Keck/HIRES QSO absorption spectra showed [377] that the correlation function of the ﬁnestructure constant is consistent on scales ranging between 0. Such correlations have not allowed to set observational constraints yet but they need to be included foe consistency. evolution term ∆φ This can be achieved for instance if φ is a seed ﬁeld whose mean value is frozen. t) ∆X (n2 . any light scalar ﬁeld develop super-Hubble ﬂuctuations of quantum origin.s.h. with an almost scale invariant power spectrum (see chapter 8 of [409]).. The value of X at the observation point is compared to its value here and today. see e. In particular. which would then become patchy. [409]). Decomposing the scalar ﬁeld as φ = φ0 + ∆φ. X say. the ﬁne-structure constant will behave as αEM = αEM (t) + δαEM (x. This has several consequences for the CMB anisotropies. Recently. depends only on time while the second is space-time dependent. t)δφ(k2 . it has been claimed [50. t). ⟨δφ(k1 . t) 2ℓ + 1 (XX ) = Cℓ (z )Pℓ (n1 · n2 ).3). In such a case. with sX deﬁned in Equation (233).

Note. If such a wall is present within our Hubble volume. e. In particular.3. e. but at a level incompatible with existing constraints [424]. the tests of the universality of free fall is central in containing the model involving variations of the fundamental constants.1.00027de .22De | < 5. the analysis of Section 6.Varying Constants. on CMB anisotropies. Domains on either side of the wall exhibit slight diﬀerences in their respective values of αEM . however. (227) i since |∇αi | = αi ki gN .1 implies that ∇αi can be related to the gravitational potential by |∇αi | = αi si (φ)αext gN so that ∑︁ ∑︁ ηAB = |fAi − fBi | si (φ)αi αext = |λAi − λBi | si (φ)αext . see Section 5.g.4.g. is the eﬀect that such ﬂuctuations can have during preheating after inﬂation since the decay rate of the inﬂaton in particles may ﬂuctuate on large scales [293. that such a cosmological dipole would also reﬂect itself. In the formalism developed in [122..4..093(dm ˆ − dg ) + 0. 6. 121].1 × 10 −11 |Dm . For instance. ˆ + 0.2). the Be-Ti E¨ otWash experiment and LRR experiment respectively imply −11 |Dm . one can relate the expected deviation from the universality of free fall to the 5 parameters d and get constraints on ∗ ∗ ∗ Dm ˆ ≡ dg (dm ˆ − dg ) and De ≡ dg de where dg ≡ dg + 0.28De | < 24. Another possibility would be that the Copernican principle is not fully satisﬁed. the amplitude of the violation of the universality of free fall is given by ηAB . This has lead to the idea [396] of the existence of a low energy domain wall produced in the spontaneous symmetry breaking involving a dilaton-like scalar ﬁeld coupled to electromagnetism. ηAB = gN i In the case in which the variation of the constants arises from the same scalar ﬁeld.6 × 10 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. ˆ + 0.4. such as in various void models.1] the coupling to quark masses remains a diﬃcult issue. the whole diﬃculty lies in the determination of the coeﬃcients λai [see Section 5. lepton number and the electromagnetic binding energy have been considered [118] [see the example of Section 5. (226) i i This can be expressed in terms of the sensitivity coeﬃcient ki deﬁned in Equation (214) as ∑︁ ηAB = |λAi − λBi | ki . Then the background value of φ would depend. Gravitation and Cosmology 107 The comparison of the amplitude of the angular correlation and the isotropic (time) variation is model-dependent and has not yet been investigated.livingreviews. More speculative. While the couplings to mass number. It was suggested that a spatial variation of αEM would induce a dipolar modulation of CMB anisotropies [362]. depending on our relative position with respect to the wall. absorption spectra at large redshifts may or may not provide a variation in αEM relative to the terrestrial value. 294].org/lrr-2011-2 . From Equation (14). This shows that each experiment will yield a constraint on a linear combination of the coeﬃcients ki so that one requires at least as many independent pairs of test bodies as the number of constants to be constrained. This could give rise to a dipolar modulation of the constant if the observer (us) is not located at the center of the universe. which takes the form 1 ∑︁ |fAi − fBi | |∇αi |.3 Implication for the universality of free fall As we have seen in the previous sections. Similar possibilities are also oﬀered within the chameleon mechanism where the value of the scalar ﬁeld depends on the local matter density (see Section 5. on r and t for a spherically symmetric spacetime (such as a Lemaˆ ıtre–Tolman–Bondi spacetime).2].

It evolves according to a Klein–Gordon ¨ + 3H φ ˙ + m2 φ + .397. the scalar ﬁeld is responsible for both a variation of αEM and for the acceleration of the universe. In the case of the 13 For copper νp = 0.2 and by Damour–Polyakov [135. the two eﬀects are triggered by a scalar ﬁeld. 166. Again. then ∆φ ∼ M4 so that λ ∼ 10−7 whereas if it is sub-dominant ∆φ ≪ M4 and λ ≫ 10−7 .1. φ has to be very light with typical mass m ∼ H0 ∼ 10−33 eV.75 × 10−2 (0) (0) ∂z Ω (1 + w ) z =0 φ h ˜ is a parameter taking into account the inﬂuence of the mass ratios.p system ∂ ln(mEarth /mMoon )/∂ ln αEM ∼ 10−3 . This analysis was extended in [143] who included explicitly the electron and related the violation of the universality of free fall to the variation of µ. the laboratory-based test is more sensitive to the dilaton coeﬃcients because of a greater diﬀerence in the dilaton charges of the materials used. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. which is compatible with the variation of αEM if ∆φ/M4 > 10−2 during the last Hubble period. ρtotal . and of the fact that only one-third of the Earth mass is made of a diﬀerent material. one (0) requires 1 + wh 10−2 for η 10−13 . this shows where Q that in the worse case in which the Oklo bound is saturated (so that ∂ ln αEM /∂z ∼ 10−6 ). for uranium νp = 0. protons) and where it has been assumed that mn ∼ Earth ∼ 1/2 and using that the compactness of the Moon-Earth mp ∼ mN . in order to be varying during the last Hubble time.108 Jean-Philippe Uzan This shows that while the Lunar experiment has a slightly better diﬀerential-acceleration sensitivity. In all these models. Thus. φ It follows that the expected violation of the universality of free fall is related to the time variation of αEM today by )︂2 (︂ ˜ )∆ Z (1 + Q ∂ ln αEM Z +N . This link was revisited in [96.456. In a similar analysis [532]. In conclusion 10−7 < λ < 10−5 . 136] in the general framework described in Section 5. one gets η12 ∼ 10−3 λ2 . If φ dominates the matter content of the universe. This implies that λ < 10−5 . = 0). Assuming13 that νn . Dvali and Zaldarriaga [166] obtained the same result by considering that ∆νn. The link between the time variation of fundamental constants and the violation of the universality of free fall have been discussed by Bekenstein [39] in the framework described in Section 5.385 and for lead νp = 0. Assuming its equation of state is wh ̸= 1. φ has to be very weakly coupled to the standard model ﬁelds to avoid a violation of the universality of free fall. . an important underlying approximation is that the φ-dependence arises only from the electromagnetic self-energy. As a consequence. η = −1. νp ) is the ratio of neutrons (resp.3. This was extended in [149] in terms of the phenomenological model of uniﬁcation presented in Section 5. Concentrating only on the electromagnetic binding energy contribution to the proton and of the neutron masses.1. it was concluded that a test body composed of nn neutrons and np protons will be characterized by a sensitivity λ(νp Bp + νn Bn )/mN where νn (resp. Indeed.4.4. one can express its time variation (as long as it has a standard kinetic term) as √︁ ˙ = H 3Ωφ (1 + wh ). (228) αEM = αEM (0) + λ 2 M4 M4 The cosmological observation from QSO spectra implies that λ∆φ/M4 ∼ 10−7 at best during the last Hubble time. 532] in which the dependence of αEM on the scalar ﬁeld responsible for its variation is expanded as (︂ 2 )︂ φ φ +O . This makes explicit the tuning of the parameter λ. . hence providing a string bond between the dark energy equation of state and the violation of the universality of free fall. which implies that φ is damped as φ ˙ ∝ a−3 if its mass is equation (φ much smaller than the Hubble scale. From the cosmology one can deduce that (∆φ/M4 )2 ∼ (ρφ + Pφ )/ρtotal .livingreviews.p ∼ 6 × 10−2 − 10−1 .org/lrr-2011-2 .

This was investigated in [144] in which the coeﬃcients λAi are estimated using the model (189). It was conjectured that most realistic quintessence models suﬀer from such a problem [68]. Gravitation and Cosmology 109 string dilaton and runaway dilaton models. relating the equation of state to the post-Newtonian parameters. In all these models. It was concluded that they are 2 – 3 orders of magnitude over cosmic clock bounds.1]. However. One question concerns the most sensitive probes of the equivalence principle. the link between the local constraints and the cosmological constraints arise from the fact that local experiments ˙ 0 . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. The comparison with QSO spectra is more diﬃcult since it involves the dynamics of the ﬁeld between z ∼ 1 and today.livingreviews.Varying Constants.org/lrr-2011-2 . To ﬁnish. one reaches a similar conclusion [see Equation (203) in Section 5. [463] concluded similarly that the universality of free fall is more constraining that the seasonal variations. which quantify both the deviation of its equation of state from constrain the upper value of φ −1 and the variation of the constants. let us stress that these results may be changed signiﬁcantly if a chameleon mechanism is at work. A similar result [348] was obtained in the case of pure scalar-tensor theory.4. [148] concluded that the most sensitive probe depends on the uniﬁcation relation that exist between the diﬀerent couplings of the standard model.

These two possibilities send us back to the large number hypothesis by Dirac [155] that has been used as an early motivation to investigate theories with varying constants. The ﬁrst hypothesis includes the possibility that all the dimensionless parameters in the “ﬁnal” physical theory will be ﬁxed by a condition of consistency or an external cause. can be obtained in compactifying superstring theory. While many versions of what such a multiverse could be. One can wonder why they have the values we observe. The main concern was the existence of some large ratios between some combinations of constants. The idea of such a structure called the multiverse has attracted a lot of attention in the past years and we refer to [79] for a more exhaustive account of this debate. this is very restrictive since the Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. In particular. the universe we observe is only a small part of the totality of physical existence.. This is a shift from the early hopes [270] that M-theory may conceivably predict all the fundamental constants uniquely. Indeed such a possibility radically changes the way we approach the question of the relation of these parameters to the underlying fundamental theory since we now expect them to be distributed randomly in some range. that we shall call the anthropic range. which allow for universe to support the existence of observers. this age being related to the time needed to form galaxies. In the ensemble hypothesis. e. Many physicists take this ﬁne-tuning to be an explanandum that cries for an explanans. Dicke [151] pointed out another possible explanation to the origin of Dirac large numbers: the density of the universe is determined by its age. the constants of nature seem to be ﬁne tuned [317]. called ﬂux vacua. This follows the ideas developed by Eddington [178. usually called the multiverse. hence being completely contingent. However. or maybe more. heavy nuclei. In 2000. hence following Hoyle [258] who wrote that “one must at least have a modicum of curiosity about the strange dimensionless numbers that appear in physics. one of them ﬁnds its root in string theory. he proposed to link the ﬁne-structure constant to some algebraic structure of spacetime.3. . This range can be determined by asking ourselves how the world would change if the values of the constants were changed. stars. This led Carter [82] to argue that these numerical coincidence should not be a surprise and that conventional physics and cosmology could have been used to predict them. This structure needs not be ﬁne-tuned and shall be suﬃciently large and variegated so that it can contain as a proper part a universe like the one we observe the ﬁne-tuning of which is then explained by an observation selection eﬀect [64]. at the expense of using the anthropic principle. Eternal inﬂation oﬀers a possibility to populate these vacua and to generate an inﬁnite number of regions in which the parameters. It was later suggested by Susskind [482] that the anthropic principle may actually constrain our possible locations in this vast string landscape.livingreviews.” 7. 179] aiming at deriving the values of the constants from consistency relations. as pointed out by many authors (see below).org/lrr-2011-2 . As we have seen in Section 5. . that are indeed not incompatible together. No principle is yet known to ﬁx which of these vacua is chosen. Among this range of parameters lies a subset. The number of possibilities is estimated to range between 10100 and 10500 . it was realized [66] that vast numbers of discrete choices. dimensional transmutation or relations such as Equation (185) have opened a way to a rational explanation of very small (or very large) dimensional numbers. the running of coupling constants with energy. hence doing counterfactual cosmology.110 Jean-Philippe Uzan 7 Why Are The Constants Just So? The numerical values of the fundamental constants are not determined by the laws of nature in which they appear. .1.g.1 Universe and multiverse approaches Two possible lines of explanation are usually envisioned: a design or consistency hypothesis and an ensemble hypothesis. initial conditions but also the laws of nature or the number of spacetime dimensions can vary from one universe to another.

some examples. 254].2 Fine-tunings and determination of the anthropic range As we have discussed in the previous sections. It has been noted that the stability of the proton requires md − mu αEM mp .org/lrr-2011-2 . one should consider the fundamental parameters entering our physical theory but also the cosmological parameters. hence doing some counterfactual cosmology in order to determine the range within which the universe would have developed complex physics and chemistry. the outcome of many physical processes are strongly dependent on the value of the fundamental constants. Similarly.livingreviews. A coincidence emerges from the existence of stars with convective and radiative envelopes. [245] for a possibly life supporting universe without weak interaction). This involves the use of the anthropic principle. Gravitation and Cosmology 111 mathematical form of the law of physics managed as well and we are restricting to a local analysis in the neighborhood of our observed universe. 20 since it requires [80] that αG ∼ αEM . 120. This relation while being satisﬁed numerically in our universe cannot be explained from fundamental principles. 160. 6.g.1% level. and requires us to state what an observer actually is [383]. the di-neutron and the di-proton cannot form a bound state.5. In doing so. 253] so that helium would have been the most abundant at the end of BBN so that the whole history of the formation and burning of stars would have been diﬀerent. the neutron would become stable and hydrogen would be unstable [442.4 MeV for the pp reaction to be exothermic and me > 0 leading to a ﬁnite domain. the deuterium is stable have been investigated in many works [5. 252. 161. it seems that for neutrinos to eject the envelope of a star in a supernovae explosion. The determination of the anthropic region is not a prediction but just a characterization of the sensitivity of “our” universe to a change of the fundamental constants ceteris paribus. The anthropic bounds on md . First there are several constraints that the fundamental parameters listed in Table 1 have to satisfy in order for the universe to allow for complex physics and chemistry. the production of carbon seems to imply that the relative strength of the nuclear to electromagnetic interaction must be tuned typically at the 0. which expresses the fact that we observe are not just observations but observations made by us. Let us stress. 145. Both stars seem to be needed since only radiative stars can lead to supernovae. Typically. 7. required to disseminate heavy elements. the existence of nuclei imposes that md + mu and v cannot vary by more that 60% from their observed value in our universe. It arises from the fact that the typical mass that −2 10 separates these two behavior is roughly αG αEM mp while the masses of star span a few −3 decades around αG mp .Varying Constants. md − mu + me 3.. 3 /2 Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 4 one requires [80] αG ∼ αW . in a non-limiting way. even allowing for nuclei made of more than 2 baryon species [264]. which may be associated with formation of rocky planets. what is usually thought to be a prerequisit for the emergence of complexity and life (we emphasize the diﬃculty of this exercise when it goes beyond small and local deviations from our observed universe and physics. One can always ask the scientiﬁc question of what would change in the world around us if the values of some constants were changed. As we discussed in Section 3. Once this range is determined.2 MeV so that the universe does not become all neutrons. one can ask the general question of quantifying the probability that we observe a universe as ours. while only convective stars may generate winds in their early phase. It can be deduced that [252] one needs md − mu − me 1. e. see. mu and me (or on the Higgs vev) arising from the existence of nuclei. If the diﬀerence of the neutron and proton masses where less that about 1 MeV. hence providing a probabilistic prediction.

Q enters into the calculation and determined the anthropic region in the plane (Λ. to [485] and to [243] for a general anthropic investigation of the standard model parameters.e. is equivalent to !P =⇒!C . one concludes that ρV = Λ/8πG < (+z∗ )ρmat0 .g.” (see [35] for further discussions and a large bibliography on the subject). If it were to small. Assuming that it does not dominate the matter content of the universe before the redshift z∗ at which earliest are formed. and the strong anthropic principle according to which “the universe (and hence the fundamental parameters on which it depends) must be such as to admit the creation of observers within it at some stage.112 Jean-Philippe Uzan Other coincidences involve also the physical properties. It has received many interpretations among which the weak anthropic principle stating that “we must be prepared to take account of the fact that our location in the universe in necessarily privileged to the extent of being compatible with our existence as observers”.3 Anthropic predictions The determination of the anthropic region for a set of parameters is in no way a prediction but simply a characterization of our understanding of a physical phenomenon P that we think is important for the emergence of observers. Weinberg noted that if Λ is too large. the condition C stating that the constants are in some interval. C =⇒ P .5 and concluded that “if it is the anthropic principle that accounts for the smallness of the cosmological constant. the age of the universe today. Diﬀerent time scales of diﬀerent origin seem to be comparable: the radiative cooling. 7. For a multi-parameter study of the anthropic bound. Indeed.org/lrr-2011-2 .livingreviews. time of cosmological constant dominance. not only of the physical theories. If it were much larger the universe will have re-collapsed rapidly. Q). Indeed. The cosmological constant was probably the ﬁrst one to be questioned in an anthropical way [527]. galactic halo virialization. most inﬂationary scenarios lead to Ω0 ∼ 1 so that this may not be anthropically determined but in that case inﬂation should last suﬃciently long so that this could lead to a ﬁne tuning on the parameters of the inﬂationary potential. i. P (X = x|obs) ∝ P (obs|X = x)P (X = x). Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. It reﬂects that. The total density parameter Ω must lie within an order of magnitude of unity. According to Bayes theorem. but also of our universe. These coincidence were interpreted as an anthropic sign [65]. The anthropic principle [82] states that “what we can expect to observe must be restricted by the conditions necessary for our presence as observers”. the observations indicate ρv ∼ 2ρmat0 Tegmark and Rees [486] have pointed out that the amplitude of the initial density perturbation. Let us remind some examples.. Typically one expects 0. on a time scale much shorter that the main-sequence star lifetime. These are just a series of examples. which is a restriction of the Copernican principle often used in cosmology.. the universe will start accelerating before structures had time to form. the cosmological parameters summarized in Table 4. e. we refer. density ﬂuctuations would have frozen before galaxies could form. Weinberg [527] estimated z∗ ∼ 4. This demonstrates the importance of determining the parameters to include in the analysis. then we would expect the vacuum energy density ρv ∼ (10 − 100)ρmat0 because there is no anthropic reason for it to be smaller”.1 < Ω0 < 10. One can then try to determine the probability that an observer measure the value x of the constant X (that is a random variable ﬂuctuating in the multiverse and the density of observers depend on the local value of X ).

P (X = x|obs) then gives the probability that a randomly selected observer is located in a region where X = x ± dx. This relies on the fact that we are a typical observer and we are implicitly making a self sampling hypothesis. (3) how is the landscape populated. it would predict that the constants should lie on the boundary of the anthropic domain [443]. In particular if Pprior peaks outside of the anthropic domain. (4) what is the measure to be used in order and what is the correct way to compute anthropically-conditioned probabilities. Garriga and Vilenkin [228] stressed that the hypothesis of a ﬂat Pprior for the cosmological constant may not hold in various Higgs models. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. 480. To ﬁnish. let us note: (1) what is the shape of the string landscape. 402.. This higlights the diﬃculty in making a prediction. Xmax ]. 511. When restricting to the cosmological constant. 383]. and that the weight can lower the mean viable value.livingreviews. 182. This may not be a good approximation when other constants are allowed to vary and it needs to be deﬁned properly. Among the issues to be answered before such an approach becomes more rigorous. (2) what constants should we scan. It is indeed important to distinguish the parameters that are actually ﬁne-tuned in order to determine those that we should hope to explain in this way [537. 538].org/lrr-2011-2 . one want to consider P (x) as the probability that a random observer measures the value x. δxi ≪ Xmax − Xmin . which is related to the volume of those parts of the universe in which X = x at dx. Such an approach is indeed not widely accepted and has been criticized in many ways [7. 475]. This approach to the understanding of the observed values of the fundamental constants (but also of the initial conditions of our universe) by resorting to the actual existence of a multiverse populated by a diﬀerent “low-energy” theory of some “mother” microscopic theory allows us to explain the observed ﬁne-tuning by an observational selection eﬀect. 479. which is diﬃcult to control. While considered as not following the standard scientiﬁc approach. It also sets a limit to the Copernican principle stating that we do not live in a particular position in space since we have to live in a region of the multiverse where the constants are inside the anthropic bound.Varying Constants. First. Gravitation and Cosmology 113 P (X = x) is the prior distribution. A general argument [528] states that if the range over which X varies in the multiverse is large compared to the anthropic region X ∈ [Xmin . Indeed. one can argue [519] that Λ does not aﬀect microphysics and chemistry and then estimate nobs (x) by the fraction of matter clustered in giant galaxies and that can be computed from a model of structure formation. It is usually rewritten as [519] P (x)dx = nobs (x)Pprior dx. P (obs|X = x) is proportional to the density of observers that are going to evolve when X = x. It requires to state in which class of observers we are supposed to be typical (and the ﬁnal result may depend on this choice [383]) and this hypothesis leads to conclusions such as the doomsday argument that have be debated actively [64. It also requires that there are suﬃciently enough values of xi in the anthropic domain. such a statement requires a measure in the space of the constants (or of the theories) that are allowed to vary. Pprior requires an explicit model of multiverse that would generate sub-universes with diﬀerent values xi (continuous or discrete) for x. one has no idea of how to compute nobs (x). This is a strong hypothesis.e. Xmax ] one can postulate that Pprior is ﬂat on [Xmin . i. Second. Here theoretical physics is indeed important since it should determine which of the numerical coincidences are coincidences and which are expected for some uniﬁcation or symmetry reasons. this is the only existing window on some understanding of the value of the fundamental constants.

In a decade. We have reviewed them in Section 3 and Section 4. To ﬁnish. as well as the link with the origin of the acceleration of the universe. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. and possibly a window on string theory. the constraints on their possible space and time variations have ﬂourished. such as a multiverse structure.org/lrr-2011-2 .livingreviews. They have reached higher precision and new systems. this allows one to set stronger constraints and eventually to open an observational window on uniﬁcation mechanisms. have been considered. This will be at the origin of a violation of the universality of free fall and thus of utmost importance for our understanding of gravity and of the domain of validity of general relativity. This has improved our knowledge on the equivalence principle and allowed to test it on astrophysical and cosmological scales. They are now part of the general tests of general relativity. We have stressed the limitations of this approach and the ongoing debate on the possibility to make it predictive. radio observations. a spacetime varying fundamental constant reﬂects the existence of an almost massless ﬁeld that couples to matter. From a theoretical point of view. it reveals the necessity of considering a universe larger than our own.114 Jean-Philippe Uzan 8 Conclusions The study of fundamental constants has witnessed tremendous progresses in the past years. atomic clocks in space. involving diﬀerent combinations of constants and located at diﬀerent redshifts. the puzzle about the large numbers pointed out by Dirac has led to a better understanding of the fundamental constants and of their roles in the laws of physics. We have emphasized the experimental observational progresses expected in the coming years such as the E-ELT. To conclude. While considered as borderline with respect to the standard physical approach. While more model-dependent. and called the multiverse. It will also give us a hint on our location in this structure in the sense that the anthropic principle limits the Copernican principle at the basis of most cosmological models. we have described in Section 5 the high-energy models that predict such variation. Huge progress has been made in the understanding of the coupled variation of diﬀerent constants. or the use of gravitational waves. we have discussed in Section 7 the ideas that try to understand the value of the fundamental constant. as well as a breadcrumbs to understand the origin of the acceleration of the universe and to more speculative structures. In all these cases.

Sylvia Ekstr¨ om. despite all our eﬀorts. Michael Murphy. Peter Wolfe. Christophe Salomon. Bernard Fort. This work was supported by a PEPS-PTI grant from CNRS (2009 – 2011) and the PNCG (2010) but. Bala Iyer. Anan Srianand. Georges Meynet. Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Fran¸ coise Combes. Luc Blanchet. in France. has not been supported by the French-ANR. Francis Bernardeau. Paolo Molaro. Gravitation and Cosmology 115 9 Acknowledgments I would like to thank all my collaborators on this topic. John Webb. George Ellis. David Mota. Alain Coc. and to ﬁnish worldwide. Gabriele Veneziano.livingreviews. To ﬁnish. Amanda Weltman. John Barrow. Guillaume Faye. I thank Cliﬀord Will for motivating me to write this review. Gilles Esposito-Far` ese. Michel Cass´ e. S´ ebastien Bize. Keith Olive and Elisabeth Vangioni as well as B´ en´ edicte Leclercq and Roland Lehoucq. Thibault Damour. Lev Kofman.org/lrr-2011-2 . Christof Wetterich. Pierre Descouvemont. ﬁrst at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. Patrick Petitjean. Nelson Nunes. I also thank many colleagues for sharing their thoughts on the subject with me. Carlo Schimd.Varying Constants. Jean-Pierre Lasota. Thomas Dent. Nathalie Deruelle. Jeﬀ Murugan. Yannick Mellier. Cyril Pitrou. Victor Flambaum.

2 Sensitivity coeﬃcients The text introduces several sensitivity coeﬃcients. (234) dΦN Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. d ln Gk The value of the quantities ck requires a physical description of the system. (231) (232) In models where the variation of the fundamental constants are induced by the variation of a scalar ﬁeld with deﬁne d ln αi = si (φ). (233) dφ In class of models the variation of the constants can be related to the gravitational potential by d ln αi = ki . the parameters Gk can be related to a set of fundamental constant αi and we deﬁne (229) d ln Gk = dki .1 Notations Constants The notations and numerical values of the constants used in this review are summarized in Table 1 and Table 2. the value of which depends on a set of primary parameters Gk .livingreviews. A particular sets of parameters dki has been singled out for the sensitivity of the mass of a body A to a variation of the fundamental constants d ln mA = fAi . We recall their deﬁnition here. d ln αi (230) The computation of the coeﬃcients dki requires one to specify the theoretical framework and depends heavily on our knowledge of nuclear physics and the assumptions on uniﬁcation. the sensitivity of the measured value of O to these parameters is d ln O = ck .org/lrr-2011-2 . dαi One also introduces d ln mA = λAi d ln αi so that λAi = αi fAi . Given an observable O. A.116 Jean-Philippe Uzan A A.

+. The evolution of the scale factor is dictated by the Friedmann equation H2 = Λ K 8πG ρ− 2 + . Living Reviews in Relativity http://www. Concerning the properties of the cosmological spacetime.3 Background cosmological spacetime We consider that the spacetime is describe by a manifold M with metric gµν with signature (−. we will describe the universe by a Friedmann–Lemaˆ ıtre spacetime with metric ds2 = −dt2 + a2 (t)γij dxi dxj (235) where t is the cosmic time. each component evolves as ρi = ρi0 (1 + z )2(1+wi ) . In the case of a Minkowsky spacetime gµν = ηµν . Gravitation and Cosmology 117 A. with a0 the scale factor evaluated today.Varying Constants.livingreviews. 3 a 3 (236) where ρ = iρi is the total energy density of the matter components in the universe. The Hubble function is deﬁned as H ≡ a/a ˙ . 3H0 ΩΛ ≡ Λ 2.org/lrr-2011-2 . I follow the notations and results of [409]. Assuming the species i has a constant equation of state wi = Pi /ρi . +. 3H0 (238) (237) ∑︀ They clearly satisfy Ωi + ΩK + ΩΛ = 1. In the cosmological context. The Friedmann equation can then be rewritten as ∑︁ H2 = Ωi (1 + z )3(1+wi ) + ΩK (1 + z )2 + ΩΛ . We also deﬁne the redshift by the relation 1+ z = a0 /a. 3H0 Ωi ≡ − K 2. +). a the scale factor and γij the metric on the constant time hypersurfaces. 2 H0 with the density parameters deﬁned by Ωi ≡ 8πGρi0 2 .

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