Living Reviews in Relativity author index

This web page is here because I miss LRR's old author index. This page is built using code in this repo, pulling data from INSPIRE (I have filled in some data missing from INSPIRE).

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N P R S T U V W Y Z


Prospects for Observing and Localizing Gravitational-Wave Transients with Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo

Living Rev. Rel., 23, (2020), 3.

[arXiv:1304.0670]

We present possible observing scenarios for the Advanced LIGO, Advanced Virgo and KAGRA gravitational-wave detectors over the next decade, with the intention of providing information to the astronomy community to facilitate planning for multi-messenger astronomy with gravitational waves. We estimate the sensitivity of the network to transient gravitational-wave signals, and study the capability of the network to determine the sky location of the source. We report our findings for gravitational-wave transients, with particular focus on gravitational-wave signals from the inspiral of binary neutron star systems, which are the most promising targets for multi-messenger astronomy. The ability to localize the sources of the detected signals depends on the geographical distribution of the detectors and their relative sensitivity, and $90\%$ credible regions can be as large as thousands of square degrees when only two sensitive detectors are operational. Determining the sky position of a significant fraction of detected signals to areas of 5– $20~\mathrm {deg}^2$ requires at least three detectors of sensitivity within a factor of $\sim 2$ of each other and with a broad frequency bandwidth. When all detectors, including KAGRA and the third LIGO detector in India, reach design sensitivity, a significant fraction of gravitational-wave signals will be localized to a few square degrees by gravitational-wave observations alone.

Foundations of Black Hole Accretion Disk Theory

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 1.

[arXiv:1104.5499]

This review covers the main aspects of black hole accretion disk theory. We begin with the view that one of the main goals of the theory is to better understand the nature of black holes themselves. In this light we discuss how accretion disks might reveal some of the unique signatures of strong gravity: the event horizon, the innermost stable circular orbit, and the ergosphere. We then review, from a first-principles perspective, the physical processes at play in accretion disks. This leads us to the four primary accretion disk models that we review: Polish doughnuts (thick disks), Shakura-Sunyaev (thin) disks, slim disks, and advection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs). After presenting the models we discuss issues of stability, oscillations, and jets. Following our review of the analytic work, we take a parallel approach in reviewing numerical studies of black hole accretion disks. We finish with a few select applications that highlight particular astrophysical applications: measurements of black hole mass and spin, black hole vs. neutron star accretion disks, black hole accretion disk spectral states, and quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs).

Null Geodesic Congruences, Asymptotically Flat Space-Times and Their Physical Interpretation

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 1.

[arXiv:0906.2155]

Shear-free or asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences possess a large number of fascinating geometric properties and to be closely related, in the context of general relativity, to a variety of physically significant affects. It is the purpose of this paper to develop these issues and find applications in GR. The applications center around the problem of extracting interior physical properties of an asymptotically flat space-time directly from the asymptotic gravitational (and Maxwell) field itself in analogy with the determination of total charge by an integral over the Maxwell field at infinity or the identification of the interior mass (and its loss) by (Bondi's) integrals of the Weyl tensor, also at infinity. More specifically we will see that the asymptotically shear-free congruences lead us to an asymptotic definition of the center-of-mass and its equations of motion. This includes a kinematic meaning, in terms of the center of mass motion, for the Bondi three-momentum. In addition, we obtain insights into intrinsic spin and, in general, angular momentum, including an angular momentum conservation law with well-defined flux terms. When a Maxwell field is present the asymptotically shear-free congruences allow us to determine/define at infinity a center-of-charge world-line and intrinsic magnetic dipole moment.

Challenges and Opportunities of Gravitational Wave Searches at MHz to GHz Frequencies

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 4.

[arXiv:2011.12414]

The first direct measurement of gravitational waves by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations has opened up new avenues to explore our Universe. This white paper outlines the challenges and gains expected in gravitational wave searches at frequencies above the LIGO/Virgo band, with a particular focus on Ultra High-Frequency Gravitational Waves (UHF-GWs), covering the MHz to GHz range. The absence of known astrophysical sources in this frequency range provides a unique opportunity to discover physics beyond the Standard Model operating both in the early and late Universe, and we highlight some of the most promising gravitational sources. We review several detector concepts which have been proposed to take up this challenge, and compare their expected sensitivity with the signal strength predicted in various models. This report is the summary of the workshop "Challenges and opportunities of high-frequency gravitational wave detection" held at ICTP Trieste, Italy in October 2019, that set up the stage for the recently launched Ultra-High-Frequency Gravitational Wave (UHF-GW) initiative.

Relativistic Dynamics and Extreme Mass Ratio Inspirals

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 4.

[arXiv:1205.5240]

It is now well-established that a dark, compact object (DCO), very likely a massive black hole (MBH) of around four million solar masses is lurking at the centre of the Milky Way. While a consensus is emerging about the origin and growth of supermassive black holes (with masses larger than a billion solar masses), MBHs with smaller masses, such as the one in our galactic centre, remain understudied and enigmatic. The key to understanding these holes - how some of them grow by orders of magnitude in mass - lies in understanding the dynamics of the stars in the galactic neighbourhood. Stars interact with the central MBH primarily through their gradual inspiral due to the emission of gravitational radiation. Also stars produce gases which will subsequently be accreted by the MBH through collisions and disruptions brought about by the strong central tidal field. Such processes can contribute significantly to the mass of the MBH and progress in understanding them requires theoretical work in preparation for future gravitational radiation millihertz missions and X-ray observatories. In particular, a unique probe of these regions is the gravitational radiation that is emitted by some compact stars very close to the black holes and which could be surveyed by a millihertz gravitational wave interferometer scrutinizing the range of masses fundamental to understanding the origin and growth of supermassive black holes. By extracting the information carried by the gravitational radiation, we can determine the mass and spin of the central MBH with unprecedented precision and we can determine how the holes "eat" stars that happen to be near them.

Quantum Spacetime Phenomenology

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 5.

[arXiv:0806.0339]

I review the current status of phenomenological programs inspired by quantum-spacetime research. I stress in particular the significance of results establishing that certain data analyses provide sensitivity to effects introduced genuinely at the Planck scale. And my main focus is on phenomenological programs that managed to affect the directions taken by studies of quantum-spacetime theories.

Cosmology and Fundamental Physics with the Euclid Satellite

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 2.

[arXiv:1606.00180]

Euclid is a European Space Agency medium class mission selected for launch in 2020 within the Cosmic Vision 2015 2025 program. The main goal of Euclid is to understand the origin of the accelerated expansion of the universe. Euclid will explore the expansion history of the universe and the evolution of cosmic structures by measuring shapes and redshifts of galaxies as well as the distribution of clusters of galaxies over a large fraction of the sky. Although the main driver for Euclid is the nature of dark energy, Euclid science covers a vast range of topics, from cosmology to galaxy evolution to planetary research. In this review we focus on cosmology and fundamental physics, with a strong emphasis on science beyond the current standard models. We discuss five broad topics: dark energy and modified gravity, dark matter, initial conditions, basic assumptions and questions of methodology in the data analysis. This review has been planned and carried out within Euclid's Theory Working Group and is meant to provide a guide to the scientific themes that will underlie the activity of the group during the preparation of the Euclid mission.

Relativistic fluid dynamics: physics for many different scales

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 3.

[arXiv:2008.12069]

The relativistic fluid is a highly successful model used to describe the dynamics of many-particle systems moving at high velocities and/or in strong gravity. It takes as input physics from microscopic scales and yields as output predictions of bulk, macroscopic motion. By inverting the process-e.g., drawing on astrophysical observations-an understanding of relativistic features can lead to insight into physics on the microscopic scale. Relativistic fluids have been used to model systems as "small" as colliding heavy ions in laboratory experiments, and as large as the Universe itself, with "intermediate" sized objects like neutron stars being considered along the way. The purpose of this review is to discuss the mathematical and theoretical physics underpinnings of the relativistic (multi-) fluid model. We focus on the variational principle approach championed by Brandon Carter and collaborators, in which a crucial element is to distinguish the momenta that are conjugate to the particle number density currents. This approach differs from the "standard" text-book derivation of the equations of motion from the divergence of the stress-energy tensor in that one explicitly obtains the relativistic Euler equation as an "integrability" condition on the relativistic vorticity. We discuss the conservation laws and the equations of motion in detail, and provide a number of (in our opinion) interesting and relevant applications of the general theory. The formalism provides a foundation for complex models, e.g., including electromagnetism, superfluidity and elasticity-all of which are relevant for state of the art neutron-star modelling.

The Einstein-Vlasov System/Kinetic Theory

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 4.

[arXiv:1106.1367]

The main purpose of this article is to provide a guide to theorems on global properties of solutions to the Einstein--Vlasov system. This system couples Einstein's equations to a kinetic matter model. Kinetic theory has been an important field of research during several decades in which the main focus has been on non-relativistic and special relativistic physics, i.e., to model the dynamics of neutral gases, plasmas, and Newtonian self-gravitating systems. In 1990, Rendall and Rein initiated a mathematical study of the Einstein--Vlasov system. Since then many theorems on global properties of solutions to this system have been established.

Computational Cosmology: from the Early Universe to the Large Scale Structure

Living Rev. Rel., 4, (2001), 2.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0108083]

In order to account for the observable Universe, any comprehensive theory or model of cosmology must draw from many disciplines of physics, including gauge theories of strong and weak interactions, the hydrodynamics and microphysics of baryonic matter, electromagnetic fields, and spacetime curvature, for example. Although it is difficult to incorporate all these physical elements into a single complete model of our Universe, advances in computing methods and technologies have contributed significantly towards our understanding of cosmological models, the Universe, and astrophysical processes within them. A sample of numerical calculations (and numerical methods) applied to specific issues in cosmology are reviewed in this article: from the Big Bang singularity dynamics to the fundamental interactions of gravitational waves; from the quark-hadron phase transition to the large scale structure of the Universe. The emphasis, although not exclusively, is on those calculations designed to test different models of cosmology against the observed Universe.

Low-frequency gravitational wave searches using spacecraft Doppler tracking

Living Rev. Rel., 9, (2006), 1.

This paper discusses spacecraft Doppler tracking, the current-generation detector technology used in the low-frequency (∼millihertz) gravitational wave band. In the Doppler method the earth and a distant spacecraft act as free test masses with a ground-based precision Doppler tracking system continuously monitoring the earth-spacecraft relative dimensionless velocity 2Δv/c = Δν/ν0, where Δν is the Doppler shift and ν0 is the radio link carrier frequency. A gravitational wave having strain amplitude h incident on the earth-spacecraft system causes perturbations of order h in the time series of Δν/ν0. Unlike other detectors, the ∼ 1–10 AU earth-spacecraft separation makes the detector large compared with millihertz-band gravitational wavelengths, and thus times-of-flight of signals and radio waves through the apparatus are important. A burst signal, for example, is time-resolved into a characteristic signature: three discrete events in the Doppler time series. I discuss here the principles of operation of this detector (emphasizing transfer functions of gravitational wave signals and the principal noises to the Doppler time series), some data analysis techniques, experiments to date, and illustrations of sensitivity and current detector performance. I conclude with a discussion of how gravitational wave sensitivity can be improved in the low-frequency band.

New Horizons for Fundamental Physics with LISA

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 4.

[arXiv:2205.01597]

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has the potential to reveal wonders about the fundamental theory of nature at play in the extreme gravity regime, where the gravitational interaction is both strong and dynamical. In this white paper, the Fundamental Physics Working Group of the LISA Consortium summarizes the current topics in fundamental physics where LISA observations of GWs can be expected to provide key input. We provide the briefest of reviews to then delineate avenues for future research directions and to discuss connections between this working group, other working groups and the consortium work package teams. These connections must be developed for LISA to live up to its science potential in these areas.

Relativity in the Global Positioning System

Living Rev. Rel., 6, (2003), 1.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses accurate, stable atomic clocks in satellites and on the ground to provide world-wide position and time determination. These clocks have gravitational and motional frequency shifts which are so large that, without carefully accounting for numerous relativistic effects, the system would not work. This paper discusses the conceptual basis, founded on special and general relativity, for navigation using GPS. Relativistic principles and effects which must be considered include the constancy of the speed of light, the equivalence principle, the Sagnac effect, time dilation, gravitational frequency shifts, and relativity of synchronization. Experimental tests of relativity obtained with a GPS receiver aboard the TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite will be discussed. Recently frequency jumps arising from satellite orbit adjustments have been identified as relativistic effects. These will be explained and some interesting applications of GPS will be discussed.

Isolated and dynamical horizons and their applications

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 10.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0407042]

Over the past three decades, black holes have played an important role in quantum gravity, mathematical physics, numerical relativity and gravitational wave phenomenology. However, conceptual settings and mathematical models used to discuss them have varied considerably from one area to another. Over the last five years a new, quasi-local framework was introduced to analyze diverse facets of black holes in a unified manner. In this framework, evolving black holes are modeled by dynamical horizons and black holes in equilibrium by isolated horizons. We review basic properties of these horizons and summarize applications to mathematical physics, numerical relativity and quantum gravity. This paradigm has led to significant generalizations of several results in black hole physics. Specifically, it has introduced a more physical setting for black hole thermodynamics and for black hole entropy calculations in quantum gravity; suggested a phenomenological model for hairy black holes; provided novel techniques to extract physics from numerical simulations; and led to new laws governing the dynamics of black holes in exact general relativity.

Cosmology with the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 5.

[arXiv:2204.05434]

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has two scientific objectives of cosmological focus: to probe the expansion rate of the universe, and to understand stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds and their implications for early universe and particle physics, from the MeV to the Planck scale. However, the range of potential cosmological applications of gravitational wave observations extends well beyond these two objectives. This publication presents a summary of the state of the art in LISA cosmology, theory and methods, and identifies new opportunities to use gravitational wave observations by LISA to probe the universe.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 7.

[arXiv:1212.5575]

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ~0.01mHz - 1Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.

Quantization of Midisuperspace Models

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 6.

[arXiv:1010.1637]

We give a comprehensive review of the quantization of midisuperspace models. Though the main focus of the paper is on quantum aspects, we also provide an introduction to several classical points related to the definition of these models. We cover some important issues, in particular, the use of the principle of symmetric criticality as a very useful tool to obtain the required Hamiltonian formulations. Two main types of reductions are discussed: those involving metrics with two Killing vector fields and spherically symmetric models. We also review the more general models obtained by coupling matter fields to these systems. Throughout the paper we give separate discussions for standard quantizations using geometrodynamical variables and those relying on loop quantum gravity inspired methods.

Analogue Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 12.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0505065]

Analogue gravity is a research programme which investigates analogues of general relativistic gravitational fields within other physical systems, typically but not exclusively condensed matter systems, with the aim of gaining new insights into their corresponding problems. Analogue models of (and for) gravity have a long and distinguished history dating back to the earliest years of general relativity. In this review article we will discuss the history, aims, results, and future prospects for the various analogue models. We start the discussion by presenting a particularly simple example of an analogue model, before exploring the rich history and complex tapestry of models discussed in the literature. The last decade in particular has seen a remarkable and sustained development of analogue gravity ideas, leading to some hundreds of published articles, a workshop, two books, and this review article. Future prospects for the analogue gravity programme also look promising, both on the experimental front (where technology is rapidly advancing) and on the theoretical front (where variants of analogue models can be used as a springboard for radical attacks on the problem of quantum gravity).

Relativistic Binaries in Globular Clusters

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 4.

[arXiv:1110.4423]

Galactic globular clusters are old, dense star systems typically containing 10\super{4}--10\super{7} stars. As an old population of stars, globular clusters contain many collapsed and degenerate objects. As a dense population of stars, globular clusters are the scene of many interesting close dynamical interactions between stars. These dynamical interactions can alter the evolution of individual stars and can produce tight binary systems containing one or two compact objects. In this review, we discuss theoretical models of globular cluster evolution and binary evolution, techniques for simulating this evolution that leads to relativistic binaries, and current and possible future observational evidence for this population. Our discussion of globular cluster evolution will focus on the processes that boost the production of hard binary systems and the subsequent interaction of these binaries that can alter the properties of both bodies and can lead to exotic objects. Direct {\it N}-body integrations and Fokker--Planck simulations of the evolution of globular clusters that incorporate tidal interactions and lead to predictions of relativistic binary populations are also discussed. We discuss the current observational evidence for cataclysmic variables, millisecond pulsars, and low-mass X-ray binaries as well as possible future detection of relativistic binaries with gravitational radiation.

Numerical Approaches to Spacetime Singularities

Living Rev. Rel., 5, (2002), 1.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0201056]

This Living Review updates a previous version which its itself an update of a review article. Numerical exploration of the properties of singularities could, in principle, yield detailed understanding of their nature in physically realistic cases. Examples of numerical investigations into the formation of naked singularities, critical behavior in collapse, passage through the Cauchy horizon, chaos of the Mixmaster singularity, and singularities in spatially inhomogeneous cosmologies are discussed.

Perturbative Quantum Gravity and its Relation to Gauge Theory

Living Rev. Rel., 5, (2002), 5.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0206071]

In this review we describe a non-trivial relationship between perturbative gauge theory and gravity scattering amplitudes. At the semi-classical or tree level, the scattering amplitudes of gravity theories in flat space can be expressed as a sum of products of well defined pieces of gauge theory amplitudes. These relationships were first discovered by Kawai, Lewellen and Tye in the context of string theory, but hold more generally. In particular, they hold for standard Einstein gravity. A method based on D-dimensional unitarity can then be used to systematically construct all quantum loop corrections order-by-order in perturbation theory using as input the gravity tree amplitudes expressed in terms of gauge theory ones. More generally, the unitarity method provides a means for perturbatively quantizing massless gravity theories without the usual formal apparatus associated with the quantization of constrained systems. As one application, this method was used to demonstrate that maximally supersymmetric gravity is less divergent in the ultraviolet than previously thought.

Extraction of Gravitational Waves in Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 19, (2016), 2.

[arXiv:1606.02532]

A numerical-relativity calculation yields in general a solution of the Einstein equations including also a radiative part, which is in practice computed in a region of finite extent. Since gravitational radiation is properly defined only at null infinity and in an appropriate coordinate system, the accurate estimation of the emitted gravitational waves represents an old and non-trivial problem in numerical relativity. A number of methods have been developed over the years to "extract" the radiative part of the solution from a numerical simulation and these include: quadrupole formulas, gauge-invariant metric perturbations, Weyl scalars, and characteristic extraction. We review and discuss each method, in terms of both its theoretical background as well as its implementation. Finally, we provide a brief comparison of the various methods in terms of their inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Gravitational Radiation from Post-Newtonian Sources and Inspiralling Compact Binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 2.

[arXiv:1310.1528]

To be observed and analyzed by the network of current gravitational wave detectors (LIGO, Virgo, KAGRA), and in anticipation of future third generation ground based (Einstein Telescope, Cosmic Explorer) and space borne (LISA) detectors, inspiralling compact binaries -- binary star systems composed of neutron stars and/or black holes in their late stage of evolution prior the final coalescence -- require high-accuracy predictions from general relativity. The orbital dynamics and emitted gravitational waves of these very relativistic systems can be accurately modelled using state-of-the-art post-Newtonian theory. In this article we review the Multipolar-Post-Minkowskian approximation scheme, merged to the standard Post-Newtonian expansion into a single formalism valid for general isolated matter system. This cocktail of approximation methods (called MPM-PN) has been successfully applied to compact binary systems, producing equations of motion up to the fourth-post-Newtonian (4PN) level, and gravitational waveform and flux to 4.5PN order beyond the Einstein quadrupole formula. We describe the dimensional regularization at work in such high post-Newtonian calculations, for curing both ultra-violet and infra-red divergences. Several landmark results are detailed: the definition of multipole moments, the gravitational radiation reaction, the conservative dynamics of circular orbits, the first law of compact binary mechanics, and the non-linear effects in the gravitational wave propagation (tails, iterated tails and non-linear memory). We also discuss the case of compact binaries moving on eccentric orbits, and the effects of spins (both spin-orbit and spin-spin) on the equations of motion and gravitational wave energy flux and waveform.

Electromagnetic Counterparts to Massive Black Hole Mergers

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 3.

[arXiv:2109.03262]

The next two decades are expected to open the door to the first coincident detections of electromagnetic (EM) and gravitational wave (GW) signatures associated with massive black hole (MBH) binaries heading for coalescence. These detections will launch a new era of multimessenger astrophysics by expanding this growing field to the low-frequency GW regime and will provide an unprecedented understanding of the evolution of MBHs and galaxies. They will also constitute fundamentally new probes of cosmology and would enable unique tests of gravity. The aim of this Living Review is to provide an introduction to this research topic by presenting a summary of key findings, physical processes and ideas pertaining to EM counterparts to MBH mergers as they are known at the time of this writing. We review current observational evidence for close MBH binaries, discuss relevant physical processes and timescales, and summarize the possible EM counterparts to GWs in the precursor, coalescence, and afterglow stages of a MBH merger. We also describe open questions and discuss future prospects in this dynamic and quick-paced research area.

Electromagnetic Counterparts to Massive Black Hole Mergers

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 3.

[arXiv:2109.03262]

The next two decades are expected to open the door to the first coincident detections of electromagnetic (EM) and gravitational wave (GW) signatures associated with massive black hole (MBH) binaries heading for coalescence. These detections will launch a new era of multimessenger astrophysics by expanding this growing field to the low-frequency GW regime and will provide an unprecedented understanding of the evolution of MBHs and galaxies. They will also constitute fundamentally new probes of cosmology and would enable unique tests of gravity. The aim of this Living Review is to provide an introduction to this research topic by presenting a summary of key findings, physical processes and ideas pertaining to EM counterparts to MBH mergers as they are known at the time of this writing. We review current observational evidence for close MBH binaries, discuss relevant physical processes and timescales, and summarize the possible EM counterparts to GWs in the precursor, coalescence, and afterglow stages of a MBH merger. We also describe open questions and discuss future prospects in this dynamic and quick-paced research area.

Loop quantum cosmology

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 4.

Quantum gravity is expected to be necessary in order to understand situations in which classical general relativity breaks down. In particular in cosmology one has to deal with initial singularities, i.e., the fact that the backward evolution of a classical spacetime inevitably comes to an end after a finite amount of proper time. This presents a breakdown of the classical picture and requires an extended theory for a meaningful description. Since small length scales and high curvatures are involved, quantum effects must play a role. Not only the singularity itself but also the surrounding spacetime is then modified. One particular theory is loop quantum cosmology, an application of loop quantum gravity to homogeneous systems, which removes classical singularities. Its implications can be studied at different levels. The main effects are introduced into effective classical equations, which allow one to avoid the interpretational problems of quantum theory. They give rise to new kinds of early-universe phenomenology with applications to inflation and cyclic models. To resolve classical singularities and to understand the structure of geometry around them, the quantum description is necessary. Classical evolution is then replaced by a difference equation for a wave function, which allows an extension of quantum spacetime beyond classical singularities. One main question is how these homogeneous scenarios are related to full loop quantum gravity, which can be dealt with at the level of distributional symmetric states. Finally, the new structure of spacetime arising in loop quantum gravity and its application to cosmology sheds light on more general issues, such as the nature of time.

Rates of Compact Object Coalescences

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 1.

[arXiv:2107.14239]

Gravitational-wave detections are enabling measurements of the rate of coalescences of binaries composed of two compact objects -- neutron stars and/or black holes. The coalescence rate of binaries containing neutron stars is further constrained by electromagnetic observations, including Galactic radio binary pulsars and short gamma-ray bursts. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated models of compact objects merging through a variety of evolutionary channels produce a range of theoretically predicted rates. Rapid improvements in instrument sensitivity, along with plans for new and improved surveys, make this an opportune time to summarise the existing observational and theoretical knowledge of compact-binary coalescence rates.

Neutron Star Mergers and How to Study Them

Living Rev. Rel., 23, (2020), 4.

[arXiv:1909.06085]

Neutron star mergers are the canonical multimessenger events: they have been observed through photons for half a century, gravitational waves since 2017, and are likely to be sources of neutrinos and cosmic rays. Studies of these events enable unique insights into astrophysics, particles in the ultrarelativistic regime, the heavy element enrichment history through cosmic time, cosmology, dense matter, and fundamental physics. Uncovering this science requires vast observational resources, unparalleled coordination, and advancements in theory and simulation, which are constrained by our current understanding of nuclear, atomic, and astroparticle physics. This review begins with a summary of our current knowledge of these events, the expected observational signatures, and estimated detection rates for the next decade. I then present the key observations necessary to advance our understanding of these sources, followed by the broad science this enables. I close with a discussion on the necessary future capabilities to fully utilize these enigmatic sources to understand our universe.

Tests of Chameleon Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 1.

[arXiv:1709.09071]

Theories of modified gravity where light scalars with non-trivial self-interactions and non-minimal couplings to matter-chameleon and symmetron theories-dynamically suppress deviations from general relativity in the solar system. On other scales, the environmental nature of the screening means that such scalars may be relevant. The highly-nonlinear nature of screening mechanisms means that they evade classical fifth-force searches, and there has been an intense effort towards designing new and novel tests to probe them, both in the laboratory and using astrophysical objects, and by reinterpreting existing datasets. The results of these searches are often presented using different parametrizations, which can make it difficult to compare constraints coming from different probes. The purpose of this review is to summarize the present state-of-the-art searches for screened scalars coupled to matter, and to translate the current bounds into a single parametrization to survey the state of the models. Presently, commonly studied chameleon models are well-constrained but less commonly studied models have large regions of parameter space that are still viable. Symmetron models are constrained well by astrophysical and laboratory tests, but there is a desert separating the two scales where the model is unconstrained. The coupling of chameleons to photons is tightly constrained but the symmetron coupling has yet to be explored. We also summarize the current bounds on $f(R)$ models that exhibit the chameleon mechanism (Hu \& Sawicki models). The simplest of these are well constrained by astrophysical probes, but there are currently few reported bounds for theories with higher powers of $R$. The review ends by discussing the future prospects for constraining screened modified gravity models further using upcoming and planned experiments.

Testing the nature of dark compact objects: a status report

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 4.

[arXiv:1904.05363]

Very compact objects probe extreme gravitational fields and may be the key to understand outstanding puzzles in fundamental physics. These include the nature of dark matter, the fate of spacetime singularities, or the loss of unitarity in Hawking evaporation. The standard astrophysical description of collapsing objects tells us that massive, dark and compact objects are black holes. Any observation suggesting otherwise would be an indication of beyond-the-standard-model physics. Null results strengthen and quantify the Kerr black hole paradigm. The advent of gravitational-wave astronomy and precise measurements with very long baseline interferometry allow one to finally probe into such foundational issues. We overview the physics of exotic dark compact objects and their observational status, including the observational evidence for black holes with current and future experiments.

Quantum Gravity in 2+1 Dimensions: The Case of a Closed Universe

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 1.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0409039]

In three spacetime dimensions, general relativity drastically simplifies, becoming a ``topological'' theory with no propagating local degrees of freedom. Nevertheless, many of the difficult conceptual problems of quantizing gravity are still present. In this review, I summarize the rather large body of work that has gone towards quantizing (2+1)-dimensional vacuum gravity in the setting of a spatially closed universe.

The general relativistic constraint equations

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 2.

We present the state-of-the-art concerning the relativistic constraints, which describe the geometry of hypersurfaces in a spacetime subject to the Einstein field equations. We review a variety of solvability results, the construction of several classes of solutions of special relevance and place results in the broader context of mathematical general relativity. Apart from providing an overview of the subject, this paper includes a selection of open questions, as well as a few complements to some significant contributions in the literature.

The Cosmological Constant

Living Rev. Rel., 4, (2001), 1.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0004075]

This is a review of the physics and cosmology of the cosmological constant. Focusing on recent developments, I present a pedagogical overview of cosmology in the presence of a cosmological constant, observational constraints on its magnitude, and the physics of a small (and potentially nonzero) vacuum energy.

Physics of Neutron Star Crusts

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 10.

[arXiv:0812.3955]

The physics of neutron star crusts is vast, involving many different research fields, from nuclear and condensed matter physics to general relativity. This review summarizes the progress, which has been achieved over the last few years, in modeling neutron star crusts, both at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. The confrontation of these theoretical models with observations is also briefly discussed.

Stationary Black Holes: Uniqueness and Beyond

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 7.

[arXiv:1205.6112]

The spectrum of known black-hole solutions to the stationary Einstein equations has been steadily increasing, sometimes in unexpected ways. In particular, it has turned out that not all black-hole-equilibrium configurations are characterized by their mass, angular momentum and global charges. Moreover, the high degree of symmetry displayed by vacuum and electro-vacuum black-hole spacetimes ceases to exist in self-gravitating non-linear field theories. This text aims to review some developments in the subject and to discuss them in light of the uniqueness theorem for the Einstein-Maxwell system.

History of astroparticle physics and its components

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 2.

This article gives an outline of the historical events that led to the formation of contemporary astroparticle physics. As a starting point for analyzing the history of astroparticle physics this article will review the various, yet scattered pieces of historical work that have been done so far. To make the picture more complete it will then give a brief survey of the most important fields that have played a role in the development of astroparticle physics as we know it today. It will conclude with an overview of the historical questions that are still open and the rich philosophical implications that lie behind those questions.

Relativistic fluid dynamics: physics for many different scales

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 3.

[arXiv:2008.12069]

The relativistic fluid is a highly successful model used to describe the dynamics of many-particle systems moving at high velocities and/or in strong gravity. It takes as input physics from microscopic scales and yields as output predictions of bulk, macroscopic motion. By inverting the process-e.g., drawing on astrophysical observations-an understanding of relativistic features can lead to insight into physics on the microscopic scale. Relativistic fluids have been used to model systems as "small" as colliding heavy ions in laboratory experiments, and as large as the Universe itself, with "intermediate" sized objects like neutron stars being considered along the way. The purpose of this review is to discuss the mathematical and theoretical physics underpinnings of the relativistic (multi-) fluid model. We focus on the variational principle approach championed by Brandon Carter and collaborators, in which a crucial element is to distinguish the momenta that are conjugate to the particle number density currents. This approach differs from the "standard" text-book derivation of the equations of motion from the divergence of the stress-energy tensor in that one explicitly obtains the relativistic Euler equation as an "integrability" condition on the relativistic vorticity. We discuss the conservation laws and the equations of motion in detail, and provide a number of (in our opinion) interesting and relevant applications of the general theory. The formalism provides a foundation for complex models, e.g., including electromagnetism, superfluidity and elasticity-all of which are relevant for state of the art neutron-star modelling.

The Kerr/CFT correspondence and its extensions: a comprehensive review

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 1.

[arXiv:1203.3561]

We present a first-principles derivation of the main results of the Kerr/CFT correspondence and its extensions using only tools from gravity and quantum field theory. Firstly, we review properties of extremal black holes with in particular the construction of an asymptotic Virasoro symmetry in the near-horizon limit. The entropy of extremal spinning or charged black holes is shown to match with a chiral half of Cardy's formula. Secondly, we show how a thermal 2-dimensional conformal field theory (CFT) is relevant to reproduce the dynamics of near-superradiant probes around near-extremal black holes in the semi-classical limit. Thirdly, we review the hidden conformal symmetries of asymptotically-flat black holes away from extremality and present how the non-extremal entropy can be matched with Cardy's formula. We follow an effective field theory approach and consider the Kerr-Newman black hole and its generalizations in various supergravity theories. The interpretation of these results by deformed dual conformal field theories is discussed and contrasted with properties of standard 2-dimensional CFTs. We conclude with a list of open problems.

Initial Data for Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 3, (2000), 5.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0007085]

Initial data are the starting point for any numerical simulation. In the case of numerical relativity, Einstein's equations constrain our choices of these initial data. We will examine several of the formalisms used for specifying Cauchy initial data in the 3+1 decomposition of Einstein's equations. We will then explore how these formalisms have been used in constructing initial data for spacetimes containing black holes and neutron stars. In the topics discussed, emphasis is placed on those issues that are important for obtaining astrophysically realistic initial data for compact binary coalescence.

Detection methods for stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds: A unified treatment

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 2.

[arXiv:1608.06889]

We review detection methods that are currently in use or have been proposed to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We consider both Bayesian and frequentist searches using ground-based and space-based laser interferometers, spacecraft Doppler tracking, and pulsar timing arrays; and we allow for anisotropy, non-Gaussianity, and non-standard polarization states. Our focus is on relevant data analysis issues, and not on the particular astrophysical or early Universe sources that might give rise to such backgrounds. We provide a unified treatment of these searches at the level of detector response functions, detection sensitivity curves, and, more generally, at the level of the likelihood function, since the choice of signal and noise models and prior probability distributions are actually what define the search. Pedagogical examples are given whenever possible to compare and contrast different approaches. We have tried to make the article as self-contained and comprehensive as possible, targeting graduate students and new researchers looking to enter this field.

Geometrical inequalities bounding angular momentum...

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 5.

[arXiv:1710.04457]

Geometrical inequalities show how certain parameters of a physical system set restrictions on other parameters. For instance, a black hole of given mass can not rotate too fast, or an ordinary object of given size can not have too much electric charge. In this article we are interested in bounds on the angular momentum and electromagnetic charges, in terms of total mass and size. We are mainly concerned with inequalities for black holes and ordinary objects. The former are the most studied systems in this context in General Relativity, and where most results have been found. Ordinary objects, on the other hand, present numerous challenges and many basic questions concerning geometrical estimates for them are still unanswered. We present the many results in these areas. We make emphasis in identifying the mathematical conditions that lead to such estimates, both for black holes and ordinary objects.

Advanced quantum techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 2.

[arXiv:1903.05223]

Quantum fluctuation of light limits the sensitivity of advanced laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. It is one of the principal obstacles on the way towards the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. The envisioned significant improvement of the detector sensitivity requires using quantum non-demolition measurement and back-action evasion techniques, which allow us to circumvent the sensitivity limit imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In our previous review article: "Quantum measurement theory in gravitational-wave detectors"' [Living Rev. Relativity 15, 5 (2012)], we laid down the basic principles of quantum measurement theory and provided the framework for analysing the quantum noise of interferometers. The scope of this paper is to review novel techniques for quantum noise suppression proposed in the recent years and put them in the same framework. Our delineation of interferometry schemes and topologies is intended as an aid in the process of selecting the design for the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories.

Quantum Measurement Theory in Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 5.

[arXiv:1203.1706]

The fast progress in improving the sensitivity of the gravitational-wave (GW) detectors, we all have witnessed in the recent years, has propelled the scientific community to the point, when quantum behaviour of such immense measurement devices as kilometer-long interferometers starts to matter. The time, when their sensitivity will be mainly limited by the quantum noise of light is round the corner, and finding the ways to reduce it will become a necessity. Therefore, the primary goal we pursued in this review was to familiarize a broad spectrum of readers with the theory of quantum measurements in the very form it finds application in the area of gravitational-wave detection. We focus on how quantum noise arises in gravitational-wave interferometers and what limitations it imposes on the achievable sensitivity. We start from the very basic concepts and gradually advance to the general linear quantum measurement theory and its application to the calculation of quantum noise in the contemporary and planned interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation of the first and second generation. Special attention is paid to the concept of Standard Quantum Limit and the methods of its surmounting.

f(R) theories

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 3.

[arXiv:1002.4928]

Over the past decade, f(R) theories have been extensively studied as one of the simplest modifications to General Relativity. In this article we review various applications of f(R) theories to cosmology and gravity - such as inflation, dark energy, local gravity constraints, cosmological perturbations, and spherically symmetric solutions in weak and strong gravitational backgrounds. We present a number of ways to distinguish those theories from General Relativity observationally and experimentally. We also discuss the extension to other modified gravity theories such as Brans-Dicke theory and Gauss-Bonnet gravity, and address models that can satisfy both cosmological and local gravity constraints.

Massive Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 7.

[arXiv:1401.4173]

We review recent progress in massive gravity. We start by showing how different theories of massive gravity emerge from a higher-dimensional theory of general relativity, leading to the Dvali-Gabadadze-Porrati model, cascading gravity and ghost-free massive gravity. We then explore their theoretical and phenomenological consistency, proving the absence of Boulware-Deser ghosts and reviewing the Vainshtein mechanism and the cosmological solutions in these models. Finally we present alternative and related models of massive gravity such as new massive gravity, Lorentz-violating massive gravity and non-local massive gravity.

Time-delay interferometry

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 1.

Equal-arm detectors of gravitational radiation allow phase measurements many orders of magnitude below the intrinsic phase stability of the laser injecting light into their arms. This is because the noise in the laser light is common to both arms, experiencing exactly the same delay, and thus cancels when it is differenced at the photo detector. In this situation, much lower level secondary noises then set the overall performance. If, however, the two arms have different lengths (as will necessarily be the case with space-borne interferometers), the laser noise experiences different delays in the two arms and will hence not directly cancel at the photo detector. To solve this problem, a technique involving heterodyne interferometry with unequal arm lengths and independent phase-difference readouts has been proposed. It relies on properly time-shifting and linearly combining independent Doppler measurements, and for this reason it has been called time-delay interferometry (TDI). This article provides an overview of the theory, mathematical foundations, and experimental aspects associated with the implementation of TDI. Although emphasis on the application of TDI to the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna mission appears throughout this article, TDI can be incorporated into the design of any future space-based mission aiming to search for gravitational waves via interferometric measurements. We have purposely left out all theoretical aspects that data analysts will need to account for when analyzing the TDI data combinations.

Relativistic Binaries in Globular Clusters

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 4.

[arXiv:1110.4423]

Galactic globular clusters are old, dense star systems typically containing 10\super{4}--10\super{7} stars. As an old population of stars, globular clusters contain many collapsed and degenerate objects. As a dense population of stars, globular clusters are the scene of many interesting close dynamical interactions between stars. These dynamical interactions can alter the evolution of individual stars and can produce tight binary systems containing one or two compact objects. In this review, we discuss theoretical models of globular cluster evolution and binary evolution, techniques for simulating this evolution that leads to relativistic binaries, and current and possible future observational evidence for this population. Our discussion of globular cluster evolution will focus on the processes that boost the production of hard binary systems and the subsequent interaction of these binaries that can alter the properties of both bodies and can lead to exotic objects. Direct {\it N}-body integrations and Fokker--Planck simulations of the evolution of globular clusters that incorporate tidal interactions and lead to predictions of relativistic binary populations are also discussed. We discuss the current observational evidence for cataclysmic variables, millisecond pulsars, and low-mass X-ray binaries as well as possible future detection of relativistic binaries with gravitational radiation.

Black Holes in Higher Dimensions

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 6.

[arXiv:0801.3471]

We review black hole solutions of higher-dimensional vacuum gravity, and of higher-dimensional supergravity theories. The discussion of vacuum gravity is pedagogical, with detailed reviews of Myers-Perry solutions, black rings, and solution-generating techniques. We discuss black hole solutions of maximal supergravity theories, including black holes in anti-de Sitter space. General results and open problems are discussed throughout.

Binary Neutron Star Mergers

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 8.

[arXiv:1204.3858]

We review the current status of studies of the coalescence of binary neutron star systems. We begin with a discussion of the formation channels of merging binaries and we discuss the most recent theoretical predictions for merger rates. Next, we turn to the quasi-equilibrium formalisms that are used to study binaries prior to the merger phase and to generate initial data for fully dynamical simulations. The quasi-equilibrium approximation has played a key role in developing our understanding of the physics of binary coalescence and, in particular, of the orbital instability processes that can drive binaries to merger at the end of their lifetimes. We then turn to the numerical techniques used in dynamical simulations, including relativistic formalisms, (magneto-)hydrodynamics, gravitational-wave extraction techniques, and nuclear microphysics treatments. This is followed by a summary of the simulations performed across the field to date, including the most recent results from both fully relativistic and microphysically detailed simulations. Finally, we discuss the likely directions for the field as we transition from the first to the second generation of gravitational-wave interferometers and while supercomputers reach the petascale frontier.

Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND): Observational Phenomenology and Relativistic Extensions

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 10.

[arXiv:1112.3960]

A wealth of astronomical data indicate the presence of mass discrepancies in the Universe. The motions observed in a variety of classes of extragalactic systems exceed what can be explained by the mass visible in stars and gas. Either (i) there is a vast amount of unseen mass in some novel form - dark matter - or (ii) the data indicate a breakdown of our understanding of dynamics on the relevant scales, or (iii) both. Here, we first review a few outstanding challenges for the dark matter interpretation of mass discrepancies in galaxies, purely based on observations and independently of any alternative theoretical framework. We then show that many of these puzzling observations are predicted by one single relation - Milgrom's law - involving an acceleration constant (or a characteristic surface density) of the order of the square-root of the cosmological constant in natural units. This relation can at present most easily be interpreted as the effect of a single universal force law resulting from a modification of Newtonian dynamics (MOND) on galactic scales. We exhaustively review the current observational successes and problems of this alternative paradigm at all astrophysical scales, and summarize the various theoretical attempts (TeVeS, GEA, BIMOND, and others) made to effectively embed this modification of Newtonian dynamics within a relativistic theory of gravity.

Testing GR and alternative theories with planetary ephemerides

Living Rev. Rel., 27, (2024), 1.

[arXiv:2303.01821]

We describe here how planetary ephemerides are built in the framework of General Relativity and how they can be used to test alternative theories. We focus on the definition of the reference frame (space and time) in which the planetary ephemeris is described, the equations of motion that govern the orbits of solar system bodies and {electromagnetic waves}. After a review on the existing planetary and lunar ephemerides, we summarize the results obtained considering full modifications of the ephemeris framework with direct comparisons with the observations of planetary systems, with a specific attention for the PPN formalism. We then discuss other formalisms such as Einstein-dilaton theories, the massless graviton and MOND. The paper finally concludes on some comments and recommendations regarding misinterpreted measurements of the advance of perihelia.

Numerical Hydrodynamics and Magnetohydrodynamics in General Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 7.

This article presents a comprehensive overview of numerical hydrodynamics and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) in general relativity. Some significant additions have been incorporated with respect to the previous two versions of this review (2000, 2003), most notably the coverage of general-relativistic MHD, a field in which remarkable activity and progress has occurred in the last few years. Correspondingly, the discussion of astrophysical simulations in general-relativistic hydrodynamics is enlarged to account for recent relevant advances, while those dealing with general-relativistic MHD are amply covered in this review for the first time. The basic outline of this article is nevertheless similar to its earlier versions, save for the addition of MHD-related issues throughout. Hence, different formulations of both the hydrodynamics and MHD equations are presented, with special mention of conservative and hyperbolic formulations well adapted to advanced numerical methods. A large sample of numerical approaches for solving such hyperbolic systems of equations is discussed, paying particular attention to solution procedures based on schemes exploiting the characteristic structure of the equations through linearized Riemann solvers. As previously stated, a comprehensive summary of astrophysical simulations in strong gravitational fields is also presented. These are detailed in three basic sections, namely gravitational collapse, black-hole accretion, and neutron-star evolutions; despite the boundaries, these sections may (and in fact do) overlap throughout the discussion. The material contained in these sections highlights the numerical challenges of various representative simulations. It also follows, to some extent, the chronological development of the field, concerning advances in the formulation of the gravitational field, hydrodynamics and MHD equations and the numerical methodology designed to solve them. To keep the length of this article reasonable, an effort has been made to focus on multidimensional studies, directing the interested reader to earlier versions of the review for discussions on one-dimensional works.

Foundations of Black Hole Accretion Disk Theory

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 1.

[arXiv:1104.5499]

This review covers the main aspects of black hole accretion disk theory. We begin with the view that one of the main goals of the theory is to better understand the nature of black holes themselves. In this light we discuss how accretion disks might reveal some of the unique signatures of strong gravity: the event horizon, the innermost stable circular orbit, and the ergosphere. We then review, from a first-principles perspective, the physical processes at play in accretion disks. This leads us to the four primary accretion disk models that we review: Polish doughnuts (thick disks), Shakura-Sunyaev (thin) disks, slim disks, and advection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs). After presenting the models we discuss issues of stability, oscillations, and jets. Following our review of the analytic work, we take a parallel approach in reviewing numerical studies of black hole accretion disks. We finish with a few select applications that highlight particular astrophysical applications: measurements of black hole mass and spin, black hole vs. neutron star accretion disks, black hole accretion disk spectral states, and quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs).

Conformal infinity

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 1.

The notion of conformal infinity has a long history within the research in Einstein’s theory of gravity. Today, “conformal infinity” is related to almost all other branches of research in general relativity, from quantisation procedures to abstract mathematical issues to numerical applications. This review article attempts to show how this concept gradually and inevitably evolved from physical issues, namely the need to understand gravitational radiation and isolated systems within the theory of gravitation, and how it lends itself very naturally to the solution of radiation problems in numerical relativity. The fundamental concept of null-infinity is introduced. Friedrich’s regular conformal field equations are presented and various initial value problems for them are discussed. Finally, it is shown that the conformal field equations provide a very powerful method within numerical relativity to study global problems such as gravitational wave propagation and detection.

Interferometer Techniques for Gravitational-Wave Detection

Living Rev. Rel., 19, (2010), 3.

[arXiv:0909.3661]

Several km-scale gravitational-wave detectors have been constructed world wide. These instruments combine a number of advanced technologies to push the limits of precision length measurement. The core devices are laser interferometers of a new kind; developed from the classical Michelson topology these interferometers integrate additional optical elements, which significantly change the properties of the optical system. Much of the design and analysis of these laser interferometers can be performed using well-known classical optical techniques; however, the complex optical layouts provide a new challenge. In this review we give a textbook-style introduction to the optical science required for the understanding of modern gravitational wave detectors, as well as other high-precision laser interferometers. In addition, we provide a number of examples for a freely available interferometer simulation software and encourage the reader to use these examples to gain hands-on experience with the discussed optical methods.

Black holes, hidden symmetries, and complete integrability

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 6.

[arXiv:1705.05482]

The study of higher-dimensional black holes is a subject which has recently attracted a vast interest. Perhaps one of the most surprising discoveries is a realization that the properties of higher-dimensional black holes with the spherical horizon topology and described by the Kerr-NUT-(A)dS metrics are very similar to the properties of the well known four-dimensional Kerr metric. This remarkable result stems from the existence of a single object called the principal tensor. In our review we discuss explicit and hidden symmetries of higher-dimensional black holes. We start with the overview of the Liouville theory of completely integrable systems and introduce Killing and Killing-Yano objects representing explicit and hidden symmetries. We demonstrate that the principal tensor can be used as a `seed object' which generates all these symmetries. It determines the form of the black hole geometry, as well as guarantees its remarkable properties, such as special algebraic type of the spacetime, complete integrability of geodesic motion, and separability of the Hamilton-Jacobi, Klein-Gordon, and Dirac equations. The review also contains a discussion of different applications of the developed formalism and its possible generalizations.

Gravitational waves from gravitational collapse

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 1.

Gravitational-wave emission from stellar collapse has been studied for nearly four decades. Current state-of-the-art numerical investigations of collapse include those that use progenitors with more realistic angular momentum profiles, properly treat microphysics issues, account for general relativity, and examine non-axisymmetric effects in three dimensions. Such simulations predict that gravitational waves from various phenomena associated with gravitational collapse could be detectable with ground-based and space-based interferometric observatories. This review covers the entire range of stellar collapse sources of gravitational waves: from the accretion-induced collapse of a white dwarf through the collapse down to neutron stars or black holes of massive stars to the collapse of supermassive stars.

The post-Newtonian approximation for relativistic compact binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 2.

We discuss various aspects of the post-Newtonian approximation in general relativity. After presenting the foundation based on the Newtonian limit, we show a method to derive post-Newtonian equations of motion for relativistic compact binaries based on a surface integral approach and the strong field point particle limit. As an application we derive third post-Newtonian equations of motion for relativistic compact binaries which respect the Lorentz invariance in the post-Newtonian perturbative sense, admit a conserved energy, and are free from any ambiguity.

Geometrical inequalities bounding angular momentum...

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 5.

[arXiv:1710.04457]

Geometrical inequalities show how certain parameters of a physical system set restrictions on other parameters. For instance, a black hole of given mass can not rotate too fast, or an ordinary object of given size can not have too much electric charge. In this article we are interested in bounds on the angular momentum and electromagnetic charges, in terms of total mass and size. We are mainly concerned with inequalities for black holes and ordinary objects. The former are the most studied systems in this context in General Relativity, and where most results have been found. Ordinary objects, on the other hand, present numerous challenges and many basic questions concerning geometrical estimates for them are still unanswered. We present the many results in these areas. We make emphasis in identifying the mathematical conditions that lead to such estimates, both for black holes and ordinary objects.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 7.

[arXiv:1212.5575]

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ~0.01mHz - 1Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.

On the History of Unified Field Theories. Part II. (ca. 1930 - ca. 1965)

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 5.

The present review intends to provide an overall picture of the research concerning classical unified field theory, worldwide, in the decades between the mid-1930 and mid-1960. Main themes are the conceptual and methodical development of the field, the interaction among the scientists working in it, their opinions and interpretations. Next to the most prominent players, A. Einstein and E. Schro

On the history of unified field theories

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 2.

This article is intended to give a review of the history of the classical aspects of unified field theories in the 20th century. It includes brief technical descriptions of the theories suggested, short biographical notes concerning the scientists involved, and an extensive bibliography. The present first installment covers the time span between 1914 and 1933, i.e., when Einstein was living and working in Berlin — with occasional digressions into other periods. Thus, the main theme is the unification of the electromagnetic and gravitational fields augmented by short-lived attempts to include the matter field described by Schrödinger’s or Dirac’s equations. While my focus lies on the conceptual development of the field, by also paying attention to the interaction of various schools of mathematicians with the research done by physicists, some prosopocraphical remarks are included.

Spectral Methods for Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 1.

[arXiv:0706.2286]

Equations arising in General Relativity are usually too complicated to be solved analytically and one has to rely on numerical methods to solve sets of coupled partial differential equations. Among the possible choices, this paper focuses on a class called spectral methods where, typically, the various functions are expanded onto sets of orthogonal polynomials or functions. A theoretical introduction on spectral expansion is first given and a particular emphasis is put on the fast convergence of the spectral approximation. We present then different approaches to solve partial differential equations, first limiting ourselves to the one-dimensional case, with one or several domains. Generalization to more dimensions is then discussed. In particular, the case of time evolutions is carefully studied and the stability of such evolutions investigated. One then turns to results obtained by various groups in the field of General Relativity by means of spectral methods. First, works which do not involve explicit time-evolutions are discussed, going from rapidly rotating strange stars to the computation of binary black holes initial data. Finally, the evolutions of various systems of astrophysical interest are presented, from supernovae core collapse to binary black hole mergers.

Critical phenomena in gravitational collapse

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 5.

[arXiv:0711.4620]

As first discovered by Choptuik, the black hole threshold in the space of initial data for general relativity shows both surprising structure and surprising simplicity. Universality, power-law scaling of the black hole mass, and scale echoing have given rise to the term "critical phenomena". They are explained by the existence of exact solutions which are attractors within the black hole threshold, that is, attractors of codimension one in phase space, and which are typically self-similar. Critical phenomena give a natural route from smooth initial data to arbitrarily large curvatures visible from infinity, and are therefore likely to be relevant for cosmic censorship, quantum gravity, astrophysics, and our general understanding of the dynamics of general relativity.

Physics of Neutron Star Crusts

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 10.

[arXiv:0812.3955]

The physics of neutron star crusts is vast, involving many different research fields, from nuclear and condensed matter physics to general relativity. This review summarizes the progress, which has been achieved over the last few years, in modeling neutron star crusts, both at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. The confrontation of these theoretical models with observations is also briefly discussed.

Terrestrial gravity fluctuations

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 6.

Terrestrial gravity fluctuations are a target of scientific studies in a variety of fields within geophysics and fundamental-physics experiments involving gravity such as the observation of gravitational waves. In geophysics, these fluctuations are typically considered as signal that carries information about processes such as fault ruptures and atmospheric density perturbations. In fundamental-physics experiments, it appears as environmental noise, which needs to be avoided or mitigated. This article reviews the current state-of-the-art of modeling high-frequency terrestrial gravity fluctuations and of gravity-noise mitigation strategies. It hereby focuses on frequencies above about 50 mHz, which allows us to simplify models of atmospheric gravity perturbations (beyond Brunt–Väisälä regime) and it guarantees as well that gravitational forces on elastic media can be treated as perturbation. Extensive studies have been carried out over the past two decades to model contributions from seismic and atmospheric fields especially by the gravitational-wave community. While terrestrial gravity fluctuations above 50 mHz have not been observed conclusively yet, sensitivity of instruments for geophysical observations and of gravitational-wave detectors is improving, and we can expect first observations in the coming years. The next challenges include the design of gravity-noise mitigation systems to be implemented in current gravitational-wave detectors, and further improvement of models for future gravitational-wave detectors where terrestrial gravity noise will play a more important role. Also, many aspects of the recent proposition to use a new generation of gravity sensors to improve real-time earthquake early-warning systems still require detailed analyses.

Spacelike Singularities and Hidden Symmetries of Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 1.

[arXiv:0710.1818]

We review the intimate connection between (super-)gravity close to a spacelike singularity (the "BKL-limit") and the theory of Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebras. We show that in this limit the gravitational theory can be reformulated in terms of billiard motion in a region of hyperbolic space, revealing that the dynamics is completely determined by a (possibly infinite) sequence of reflections, which are elements of a Lorentzian Coxeter group. Such Coxeter groups are the Weyl groups of infinite-dimensional Kac-Moody algebras, suggesting that these algebras yield symmetries of gravitational theories. Our presentation is aimed to be a self-contained and comprehensive treatment of the subject, with all the relevant mathematical background material introduced and explained in detail. We also review attempts at making the infinite-dimensional symmetries manifest, through the construction of a geodesic sigma model based on a Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebra. An explicit example is provided for the case of the hyperbolic algebra E10, which is conjectured to be an underlying symmetry of M-theory. Illustrations of this conjecture are also discussed in the context of cosmological solutions to eleven-dimensional supergravity.

Stationary Black Holes: Uniqueness and Beyond

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 7.

[arXiv:1205.6112]

The spectrum of known black-hole solutions to the stationary Einstein equations has been steadily increasing, sometimes in unexpected ways. In particular, it has turned out that not all black-hole-equilibrium configurations are characterized by their mass, angular momentum and global charges. Moreover, the high degree of symmetry displayed by vacuum and electro-vacuum black-hole spacetimes ceases to exist in self-gravitating non-linear field theories. This text aims to review some developments in the subject and to discuss them in light of the uniqueness theorem for the Einstein-Maxwell system.

Minimal Length Scale Scenarios for Quantum Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 2.

[arXiv:1203.6191]

We review the question of whether the fundamental laws of nature limit our ability to probe arbitrarily short distances. First, we examine what insights can be gained from thought experiments for probes of shortest distances, and summarize what can be learned from different approaches to a theory of quantum gravity. Then we discuss some models that have been developed to implement a minimal length scale in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. These models have entered the literature as the generalized uncertainty principle or the modified dispersion relation, and have allowed the study of the effects of a minimal length scale in quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, thermodynamics, black-hole physics and cosmology. Finally, we touch upon the question of ways to circumvent the manifestation of a minimal length scale in short-distance physics.

Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space)

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 5.

[arXiv:1102.3355]

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free craft in space. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world - LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) - and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future "third generation" gravitational wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed.

Stochastic Gravity: Theory and Applications

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 3.

[arXiv:0802.0658]

Whereas semiclassical gravity is based on the semiclassical Einstein equation with sources given by the expectation value of the stress-energy tensor of quantum fields, stochastic semiclassical gravity is based on the Einstein-Langevin equation, which has in addition sources due to the noise kernel. In the first part, we describe the fundamentals of this new theory via two approaches: the axiomatic and the functional. In the second part, we describe three applications of stochastic gravity theory. First, we consider metric perturbations in a Minkowski spacetime, compute the two-point correlation functions of these perturbations and prove that Minkowski spacetime is a stable solution of semiclassical gravity. Second, we discuss structure formation from the stochastic gravity viewpoint. Third, we discuss the backreaction of Hawking radiation in the gravitational background of a black hole and describe the metric fluctuations near the event horizon of an evaporating black hole

Testing General Relativity in Cosmology

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 1.

[arXiv:1806.10122]

We review recent developments and results in testing general relativity (GR) at cosmological scales. The subject has witnessed rapid growth during the last two decades with the aim of addressing the question of cosmic acceleration and the dark energy associated with it. However, with the advent of precision cosmology, it has also become a well-motivated endeavor by itself to test gravitational physics at cosmic scales. We overview cosmological probes of gravity, formalisms and parameterizations for testing deviations from GR at cosmological scales, selected modified gravity (MG) theories, gravitational screening mechanisms, and computer codes developed for these tests. We then provide summaries of recent cosmological constraints on MG parameters and selected MG models. We supplement these cosmological constraints with a summary of implications from the recent binary neutron star merger event. Next, we summarize some results on MG parameter forecasts with and without astrophysical systematics that will dominate the uncertainties. The review aims at providing an overall picture of the subject and an entry point to students and researchers interested in joining the field. It can also serve as a quick reference to recent results and constraints on testing gravity at cosmological scales.

The post-Newtonian approximation for relativistic compact binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 2.

We discuss various aspects of the post-Newtonian approximation in general relativity. After presenting the foundation based on the Newtonian limit, we show a method to derive post-Newtonian equations of motion for relativistic compact binaries based on a surface integral approach and the strong field point particle limit. As an application we derive third post-Newtonian equations of motion for relativistic compact binaries which respect the Lorentz invariance in the post-Newtonian perturbative sense, admit a conserved energy, and are free from any ambiguity.

The Hubble Constant

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 4.

[arXiv:0709.3924]

I review the current state of determinations of the Hubble constant, which gives the length scale of the Universe by relating the expansion velocity of objects to their distance. In the last 20 years, much progress has been made and estimates now range between 60 and 75 km/s/Mpc, with most now between 70 and 75km/s/Mpc, a huge improvement over the factor-of-2 uncertainty which used to prevail. Further improvements which gave a generally agreed margin of error of a few percent rather than the current 10% would be vital input to much other interesting cosmology. There are several programmes which are likely to lead us to this point in the next 10 years.

Gravitational-Wave Data Analysis. Formalism and Sample Applications: The Gaussian Case

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 3.

[arXiv:0711.1115]

The article reviews the statistical theory of signal detection in application to analysis of deterministic gravitational-wave signals in the noise of a detector. Statistical foundations for the theory of signal detection and parameter estimation are presented. Several tools needed for both theoretical evaluation of the optimal data analysis methods and for their practical implementation are introduced. They include optimal signal-to-noise ratio, Fisher matrix, false alarm and detection probabilities, $\mathcal{F}$-statistic, template placement, and fitting factor. These tools apply to the case of signals buried in a stationary and Gaussian noise. Algorithms to efficiently implement the optimal data analysis techniques are discussed. Formulas are given for a general gravitational-wave signal that includes as special cases most of the deterministic signals of interest.

Hamiltonian formulation of general relativity and post-Newtonian dynamics of compact binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 27, (2024), 2.

[arXiv:1805.07240]

Hamiltonian formalisms provide powerful tools for the computation of approximate analytic solutions of the Einstein field equations. The post-Newtonian computations of the explicit analytic dynamics and motion of compact binaries are discussed within the most often applied Arnowitt-Deser-Misner formalism. The obtention of autonomous Hamiltonians is achieved by the transition to Routhians. Order reduction of higher derivative Hamiltonians results in standard Hamiltonians. Tetrad representation of general relativity is introduced for the tackling of compact binaries with spinning components. Compact objects are modeled by use of Dirac delta functions and their derivatives. Consistency is achieved through transition to $d$-dimensional space and application of dimensional regularization. At the fourth post-Newtonian level, tail contributions to the binding energy show up for the first time. The conservative dynamics of binary systems finds explicit presentation and discussion through the fifth post-Newtonian order for spinless masses. For masses with spin Hamiltonians are known through (next-to)$^3$-leading-order spin-orbit and spin-spin couplings as well as through next-to-leading order cubic and quartic in spin interactions. Parts of those are given explicitly. Tidal-interaction Hamiltonians are considered through (next-to)$^2$-leading post-Newtonian order. The radiation reaction dynamics is presented explicitly through the third-and-half post-Newtonian order for spinless objects, and, for spinning bodies, to leading-order in the spin-orbit and spin1-spin2 couplings. The most important historical issues get pointed out.

The Cosmic microwave background

Living Rev. Rel., 1, (1998), 11.

We present a brief review of current theory and observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). New predictions for cosmological defect theories and an overview of the inflationary theory are discussed. Recent results from various observations of the anisotropies of the microwave background are described and a summary of the proposed experiments is presented. A new analysis technique based on Bayesian statistics that can be used to reconstruct the underlying sky fluctuations is summarised. Current CMB data is used to set some preliminary constraints on the values of fundamental cosmological parameters Ω and H₀ using the maximum likelihood technique. In addition, secondary anisotropies due to the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect are described.

Advanced quantum techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 2.

[arXiv:1903.05223]

Quantum fluctuation of light limits the sensitivity of advanced laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. It is one of the principal obstacles on the way towards the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. The envisioned significant improvement of the detector sensitivity requires using quantum non-demolition measurement and back-action evasion techniques, which allow us to circumvent the sensitivity limit imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In our previous review article: "Quantum measurement theory in gravitational-wave detectors"' [Living Rev. Relativity 15, 5 (2012)], we laid down the basic principles of quantum measurement theory and provided the framework for analysing the quantum noise of interferometers. The scope of this paper is to review novel techniques for quantum noise suppression proposed in the recent years and put them in the same framework. Our delineation of interferometry schemes and topologies is intended as an aid in the process of selecting the design for the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories.

Quantum Measurement Theory in Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 5.

[arXiv:1203.1706]

The fast progress in improving the sensitivity of the gravitational-wave (GW) detectors, we all have witnessed in the recent years, has propelled the scientific community to the point, when quantum behaviour of such immense measurement devices as kilometer-long interferometers starts to matter. The time, when their sensitivity will be mainly limited by the quantum noise of light is round the corner, and finding the ways to reduce it will become a necessity. Therefore, the primary goal we pursued in this review was to familiarize a broad spectrum of readers with the theory of quantum measurements in the very form it finds application in the area of gravitational-wave detection. We focus on how quantum noise arises in gravitational-wave interferometers and what limitations it imposes on the achievable sensitivity. We start from the very basic concepts and gradually advance to the general linear quantum measurement theory and its application to the calculation of quantum noise in the contemporary and planned interferometric detectors of gravitational radiation of the first and second generation. Special attention is paid to the concept of Standard Quantum Limit and the methods of its surmounting.

Quasi-Normal Modes of Stars and Black Holes

Living Rev. Rel., 2, (1999), 2.

[arXiv:gr-qc/9909058]

Perturbations of stars and black holes have been one of the main topics of relativistic astrophysics for the last few decades. They are of particular importance today, because of their relevance to gravitational wave astronomy. In this review we present the theory of quasi-normal modes of compact objects from both the mathematical and astrophysical points of view. The discussion includes perturbations of black holes (Schwarzschild, Reissner-Nordstr\"om, Kerr and Kerr-Newman) and relativistic stars (non-rotating and slowly-rotating). The properties of the various families of quasi-normal modes are described, and numerical techniques for calculating quasi-normal modes reviewed. The successes, as well as the limits, of perturbation theory are presented, and its role in the emerging era of numerical relativity and supercomputers is discussed.

Brane-World Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 5.

[arXiv:1004.3962]

The observable universe could be a 1+3-surface (the "brane") embedded in a 1+3+\textit{d}-dimensional spacetime (the "bulk"), with Standard Model particles and fields trapped on the brane while gravity is free to access the bulk. At least one of the \textit{d} extra spatial dimensions could be very large relative to the Planck scale, which lowers the fundamental gravity scale, possibly even down to the electroweak ($\sim$ TeV) level. This revolutionary picture arises in the framework of recent developments in M theory. The 1+10-dimensional M theory encompasses the known 1+9-dimensional superstring theories, and is widely considered to be a promising potential route to quantum gravity. At low energies, gravity is localized at the brane and general relativity is recovered, but at high energies gravity "leaks" into the bulk, behaving in a truly higher-dimensional way. This introduces significant changes to gravitational dynamics and perturbations, with interesting and potentially testable implications for high-energy astrophysics, black holes, and cosmology. Brane-world models offer a phenomenological way to test some of the novel predictions and corrections to general relativity that are implied by M theory. This review analyzes the geometry, dynamics and perturbations of simple brane-world models for cosmology and astrophysics, mainly focusing on warped 5-dimensional brane-worlds based on the Randall--Sundrum models. We also cover the simplest brane-world models in which 4-dimensional gravity on the brane is modified at \emph{low} energies -- the 5-dimensional Dvali--Gabadadze--Porrati models. Then we discuss co-dimension two branes in 6-dimensional models.

Null Geodesic Congruences, Asymptotically Flat Space-Times and Their Physical Interpretation

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 1.

[arXiv:0906.2155]

Shear-free or asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences possess a large number of fascinating geometric properties and to be closely related, in the context of general relativity, to a variety of physically significant affects. It is the purpose of this paper to develop these issues and find applications in GR. The applications center around the problem of extracting interior physical properties of an asymptotically flat space-time directly from the asymptotic gravitational (and Maxwell) field itself in analogy with the determination of total charge by an integral over the Maxwell field at infinity or the identification of the interior mass (and its loss) by (Bondi's) integrals of the Weyl tensor, also at infinity. More specifically we will see that the asymptotically shear-free congruences lead us to an asymptotic definition of the center-of-mass and its equations of motion. This includes a kinematic meaning, in terms of the center of mass motion, for the Bondi three-momentum. In addition, we obtain insights into intrinsic spin and, in general, angular momentum, including an angular momentum conservation law with well-defined flux terms. When a Maxwell field is present the asymptotically shear-free congruences allow us to determine/define at infinity a center-of-charge world-line and intrinsic magnetic dipole moment.

Isolated and dynamical horizons and their applications

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 10.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0407042]

Over the past three decades, black holes have played an important role in quantum gravity, mathematical physics, numerical relativity and gravitational wave phenomenology. However, conceptual settings and mathematical models used to discuss them have varied considerably from one area to another. Over the last five years a new, quasi-local framework was introduced to analyze diverse facets of black holes in a unified manner. In this framework, evolving black holes are modeled by dynamical horizons and black holes in equilibrium by isolated horizons. We review basic properties of these horizons and summarize applications to mathematical physics, numerical relativity and quantum gravity. This paradigm has led to significant generalizations of several results in black hole physics. Specifically, it has introduced a more physical setting for black hole thermodynamics and for black hole entropy calculations in quantum gravity; suggested a phenomenological model for hairy black holes; provided novel techniques to extract physics from numerical simulations; and led to new laws governing the dynamics of black holes in exact general relativity.

Gravitational-Wave Data Analysis. Formalism and Sample Applications: The Gaussian Case

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 3.

[arXiv:0711.1115]

The article reviews the statistical theory of signal detection in application to analysis of deterministic gravitational-wave signals in the noise of a detector. Statistical foundations for the theory of signal detection and parameter estimation are presented. Several tools needed for both theoretical evaluation of the optimal data analysis methods and for their practical implementation are introduced. They include optimal signal-to-noise ratio, Fisher matrix, false alarm and detection probabilities, $\mathcal{F}$-statistic, template placement, and fitting factor. These tools apply to the case of signals buried in a stationary and Gaussian noise. Algorithms to efficiently implement the optimal data analysis techniques are discussed. Formulas are given for a general gravitational-wave signal that includes as special cases most of the deterministic signals of interest.

Black holes, hidden symmetries, and complete integrability

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 6.

[arXiv:1705.05482]

The study of higher-dimensional black holes is a subject which has recently attracted a vast interest. Perhaps one of the most surprising discoveries is a realization that the properties of higher-dimensional black holes with the spherical horizon topology and described by the Kerr-NUT-(A)dS metrics are very similar to the properties of the well known four-dimensional Kerr metric. This remarkable result stems from the existence of a single object called the principal tensor. In our review we discuss explicit and hidden symmetries of higher-dimensional black holes. We start with the overview of the Liouville theory of completely integrable systems and introduce Killing and Killing-Yano objects representing explicit and hidden symmetries. We demonstrate that the principal tensor can be used as a `seed object' which generates all these symmetries. It determines the form of the black hole geometry, as well as guarantees its remarkable properties, such as special algebraic type of the spacetime, complete integrability of geodesic motion, and separability of the Hamilton-Jacobi, Klein-Gordon, and Dirac equations. The review also contains a discussion of different applications of the developed formalism and its possible generalizations.

Black holes, hidden symmetries, and complete integrability

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 6.

[arXiv:1705.05482]

The study of higher-dimensional black holes is a subject which has recently attracted a vast interest. Perhaps one of the most surprising discoveries is a realization that the properties of higher-dimensional black holes with the spherical horizon topology and described by the Kerr-NUT-(A)dS metrics are very similar to the properties of the well known four-dimensional Kerr metric. This remarkable result stems from the existence of a single object called the principal tensor. In our review we discuss explicit and hidden symmetries of higher-dimensional black holes. We start with the overview of the Liouville theory of completely integrable systems and introduce Killing and Killing-Yano objects representing explicit and hidden symmetries. We demonstrate that the principal tensor can be used as a `seed object' which generates all these symmetries. It determines the form of the black hole geometry, as well as guarantees its remarkable properties, such as special algebraic type of the spacetime, complete integrability of geodesic motion, and separability of the Hamilton-Jacobi, Klein-Gordon, and Dirac equations. The review also contains a discussion of different applications of the developed formalism and its possible generalizations.

Theoretical and Experimental Constraints for the Equation of State of Dense and Hot Matter

Living Rev. Rel., 27, (2024), 3.

[arXiv:2303.17021]

This review aims at providing an extensive discussion of modern constraints relevant for dense and hot strongly interacting matter. It includes theoretical first-principle results from lattice and perturbative QCD, as well as chiral effective field theory results. From the experimental side, it includes heavy-ion collision and low-energy nuclear physics results, as well as observations from neutron stars and their mergers. The validity of different constraints, concerning specific conditions and ranges of applicability, is also provided.

Classification of near-horizon geometries of extremal black holes

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 8.

[arXiv:1306.2517]

Any spacetime containing a degenerate Killing horizon, such as an extremal black hole, possesses a well-defined notion of a near-horizon geometry. We review such near-horizon geometry solutions in a variety of dimensions and theories in a unified manner. We discuss various general results including horizon topology and near-horizon symmetry enhancement. We also discuss the status of the classification of near-horizon geometries in theories ranging from vacuum gravity to Einstein-Maxwell theory and supergravity theories. Finally, we discuss applications to the classification of extremal black holes and various related topics. Several new results are presented and open problems are highlighted throughout.

Coalescence of black hole--neutron star binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 5.

[arXiv:2110.06218]

We review the current status of general relativistic studies for coalescences of black hole--neutron star binaries. First, high-precision computations of black hole--neutron star binaries in quasiequilibrium circular orbits are summarized, focusing on the quasiequilibrium sequences and the mass-shedding limit. Next, the current status of numerical-relativity simulations for the merger of black hole--neutron star binaries is described. We summarize our understanding for the merger process, tidal disruption and its criterion, properties of the merger remnant and ejected material, gravitational waveforms, and gravitational-wave spectra. We also discuss expected electromagnetic counterparts to black hole--neutron star coalescences.

Measuring our universe from galaxy redshift surveys

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 8.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0310642]

Galaxy redshift surveys have achieved significant progress over the last couple of decades. Those surveys tell us in the most straightforward way what our local universe looks like. While the galaxy distribution traces the bright side of the universe, detailed quantitative analyses of the data have even revealed the dark side of the universe dominated by non-baryonic dark matter as well as more mysterious dark energy (or Einstein's cosmological constant). We describe several methodologies of using galaxy redshift surveys as cosmological probes, and then summarize the recent results from the existing surveys. Finally we present our views on the future of redshift surveys in the era of Precision Cosmology.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 7.

[arXiv:1212.5575]

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ~0.01mHz - 1Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.

The Cosmic microwave background

Living Rev. Rel., 1, (1998), 11.

We present a brief review of current theory and observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). New predictions for cosmological defect theories and an overview of the inflationary theory are discussed. Recent results from various observations of the anisotropies of the microwave background are described and a summary of the proposed experiments is presented. A new analysis technique based on Bayesian statistics that can be used to reconstruct the underlying sky fluctuations is summarised. Current CMB data is used to set some preliminary constraints on the values of fundamental cosmological parameters Ω and H₀ using the maximum likelihood technique. In addition, secondary anisotropies due to the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect are described.

Analogue Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 12.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0505065]

Analogue gravity is a research programme which investigates analogues of general relativistic gravitational fields within other physical systems, typically but not exclusively condensed matter systems, with the aim of gaining new insights into their corresponding problems. Analogue models of (and for) gravity have a long and distinguished history dating back to the earliest years of general relativity. In this review article we will discuss the history, aims, results, and future prospects for the various analogue models. We start the discussion by presenting a particularly simple example of an analogue model, before exploring the rich history and complex tapestry of models discussed in the literature. The last decade in particular has seen a remarkable and sustained development of analogue gravity ideas, leading to some hundreds of published articles, a workshop, two books, and this review article. Future prospects for the analogue gravity programme also look promising, both on the experimental front (where technology is rapidly advancing) and on the theoretical front (where variants of analogue models can be used as a springboard for radical attacks on the problem of quantum gravity).

Dynamical Boson Stars

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 1.

[arXiv:1202.5809]

The idea of stable, localized bundles of energy has strong appeal as a model for particles. In the 1950s John Wheeler envisioned such bundles as smooth configurations of electromagnetic energy that he called {\em geons}, but none were found. Instead, particle-like solutions were found in the late 1960s with the addition of a scalar field, and these were given the name {\em boson stars}. Since then, boson stars find use in a wide variety of models as sources of dark matter, as black hole mimickers, in simple models of binary systems, and as a tool in finding black holes in higher dimensions with only a single killing vector. We discuss important varieties of boson stars, their dynamic properties, and some of their uses, concentrating on recent efforts.

Discrete approaches to quantum gravity in four dimensions

Living Rev. Rel., 1, (1998), 13.

[arXiv:gr-qc/9805049]

The construction of a consistent theory of quantum gravity is a problem in theoretical physics that has so far defied all attempts at resolution. One ansatz to try to obtain a non-trivial quantum theory proceeds via a discretization of space-time and the Einstein action. I review here three major areas of research: gauge-theoretic approaches, both in a path-integral and a Hamiltonian formulation, quantum Regge calculus, and the method of dynamical triangulations, confining attention to work that is strictly four-dimensional, strictly discrete, and strictly quantum in nature.

Stationary Black Holes: Uniqueness and Beyond

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 7.

[arXiv:1205.6112]

The spectrum of known black-hole solutions to the stationary Einstein equations has been steadily increasing, sometimes in unexpected ways. In particular, it has turned out that not all black-hole-equilibrium configurations are characterized by their mass, angular momentum and global charges. Moreover, the high degree of symmetry displayed by vacuum and electro-vacuum black-hole spacetimes ceases to exist in self-gravitating non-linear field theories. This text aims to review some developments in the subject and to discuss them in light of the uniqueness theorem for the Einstein-Maxwell system.

Binary and Millisecond Pulsars

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 8.

[arXiv:0811.0762]

We review the main properties, demographics and applications of binary and millisecond radio pulsars. Our knowledge of these exciting objects has greatly increased in recent years, mainly due to successful surveys which have brought the known pulsar population to over 1800. There are now 83 binary and millisecond pulsars associated with the disk of our Galaxy, and a further 140 pulsars in 26 of the Galactic globular clusters. Recent highlights include the discovery of the young relativistic binary system PSR J1906+0746, a rejuvination in globular cluster pulsar research including growing numbers of pulsars with masses in excess of 1.5 solar masses, a precise measurement of relativistic spin precession in the double pulsar system and a Galactic millisecond pulsar in an eccentric (e=0.44) orbit around an unevolved companion.

Classification of near-horizon geometries of extremal black holes

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 8.

[arXiv:1306.2517]

Any spacetime containing a degenerate Killing horizon, such as an extremal black hole, possesses a well-defined notion of a near-horizon geometry. We review such near-horizon geometry solutions in a variety of dimensions and theories in a unified manner. We discuss various general results including horizon topology and near-horizon symmetry enhancement. We also discuss the status of the classification of near-horizon geometries in theories ranging from vacuum gravity to Einstein-Maxwell theory and supergravity theories. Finally, we discuss applications to the classification of extremal black holes and various related topics. Several new results are presented and open problems are highlighted throughout.

Brane-World Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 5.

[arXiv:1004.3962]

The observable universe could be a 1+3-surface (the "brane") embedded in a 1+3+\textit{d}-dimensional spacetime (the "bulk"), with Standard Model particles and fields trapped on the brane while gravity is free to access the bulk. At least one of the \textit{d} extra spatial dimensions could be very large relative to the Planck scale, which lowers the fundamental gravity scale, possibly even down to the electroweak ($\sim$ TeV) level. This revolutionary picture arises in the framework of recent developments in M theory. The 1+10-dimensional M theory encompasses the known 1+9-dimensional superstring theories, and is widely considered to be a promising potential route to quantum gravity. At low energies, gravity is localized at the brane and general relativity is recovered, but at high energies gravity "leaks" into the bulk, behaving in a truly higher-dimensional way. This introduces significant changes to gravitational dynamics and perturbations, with interesting and potentially testable implications for high-energy astrophysics, black holes, and cosmology. Brane-world models offer a phenomenological way to test some of the novel predictions and corrections to general relativity that are implied by M theory. This review analyzes the geometry, dynamics and perturbations of simple brane-world models for cosmology and astrophysics, mainly focusing on warped 5-dimensional brane-worlds based on the Randall--Sundrum models. We also cover the simplest brane-world models in which 4-dimensional gravity on the brane is modified at \emph{low} energies -- the 5-dimensional Dvali--Gabadadze--Porrati models. Then we discuss co-dimension two branes in 6-dimensional models.

Computer algebra in gravity research

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 6.

The complicated nature of calculations in general relativity was one of the driving forces in the early development of computer algebra (CA). CA has become widely used in gravity research (GR) and its use can be expected to grow further. Here the general nature of computer algebra is discussed, along with some aspects of CA system design, features particular to GR’s requirements are considered, information on packages for CA in GR is provided, both for those packages currently available and for their predecessors, and applications of CA in GR are outlined.

Rates of Compact Object Coalescences

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 1.

[arXiv:2107.14239]

Gravitational-wave detections are enabling measurements of the rate of coalescences of binaries composed of two compact objects -- neutron stars and/or black holes. The coalescence rate of binaries containing neutron stars is further constrained by electromagnetic observations, including Galactic radio binary pulsars and short gamma-ray bursts. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated models of compact objects merging through a variety of evolutionary channels produce a range of theoretically predicted rates. Rapid improvements in instrument sensitivity, along with plans for new and improved surveys, make this an opportune time to summarise the existing observational and theoretical knowledge of compact-binary coalescence rates.

Numerical hydrodynamics in special relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 2, (1999), 3.

[arXiv:astro-ph/9906333]

This review is concerned with a discussion of numerical methods for the solution of the equations of special relativistic hydrodynamics (SRHD). Particular emphasis is put on a comprehensive review of the application of high-resolution shock-capturing methods in SRHD. Results obtained with different numerical SRHD methods are compared, and two astrophysical applications of SRHD flows are discussed. An evaluation of the various numerical methods is given and future developments are analyzed.

Critical phenomena in gravitational collapse

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 5.

[arXiv:0711.4620]

As first discovered by Choptuik, the black hole threshold in the space of initial data for general relativity shows both surprising structure and surprising simplicity. Universality, power-law scaling of the black hole mass, and scale echoing have given rise to the term "critical phenomena". They are explained by the existence of exact solutions which are attractors within the black hole threshold, that is, attractors of codimension one in phase space, and which are typically self-similar. Critical phenomena give a natural route from smooth initial data to arbitrarily large curvatures visible from infinity, and are therefore likely to be relevant for cosmic censorship, quantum gravity, astrophysics, and our general understanding of the dynamics of general relativity.

Modern tests of Lorentz invariance

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 5.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0502097]

Motivated by ideas about quantum gravity, a tremendous amount of effort over the past decade has gone into testing Lorentz invariance in various regimes. This review summarizes both the theoretical frameworks for tests of Lorentz invariance and experimental advances that have made new high precision tests possible. The current constraints on Lorentz violating effects from both terrestrial experiments and astrophysical observations are presented.

Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND): Observational Phenomenology and Relativistic Extensions

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 10.

[arXiv:1112.3960]

A wealth of astronomical data indicate the presence of mass discrepancies in the Universe. The motions observed in a variety of classes of extragalactic systems exceed what can be explained by the mass visible in stars and gas. Either (i) there is a vast amount of unseen mass in some novel form - dark matter - or (ii) the data indicate a breakdown of our understanding of dynamics on the relevant scales, or (iii) both. Here, we first review a few outstanding challenges for the dark matter interpretation of mass discrepancies in galaxies, purely based on observations and independently of any alternative theoretical framework. We then show that many of these puzzling observations are predicted by one single relation - Milgrom's law - involving an acceleration constant (or a characteristic surface density) of the order of the square-root of the cosmological constant in natural units. This relation can at present most easily be interpreted as the effect of a single universal force law resulting from a modification of Newtonian dynamics (MOND) on galactic scales. We exhaustively review the current observational successes and problems of this alternative paradigm at all astrophysical scales, and summarize the various theoretical attempts (TeVeS, GEA, BIMOND, and others) made to effectively embed this modification of Newtonian dynamics within a relativistic theory of gravity.

Tests of Gravity Using Lunar Laser Ranging

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 7.

Lunar laser ranging (LLR) has been a workhorse for testing general relativity over the past four decades. The three retroreflector arrays put on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts and the French built arrays on the Soviet Lunokhod rovers continue to be useful targets, and have provided the most stringent tests of the Strong Equivalence Principle and the time variation of Newton’s gravitational constant. The relatively new ranging system at the Apache Point 3.5 meter telescope now routinely makes millimeter level range measurements. Incredibly, it has taken 40 years for ground station technology to advance to the point where characteristics of the lunar retroreflectors are limiting the precision of the range measurements. In this article, we review the gravitational science and technology of lunar laser ranging and discuss prospects for the future.

Massive Black Hole Binary Evolution

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 8.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0410364]

Coalescence of binary supermassive black holes (SBHs) would constitute the strongest sources of gravitational waves to be observed by LISA. While the formation of binary SBHs during galaxy mergers is almost inevitable, coalescence requires that the separation between binary components first drop by a few orders of magnitude, due presumably to interaction of the binary with stars and gas in a galactic nucleus. This article reviews the observational evidence for binary SBHs and discusses how they would evolve. No completely convincing case of a bound, binary SBH has yet been found, although a handful of systems (e.g. interacting galaxies: remnants of galaxy mergers) are now believed to contain two SBHs at projected separations of roughly one kpc. N-body studies of binary evolution in gas-free galaxies have reached large enough particle numbers to reproduce the slow, diffusive refilling of the binary's loss cone that is believed to characterize binary evolution in real galactic nuclei. While some of the results of these simulations -- e.g. the binary hardening rate and eccentricity evolution -- are strongly $N$-dependent, others -- e.g. the damage inflicted by the binary on the nucleus -- are not. Luminous early-type galaxies often exhibit depleted cores with masses of 1-2 times the mass of their nuclear SBHs, consistent with the predictions of the binary model. Studies of the interaction of massive binaries with gas are still in their infancy, although much progress is expected in the near future. Binary coalescence has a large influence on the spins of SBHs, even for mass ratios as extreme as 10:1, and evidence of spin-flips may have been observed.

Solvable Models of Quantum Black Holes: A Review on Jackiw-Teitelboim Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 4.

[arXiv:2210.10846]

We review recent developments in Jackiw-Teitelboim (JT) gravity. This is a simple solvable model of quantum gravity in two dimensions (that arises e.g. from the s-wave sector of higher dimensional gravity systems with spherical symmetry). Due to its solvability, it has proven to be a fruitful toy model to analyze important questions such as the relation between black holes and chaos, the role of wormholes in black hole physics and holography, and the way in which information that falls into a black hole can be recovered.

Kilonovae

Living Rev. Rel., 23, (2020), 1.

[arXiv:1910.01617]

The coalescence of double neutron star (NS-NS) and black hole (BH)-NS binaries are prime sources of gravitational waves (GW) for Advanced LIGO/Virgo and future ground-based detectors. Neutron-rich matter released from such events undergo rapid neutron capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis as it decompresses into space, enriching our universe with rare heavy elements like gold and platinum. Radioactive decay of these unstable nuclei powers a rapidly evolving, approximately isotropic thermal transient known as a ``kilonova', which probes the physical conditions during the merger and its aftermath. Here I review the history and physics of kilonovae, leading to the current paradigm of day-timescale emission at optical wavelengths from lanthanide-free components of the ejecta, followed by week-long emission with a spectral peak in the near-infrared (NIR). These theoretical predictions, as compiled in the original version of this review, were largely confirmed by the transient optical/NIR counterpart discovered to the first NS-NS merger, GW170817, discovered by LIGO/Virgo. Using a simple light curve model to illustrate the essential physical processes and their application to GW170817, I then introduce important variations about the standard picture which may be observable in future mergers. These include ~hours-long UV precursor emission, powered by the decay of free neutrons in the outermost ejecta layers or shock-heating of the ejecta by a delayed ultra-relativistic outflow; and enhancement of the luminosity from a long-lived central engine, such as an accreting BH or millisecond magnetar. Joint GW and kilonova observations of GW170817 and future events provide a new avenue to constrain the astrophysical origin of the r-process elements and the equation of state of dense nuclear matter.

Advanced quantum techniques for future gravitational-wave detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 2.

[arXiv:1903.05223]

Quantum fluctuation of light limits the sensitivity of advanced laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors. It is one of the principal obstacles on the way towards the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories. The envisioned significant improvement of the detector sensitivity requires using quantum non-demolition measurement and back-action evasion techniques, which allow us to circumvent the sensitivity limit imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In our previous review article: "Quantum measurement theory in gravitational-wave detectors"' [Living Rev. Relativity 15, 5 (2012)], we laid down the basic principles of quantum measurement theory and provided the framework for analysing the quantum noise of interferometers. The scope of this paper is to review novel techniques for quantum noise suppression proposed in the recent years and put them in the same framework. Our delineation of interferometry schemes and topologies is intended as an aid in the process of selecting the design for the next-generation gravitational-wave observatories.

Electromagnetic Counterparts to Massive Black Hole Mergers

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 3.

[arXiv:2109.03262]

The next two decades are expected to open the door to the first coincident detections of electromagnetic (EM) and gravitational wave (GW) signatures associated with massive black hole (MBH) binaries heading for coalescence. These detections will launch a new era of multimessenger astrophysics by expanding this growing field to the low-frequency GW regime and will provide an unprecedented understanding of the evolution of MBHs and galaxies. They will also constitute fundamentally new probes of cosmology and would enable unique tests of gravity. The aim of this Living Review is to provide an introduction to this research topic by presenting a summary of key findings, physical processes and ideas pertaining to EM counterparts to MBH mergers as they are known at the time of this writing. We review current observational evidence for close MBH binaries, discuss relevant physical processes and timescales, and summarize the possible EM counterparts to GWs in the precursor, coalescence, and afterglow stages of a MBH merger. We also describe open questions and discuss future prospects in this dynamic and quick-paced research area.

Massive Black Hole Binary Evolution

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 8.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0410364]

Coalescence of binary supermassive black holes (SBHs) would constitute the strongest sources of gravitational waves to be observed by LISA. While the formation of binary SBHs during galaxy mergers is almost inevitable, coalescence requires that the separation between binary components first drop by a few orders of magnitude, due presumably to interaction of the binary with stars and gas in a galactic nucleus. This article reviews the observational evidence for binary SBHs and discusses how they would evolve. No completely convincing case of a bound, binary SBH has yet been found, although a handful of systems (e.g. interacting galaxies: remnants of galaxy mergers) are now believed to contain two SBHs at projected separations of roughly one kpc. N-body studies of binary evolution in gas-free galaxies have reached large enough particle numbers to reproduce the slow, diffusive refilling of the binary's loss cone that is believed to characterize binary evolution in real galactic nuclei. While some of the results of these simulations -- e.g. the binary hardening rate and eccentricity evolution -- are strongly $N$-dependent, others -- e.g. the damage inflicted by the binary on the nucleus -- are not. Luminous early-type galaxies often exhibit depleted cores with masses of 1-2 times the mass of their nuclear SBHs, consistent with the predictions of the binary model. Studies of the interaction of massive binaries with gas are still in their infancy, although much progress is expected in the near future. Binary coalescence has a large influence on the spins of SBHs, even for mass ratios as extreme as 10:1, and evidence of spin-flips may have been observed.

Testing GR and alternative theories with planetary ephemerides

Living Rev. Rel., 27, (2024), 1.

[arXiv:2303.01821]

We describe here how planetary ephemerides are built in the framework of General Relativity and how they can be used to test alternative theories. We focus on the definition of the reference frame (space and time) in which the planetary ephemeris is described, the equations of motion that govern the orbits of solar system bodies and {electromagnetic waves}. After a review on the existing planetary and lunar ephemerides, we summarize the results obtained considering full modifications of the ephemeris framework with direct comparisons with the observations of planetary systems, with a specific attention for the PPN formalism. We then discuss other formalisms such as Einstein-dilaton theories, the massless graviton and MOND. The paper finally concludes on some comments and recommendations regarding misinterpreted measurements of the advance of perihelia.

Lorentzian causality theory

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 3.

I review Lorentzian causality theory paying particular attention to the optimality and generality of the presented results. I include complete proofs of some foundational results that are otherwise difficult to find in the literature (e.g. equivalence of some Lorentzian length definitions, upper semi-continuity of the length functional, corner regularization, etc.). The paper is almost self-contained thanks to a systematic logical exposition of the many different topics that compose the theory. It contains new results on classical concepts such as maximizing curves, achronal sets, edges, horismos, domains of dependence, Lorentzian distance. The treatment of causally pathological spacetimes requires the development of some new versatile causality notions, among which I found particularly convenient to introduce: biviability, chronal equivalence, araying sets, and causal versions of horismos and trapped sets. Their usefulness becomes apparent in the treatment of the classical singularity theorems, which is here considerably expanded in the exploration of some variations and alternatives.

Unveiling the Universe with Emerging Cosmological Probes

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 6.

[arXiv:2201.07241]

The detection of the accelerated expansion of the Universe has been one of the major breakthroughs in modern cosmology. Several cosmological probes (CMB, SNe Ia, BAO) have been studied in depth to better understand the nature of the mechanism driving this acceleration, and they are being currently pushed to their limits, obtaining remarkable constraints that allowed us to shape the standard cosmological model. In parallel to that, however, the percent precision achieved has recently revealed apparent tensions between measurements obtained from different methods. These are either indicating some unaccounted systematic effects, or are pointing toward new physics. Following the development of CMB, SNe, and BAO cosmology, it is critical to extend our selection of cosmological probes. Novel probes can be exploited to validate results, control or mitigate systematic effects, and, most importantly, to increase the accuracy and robustness of our results. This review is meant to provide a state-of-art benchmark of the latest advances in emerging beyond-standard cosmological probes. We present how several different methods can become a key resource for observational cosmology. In particular, we review cosmic chronometers, quasars, gamma-ray bursts, standard sirens, lensing time-delay with galaxies and clusters, cosmic voids, neutral hydrogen intensity mapping, surface brightness fluctuations, stellar ages of the oldest objects, secular redshift drift, and clustering of standard candles. The review describes the method, systematics, and results of each probe in a homogeneous way, giving the reader a clear picture of the available innovative methods that have been introduced in recent years and how to apply them. The review also discusses the potential synergies and complementarities between the various probes, exploring how they will contribute to the future of modern cosmology.

Numerical hydrodynamics in special relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 2, (1999), 3.

[arXiv:astro-ph/9906333]

This review is concerned with a discussion of numerical methods for the solution of the equations of special relativistic hydrodynamics (SRHD). Particular emphasis is put on a comprehensive review of the application of high-resolution shock-capturing methods in SRHD. Results obtained with different numerical SRHD methods are compared, and two astrophysical applications of SRHD flows are discussed. An evaluation of the various numerical methods is given and future developments are analyzed.

Speeds of propagation in classical and relativistic extended thermodynamics

Living Rev. Rel., 2, (1999), 1.

The Navier-Stokes-Fourier theory of viscous, heat-conducting fluids provides parabolic equations and thus predicts infinite pulse speeds. Naturally this feature has disqualified the theory for relativistic thermodynamics which must insist on finite speeds and, moreover, on speeds smaller than c. The attempts at a remedy have proved heuristically important for a new systematic type of thermodynamics: Extended thermodynamics. That new theory has symmetric hyperbolic field equations and thus it provides finite pulse speeds.\n\nExtended thermodynamics is a whole hierarchy of theories with an increasing number of fields when gradients and rates of thermodynamic processes become steeper and faster. The first stage in this hierarchy is the 14-field theory which may already be a useful tool for the relativist in many applications. The 14 fields — and further fields — are conveniently chosen from the moments of the kinetic theory of gases.\n\nThe hierarchy is complete only when the number of fields tends to infinity. In that case the pulse speed of non-relativistic extended thermodynamics tends to infinity while the pulse speed of relativistic extended thermodynamics tends to c, the speed of light.\n\nIn extended thermodynamics symmetric hyperbolicity — and finite speeds — are implied by the concavity of the entropy density. This is still true in relativistic thermodynamics for a privileged entropy density which is the entropy density of the rest frame for non-degenerate gases.

Gravitational waves from gravitational collapse

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 1.

Gravitational-wave emission from stellar collapse has been studied for nearly four decades. Current state-of-the-art numerical investigations of collapse include those that use progenitors with more realistic angular momentum profiles, properly treat microphysics issues, account for general relativity, and examine non-axisymmetric effects in three dimensions. Such simulations predict that gravitational waves from various phenomena associated with gravitational collapse could be detectable with ground-based and space-based interferometric observatories. This review covers the entire range of stellar collapse sources of gravitational waves: from the accretion-induced collapse of a white dwarf through the collapse down to neutron stars or black holes of massive stars to the collapse of supermassive stars.

Null Geodesic Congruences, Asymptotically Flat Space-Times and Their Physical Interpretation

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 1.

[arXiv:0906.2155]

Shear-free or asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences possess a large number of fascinating geometric properties and to be closely related, in the context of general relativity, to a variety of physically significant affects. It is the purpose of this paper to develop these issues and find applications in GR. The applications center around the problem of extracting interior physical properties of an asymptotically flat space-time directly from the asymptotic gravitational (and Maxwell) field itself in analogy with the determination of total charge by an integral over the Maxwell field at infinity or the identification of the interior mass (and its loss) by (Bondi's) integrals of the Weyl tensor, also at infinity. More specifically we will see that the asymptotically shear-free congruences lead us to an asymptotic definition of the center-of-mass and its equations of motion. This includes a kinematic meaning, in terms of the center of mass motion, for the Bondi three-momentum. In addition, we obtain insights into intrinsic spin and, in general, angular momentum, including an angular momentum conservation law with well-defined flux terms. When a Maxwell field is present the asymptotically shear-free congruences allow us to determine/define at infinity a center-of-charge world-line and intrinsic magnetic dipole moment.

The Asymptotic Safety Scenario in Quantum Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 9, (2006), 5.

The asymptotic safety scenario in quantum gravity is reviewed, according to which a renormalizable quantum theory of the gravitational field is feasible which reconciles asymptotically safe couplings with unitarity. The evidence from symmetry truncations and from the truncated flow of the effective average action is presented in detail. A dimensional reduction phenomenon for the residual interactions in the extreme ultraviolet links both results. For practical reasons the background effective action is used as the central object in the quantum theory. In terms of it criteria for a continuum limit are formulated and the notion of a background geometry self-consistently determined by the quantum dynamics is presented. Self-contained appendices provide prerequisites on the background effective action, the effective average action, and their respective renormalization flows.

Spectral Methods for Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 1.

[arXiv:0706.2286]

Equations arising in General Relativity are usually too complicated to be solved analytically and one has to rely on numerical methods to solve sets of coupled partial differential equations. Among the possible choices, this paper focuses on a class called spectral methods where, typically, the various functions are expanded onto sets of orthogonal polynomials or functions. A theoretical introduction on spectral expansion is first given and a particular emphasis is put on the fast convergence of the spectral approximation. We present then different approaches to solve partial differential equations, first limiting ourselves to the one-dimensional case, with one or several domains. Generalization to more dimensions is then discussed. In particular, the case of time evolutions is carefully studied and the stability of such evolutions investigated. One then turns to results obtained by various groups in the field of General Relativity by means of spectral methods. First, works which do not involve explicit time-evolutions are discussed, going from rapidly rotating strange stars to the computation of binary black holes initial data. Finally, the evolutions of various systems of astrophysical interest are presented, from supernovae core collapse to binary black hole mergers.

Dynamical Boson Stars

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 1.

[arXiv:1202.5809]

The idea of stable, localized bundles of energy has strong appeal as a model for particles. In the 1950s John Wheeler envisioned such bundles as smooth configurations of electromagnetic energy that he called {\em geons}, but none were found. Instead, particle-like solutions were found in the late 1960s with the addition of a scalar field, and these were given the name {\em boson stars}. Since then, boson stars find use in a wide variety of models as sources of dark matter, as black hole mimickers, in simple models of binary systems, and as a tool in finding black holes in higher dimensions with only a single killing vector. We discuss important varieties of boson stars, their dynamic properties, and some of their uses, concentrating on recent efforts.

Testing the nature of dark compact objects: a status report

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 4.

[arXiv:1904.05363]

Very compact objects probe extreme gravitational fields and may be the key to understand outstanding puzzles in fundamental physics. These include the nature of dark matter, the fate of spacetime singularities, or the loss of unitarity in Hawking evaporation. The standard astrophysical description of collapsing objects tells us that massive, dark and compact objects are black holes. Any observation suggesting otherwise would be an indication of beyond-the-standard-model physics. Null results strengthen and quantify the Kerr black hole paradigm. The advent of gravitational-wave astronomy and precise measurements with very long baseline interferometry allow one to finally probe into such foundational issues. We overview the physics of exotic dark compact objects and their observational status, including the observational evidence for black holes with current and future experiments.

Rotating Stars in Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 7.

[arXiv:1612.03050]

Rotating relativistic stars have been studied extensively in recent years, both theoretically and observationally, because of the information they might yield about the equation of state of matter at extremely high densities and because they are considered to be promising sources of gravitational waves. The latest theoretical understanding of rotating stars in relativity is reviewed in this updated article. The sections on equilibrium properties and on nonaxisymmetric oscillations and instabilities in $f$-modes and $r$-modes have been updated. Several new sections have been added on equilibria in modified theories of gravity, approximate universal relationships, the one-arm spiral instability, on analytic solutions for the exterior spacetime, rotating stars in LMXBs, rotating strange stars, and on rotating stars in numerical relativity including both hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic studies of these objects.

The Spin Foam Approach to Quantum Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 3.

[arXiv:1205.2019]

This article reviews the present status of the spin foam approach to the quantization of gravity. Special attention is payed to the pedagogical presentation of the recently introduced new models for four dimensional quantum gravity. The models are motivated by a suitable implementation of the path integral quantization of the Plebanski formulation of gravity on a simplicial regularization. The article also includes a self-contained treatment of the 2+1 gravity. The simple nature of the latter provides the basis and a perspective for the analysis of both conceptual and technical issues that remain open in four dimensions.

Gravitational lensing from a spacetime perspective

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 9.

The theory of gravitational lensing is reviewed from a spacetime perspective, without quasi-Newtonian approximations. More precisely, the review covers all aspects of gravitational lensing where light propagation is described in terms of lightlike geodesics of a metric of Lorentzian signature. It includes the basic equations and the relevant techniques for calculating the position, the shape, and the brightness of images in an arbitrary general-relativistic spacetime. It also includes general theorems on the classification of caustics, on criteria for multiple imaging, and on the possible number of images. The general results are illustrated with examples of spacetimes where the lensing features can be explicitly calculated, including the Schwarzschild spacetime, the Kerr spacetime, the spacetime of a straight string, plane gravitational waves, and others.

Spacelike Singularities and Hidden Symmetries of Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 1.

[arXiv:0710.1818]

We review the intimate connection between (super-)gravity close to a spacelike singularity (the "BKL-limit") and the theory of Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebras. We show that in this limit the gravitational theory can be reformulated in terms of billiard motion in a region of hyperbolic space, revealing that the dynamics is completely determined by a (possibly infinite) sequence of reflections, which are elements of a Lorentzian Coxeter group. Such Coxeter groups are the Weyl groups of infinite-dimensional Kac-Moody algebras, suggesting that these algebras yield symmetries of gravitational theories. Our presentation is aimed to be a self-contained and comprehensive treatment of the subject, with all the relevant mathematical background material introduced and explained in detail. We also review attempts at making the infinite-dimensional symmetries manifest, through the construction of a geodesic sigma model based on a Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebra. An explicit example is provided for the case of the hyperbolic algebra E10, which is conjectured to be an underlying symmetry of M-theory. Illustrations of this conjecture are also discussed in the context of cosmological solutions to eleven-dimensional supergravity.

Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space)

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 5.

[arXiv:1102.3355]

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free craft in space. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world - LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) - and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future "third generation" gravitational wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed.

Spinning strings and integrable spin chains in the AdS/CFT correspondence

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 9.

[arXiv:hep-th/0507136]

In this introductory review we discuss dynamical tests of the AdS_5 x S^5 string/N=4 super Yang-Mills duality. After a brief introduction to AdS/CFT we argue that semiclassical string energies yield information on the quantum spectrum of the string in the limit of large angular momenta on the S^5. The energies of the folded and circular spinning string solutions rotating on a S^3 within the S^5 are derived, which yield all loop predictions for the dual gauge theory scaling dimensions. These follow from the eigenvalues of the dilatation operator of N=4 super Yang-Mills in a minimal SU(2) subsector and we display its reformulation in terms of a Heisenberg s=1/2 spin chain along with the coordinate Bethe ansatz for its explicit diagonalization. In order to make contact to the spinning string energies we then study the thermodynamic limit of the one-loop gauge theory Bethe equations and demonstrate the matching with the folded and closed string result at this loop order. Finally the known gauge theory results at higher-loop orders are reviewed and the associated long-range spin chain Bethe ansatz is introduced, leading to an asymptotic all-loop conjecture for the gauge theory Bethe equations. This uncovers discrepancies at the three-loop order between gauge theory scaling dimensions and string theory energies and the implications of this are discussed. Along the way we comment on further developments and generalizations of the subject and point to the relevant literature.

The motion of point particles in curved spacetime

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 7.

[arXiv:1102.0529]

This review is concerned with the motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime. In each of the three cases the particle produces a field that behaves as outgoing radiation in the wave zone, and therefore removes energy from the particle. In the near zone the field acts on the particle and gives rise to a self-force that prevents the particle from moving on a geodesic of the background spacetime. The field's action on the particle is difficult to calculate because of its singular nature: the field diverges at the position of the particle. But it is possible to isolate the field's singular part and show that it exerts no force on the particle. What remains after subtraction is a smooth field that is fully responsible for the self-force. The mathematical tools required to derive the equations of motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime are developed here from scratch. The review begins with a discussion of the basic theory of bitensors. It then applies the theory to the construction of convenient coordinate systems to chart a neighbourhood of the particle's word line. It continues with a thorough discussion of Green's functions in curved spacetime. The review presents a detailed derivation of each of the three equations of motion. Because the notion of a point mass is problematic in general relativity, the review concludes with an alternative derivation of the equations of motion that applies to a small body of arbitrary internal structure.

The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 3.

[arXiv:1403.4754]

We review the formation and evolution of compact binary stars consisting of white dwarfs (WDs), neutron stars (NSs), and black holes (BHs). Mergings of compact binary stars are expected to be the most important sources for the forthcoming gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy. In the first part of the review, we discuss observational manifestations of close binary stars with NS and/or black components and their merger rate, crucial points in the formation and evolution of compact stars in binary systems, including the treatment of the natal kicks which NSs and BHs acquire during the core collapse of massive stars and the common envelope phase of binary evolution, which are most relevant to the merging rates of NS-NS, NS-BH and BH-BH binaries. The second part of the review is devoted mainly to formation and evolution of binary WDs and their observational manifestations, including their role as progenitors of cosmologically important thermonuclear SN Ia. We also consider AM CVn-stars which are thought to be the best verification binary GW sources for future low-frequency GW space interferometers.

The motion of point particles in curved spacetime

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 7.

[arXiv:1102.0529]

This review is concerned with the motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime. In each of the three cases the particle produces a field that behaves as outgoing radiation in the wave zone, and therefore removes energy from the particle. In the near zone the field acts on the particle and gives rise to a self-force that prevents the particle from moving on a geodesic of the background spacetime. The field's action on the particle is difficult to calculate because of its singular nature: the field diverges at the position of the particle. But it is possible to isolate the field's singular part and show that it exerts no force on the particle. What remains after subtraction is a smooth field that is fully responsible for the self-force. The mathematical tools required to derive the equations of motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime are developed here from scratch. The review begins with a discussion of the basic theory of bitensors. It then applies the theory to the construction of convenient coordinate systems to chart a neighbourhood of the particle's word line. It continues with a thorough discussion of Green's functions in curved spacetime. The review presents a detailed derivation of each of the three equations of motion. Because the notion of a point mass is problematic in general relativity, the review concludes with an alternative derivation of the equations of motion that applies to a small body of arbitrary internal structure.

Probes and Tests of Strong-Field Gravity with Observations in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 9.

[arXiv:0806.1531]

Neutron stars and black holes are the astrophysical systems with the strongest gravitational fields in the universe. In this article, I review the prospect of probing with observations of such compact objects some of the most intriguing General Relativistic predictions in the strong-field regime: the absence of stable circular orbits near a compact object and the presence of event horizons around black-hole singularities. I discuss the need for a theoretical framework within which future experiments will provide detailed, quantitative tests of gravity theories. Finally, I summarize the constraints imposed by current observations of neutron stars on potential deviations from General Relativity.

Binary Neutron Star Mergers

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 8.

[arXiv:1204.3858]

We review the current status of studies of the coalescence of binary neutron star systems. We begin with a discussion of the formation channels of merging binaries and we discuss the most recent theoretical predictions for merger rates. Next, we turn to the quasi-equilibrium formalisms that are used to study binaries prior to the merger phase and to generate initial data for fully dynamical simulations. The quasi-equilibrium approximation has played a key role in developing our understanding of the physics of binary coalescence and, in particular, of the orbital instability processes that can drive binaries to merger at the end of their lifetimes. We then turn to the numerical techniques used in dynamical simulations, including relativistic formalisms, (magneto-)hydrodynamics, gravitational-wave extraction techniques, and nuclear microphysics treatments. This is followed by a summary of the simulations performed across the field to date, including the most recent results from both fully relativistic and microphysically detailed simulations. Finally, we discuss the likely directions for the field as we transition from the first to the second generation of gravitational-wave interferometers and while supercomputers reach the petascale frontier.

Black Holes in Higher Dimensions

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 6.

[arXiv:0801.3471]

We review black hole solutions of higher-dimensional vacuum gravity, and of higher-dimensional supergravity theories. The discussion of vacuum gravity is pedagogical, with detailed reviews of Myers-Perry solutions, black rings, and solution-generating techniques. We discuss black hole solutions of maximal supergravity theories, including black holes in anti-de Sitter space. General results and open problems are discussed throughout.

Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space)

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 5.

[arXiv:1102.3355]

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free craft in space. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world - LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) - and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future "third generation" gravitational wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed.

Theorems on existence and global dynamics for the Einstein equations

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2002), 6.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0505133]

This article is a guide to theorems on existence and global dynamics of solutions of the Einstein equations. It draws attention to open questions in the field. The local-in-time Cauchy problem, which is relatively well understood, is surveyed. Global results for solutions with various types of symmetry are discussed. A selection of results from Newtonian theory and special relativity that offer useful comparisons is presented. Treatments of global results in the case of small data and results on constructing spacetimes with prescribed singularity structure or late-time asymptotics are given. A conjectural picture of the asymptotic behaviour of general cosmological solutions of the Einstein equations is built up. Some miscellaneous topics connected with the main theme are collected in a separate section.

Hyperbolic methods for Einstein's equations

Living Rev. Rel., 1, (1998), 3.

I review evolutionary aspects of general relativity, in particular those related to the hyperbolic character of the field equations and to the applications or consequences that this property entails. I look at several approaches to obtaining symmetric hyperbolic systems of equations out of Einstein’s equations by either removing some gauge freedoms from them, or by considering certain linear combinations of a subset of them.

The Asymptotic Safety Scenario in Quantum Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 9, (2006), 5.

The asymptotic safety scenario in quantum gravity is reviewed, according to which a renormalizable quantum theory of the gravitational field is feasible which reconciles asymptotically safe couplings with unitarity. The evidence from symmetry truncations and from the truncated flow of the effective average action is presented in detail. A dimensional reduction phenomenon for the residual interactions in the extreme ultraviolet links both results. For practical reasons the background effective action is used as the central object in the quantum theory. In terms of it criteria for a continuum limit are formulated and the notion of a background geometry self-consistently determined by the quantum dynamics is presented. Self-contained appendices provide prerequisites on the background effective action, the effective average action, and their respective renormalization flows.

Extraction of Gravitational Waves in Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 19, (2016), 2.

[arXiv:1606.02532]

A numerical-relativity calculation yields in general a solution of the Einstein equations including also a radiative part, which is in practice computed in a region of finite extent. Since gravitational radiation is properly defined only at null infinity and in an appropriate coordinate system, the accurate estimation of the emitted gravitational waves represents an old and non-trivial problem in numerical relativity. A number of methods have been developed over the years to "extract" the radiative part of the solution from a numerical simulation and these include: quadrupole formulas, gauge-invariant metric perturbations, Weyl scalars, and characteristic extraction. We review and discuss each method, in terms of both its theoretical background as well as its implementation. Finally, we provide a brief comparison of the various methods in terms of their inherent advantages and disadvantages.

Searches for Continuous-Wave Gravitational Radiation

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 3.

[arXiv:2206.06447]

Now that detection of gravitational wave signals from the coalescence of extra-galactic compact binary star mergers has become nearly routine, it is intriguing to consider other potential gravitational wave signatures. Here we examine the prospects for discovery of continuous gravitational waves from fast-spinning neutron stars in our own galaxy and from more exotic sources. Potential continuous-wave sources are reviewed, search methodologies and results presented and prospects for imminent discovery discussed.

Cosmic censorship for Gowdy spacetimes

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 2.

Due to the complexity of Einstein’s equations, it is often natural to study a question of interest in the framework of a restricted class of solutions. One way to impose a restriction is to consider solutions satisfying a given symmetry condition. There are many possible choices, but the present article is concerned with one particular choice, which we shall refer to as Gowdy symmetry. We begin by explaining the origin and meaning of this symmetry type, which has been used as a simplifying assumption in various contexts, some of which we shall mention. Nevertheless, the subject of interest here is strong cosmic censorship. Consequently, after having described what the Gowdy class of spacetimes is, we describe, as seen from the perspective of a mathematician, what is meant by strong cosmic censorship. The existing results on cosmic censorship are based on a detailed analysis of the asymptotic behavior of solutions. This analysis is in part motivated by conjectures, such as the BKL conjecture, which we shall therefore briefly describe. However, the emphasis of the article is on the mathematical analysis of the asymptotics, due to its central importance in the proof and in the hope that it might be of relevance more generally. The article ends with a description of the results that have been obtained concerning strong cosmic censorship in the class of Gowdy spacetimes.

Detection methods for stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds: A unified treatment

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 2.

[arXiv:1608.06889]

We review detection methods that are currently in use or have been proposed to search for a stochastic background of gravitational radiation. We consider both Bayesian and frequentist searches using ground-based and space-based laser interferometers, spacecraft Doppler tracking, and pulsar timing arrays; and we allow for anisotropy, non-Gaussianity, and non-standard polarization states. Our focus is on relevant data analysis issues, and not on the particular astrophysical or early Universe sources that might give rise to such backgrounds. We provide a unified treatment of these searches at the level of detector response functions, detection sensitivity curves, and, more generally, at the level of the likelihood function, since the choice of signal and noise models and prior probability distributions are actually what define the search. Pedagogical examples are given whenever possible to compare and contrast different approaches. We have tried to make the article as self-contained and comprehensive as possible, targeting graduate students and new researchers looking to enter this field.

Loop quantum gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 5.

The problem of describing the quantum behavior of gravity, and thus understanding quantum spacetime, is still open. Loop quantum gravity is a well-developed approach to this problem. It is a mathematically well-defined background-independent quantization of general relativity, with its conventional matter couplings. Today research in loop quantum gravity forms a vast area, ranging from mathematical foundations to physical applications. Among the most significant results obtained so far are: (i) The computation of the spectra of geometrical quantities such as area and volume, which yield tentative quantitative predictions for Planck-scale physics. (ii) A physical picture of the microstructure of quantum spacetime, characterized by Planck-scale discreteness. Discreteness emerges as a standard quantum effect from the discrete spectra, and provides a mathematical realization of Wheeler’s “spacetime foam” intuition. (iii) Control of spacetime singularities, such as those in the interior of black holes and the cosmological one. This, in particular, has opened up the possibility of a theoretical investigation into the very early universe and the spacetime regions beyond the Big Bang. (iv) A derivation of the Bekenstein-Hawking black-hole entropy. (v) Low-energy calculations, yielding n-point functions well defined in a background-independent context. The theory is at the roots of, or strictly related to, a number of formalisms that have been developed for describing background-independent quantum field theory, such as spin foams, group field theory, causal spin networks, and others. I give here a general overview of ideas, techniques, results and open problems of this candidate theory of quantum gravity, and a guide to the relevant literature.

Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space)

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 5.

[arXiv:1102.3355]

Significant progress has been made in recent years on the development of gravitational wave detectors. Sources such as coalescing compact binary systems, neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries, stellar collapses and pulsars are all possible candidates for detection. The most promising design of gravitational wave detector uses test masses a long distance apart and freely suspended as pendulums on Earth or in drag-free craft in space. The main theme of this review is a discussion of the mechanical and optical principles used in the various long baseline systems in operation around the world - LIGO (USA), Virgo (Italy/France), TAMA300 and LCGT (Japan), and GEO600 (Germany/U.K.) - and in LISA, a proposed space-borne interferometer. A review of recent science runs from the current generation of ground-based detectors will be discussed, in addition to highlighting the astrophysical results gained thus far. Looking to the future, the major upgrades to LIGO (Advanced LIGO), Virgo (Advanced Virgo), LCGT and GEO600 (GEO-HF) will be completed over the coming years, which will create a network of detectors with significantly improved sensitivity required to detect gravitational waves. Beyond this, the concept and design of possible future "third generation" gravitational wave detectors, such as the Einstein Telescope (ET), will be discussed.

Tests of Chameleon Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 21, (2018), 1.

[arXiv:1709.09071]

Theories of modified gravity where light scalars with non-trivial self-interactions and non-minimal couplings to matter-chameleon and symmetron theories-dynamically suppress deviations from general relativity in the solar system. On other scales, the environmental nature of the screening means that such scalars may be relevant. The highly-nonlinear nature of screening mechanisms means that they evade classical fifth-force searches, and there has been an intense effort towards designing new and novel tests to probe them, both in the laboratory and using astrophysical objects, and by reinterpreting existing datasets. The results of these searches are often presented using different parametrizations, which can make it difficult to compare constraints coming from different probes. The purpose of this review is to summarize the present state-of-the-art searches for screened scalars coupled to matter, and to translate the current bounds into a single parametrization to survey the state of the models. Presently, commonly studied chameleon models are well-constrained but less commonly studied models have large regions of parameter space that are still viable. Symmetron models are constrained well by astrophysical and laboratory tests, but there is a desert separating the two scales where the model is unconstrained. The coupling of chameleons to photons is tightly constrained but the symmetron coupling has yet to be explored. We also summarize the current bounds on $f(R)$ models that exhibit the chameleon mechanism (Hu \& Sawicki models). The simplest of these are well constrained by astrophysical probes, but there are currently few reported bounds for theories with higher powers of $R$. The review ends by discussing the future prospects for constraining screened modified gravity models further using upcoming and planned experiments.

Continuum and Discrete Initial-Boundary-Value Problems and Einstein's Field Equations

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 9.

[arXiv:1203.6443]

Many evolution problems in physics are described by partial differential equations on an infinite domain; therefore, one is interested in the solutions to such problems for a given initial dataset. A prominent example is the binary black hole problem within Einstein's theory of gravitation, in which one computes the gravitational radiation emitted from the inspiral of the two black holes, merger and ringdown. Powerful mathematical tools can be used to establish qualitative statements about the solutions, such as their existence, uniqueness, continuous dependence on the initial data, or their asymptotic behavior over large time scales. However, one is often interested in computing the solution itself, and unless the partial differential equation is very simple, or the initial data possesses a high degree of symmetry, this computation requires approximation by numerical discretization. When solving such discrete problems on a machine, one is faced with a finite limit to computational resources, which leads to the replacement of the infinite continuum domain with a finite computer grid. This, in turn, leads to a discrete initial-boundary value problem. The hope is to recover, with high accuracy, the exact solution in the limit where the grid spacing converges to zero with the boundary being pushed to infinity. The goal of this article is to review some of the theory necessary to understand the continuum and discrete initial-boundary value problems arising from hyperbolic partial differential equations and to discuss its applications to numerical relativity; in particular, we present well-posed initial and initial-boundary value formulations of Einstein's equations, and we discuss multi-domain high-order finite difference and spectral methods to solve them.

Analytic black hole perturbation approach to gravitational radiation

Living Rev. Rel., 6, (2003), 6.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0306120]

We review analytic methods to perform the post-Newtonian expansion of gravitational waves induced by a particle orbiting a massive compact body, based on the black hole perturbation theory. There exist two different methods of the post-Newtonian expansion. Both are based the Teukolsky equation. In one method, the Teukolsky equation is transformed into a Regge-Wheeler type equation that reduces to the standard Klein-Gordon equation in the flat space limit, while in the other method, which were introduced by Mano, Suzuki and Takasugi relatively recently, the Teukolsky equation is directly used in its original form. The former has an advantage that it is intuitively easy to understand how various curved space effects come into play. However, it becomes increasingly complicated when one goes on to higher and higher post-Newtonian orders. In contrast, the latter has an advantage that a systematic calculation to higher post-Newtonian orders is relatively easily implementable, but otherwise so mathematical that it is hard to understand the interplay of higher order terms. In this paper, we review both methods so that their pros and cons may be clearly seen. We also review some results of calculations of gravitational radiation emitted by a particle orbiting a black hole.

Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology with Gravitational Waves

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 2.

[arXiv:0903.0338]

Gravitational wave detectors are already operating at interesting sensitivity levels, and they have an upgrade path that should result in secure detections by 2014. We review the physics of gravitational waves, how they interact with detectors (bars and interferometers), and how these detectors operate. We study the most likely sources of gravitational waves and review the data analysis methods that are used to extract their signals from detector noise. Then we consider the consequences of gravitational wave detections and observations for physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.

Quasi-Normal Modes of Stars and Black Holes

Living Rev. Rel., 2, (1999), 2.

[arXiv:gr-qc/9909058]

Perturbations of stars and black holes have been one of the main topics of relativistic astrophysics for the last few decades. They are of particular importance today, because of their relevance to gravitational wave astronomy. In this review we present the theory of quasi-normal modes of compact objects from both the mathematical and astrophysical points of view. The discussion includes perturbations of black holes (Schwarzschild, Reissner-Nordstr\"om, Kerr and Kerr-Newman) and relativistic stars (non-rotating and slowly-rotating). The properties of the various families of quasi-normal modes are described, and numerical techniques for calculating quasi-normal modes reviewed. The successes, as well as the limits, of perturbation theory are presented, and its role in the emerging era of numerical relativity and supercomputers is discussed.

Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology with Gravitational Waves

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 2.

[arXiv:0903.0338]

Gravitational wave detectors are already operating at interesting sensitivity levels, and they have an upgrade path that should result in secure detections by 2014. We review the physics of gravitational waves, how they interact with detectors (bars and interferometers), and how these detectors operate. We study the most likely sources of gravitational waves and review the data analysis methods that are used to extract their signals from detector noise. Then we consider the consequences of gravitational wave detections and observations for physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.

Hamiltonian formulation of general relativity and post-Newtonian dynamics of compact binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 27, (2024), 2.

[arXiv:1805.07240]

Hamiltonian formalisms provide powerful tools for the computation of approximate analytic solutions of the Einstein field equations. The post-Newtonian computations of the explicit analytic dynamics and motion of compact binaries are discussed within the most often applied Arnowitt-Deser-Misner formalism. The obtention of autonomous Hamiltonians is achieved by the transition to Routhians. Order reduction of higher derivative Hamiltonians results in standard Hamiltonians. Tetrad representation of general relativity is introduced for the tackling of compact binaries with spinning components. Compact objects are modeled by use of Dirac delta functions and their derivatives. Consistency is achieved through transition to $d$-dimensional space and application of dimensional regularization. At the fourth post-Newtonian level, tail contributions to the binding energy show up for the first time. The conservative dynamics of binary systems finds explicit presentation and discussion through the fifth post-Newtonian order for spinless masses. For masses with spin Hamiltonians are known through (next-to)$^3$-leading-order spin-orbit and spin-spin couplings as well as through next-to-leading order cubic and quartic in spin interactions. Parts of those are given explicitly. Tidal-interaction Hamiltonians are considered through (next-to)$^2$-leading post-Newtonian order. The radiation reaction dynamics is presented explicitly through the third-and-half post-Newtonian order for spinless objects, and, for spinning bodies, to leading-order in the spin-orbit and spin1-spin2 couplings. The most important historical issues get pointed out.

Astrophysics with the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 2.

[arXiv:2203.06016]

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be a transformative experiment for gravitational wave astronomy, and, as such, it will offer unique opportunities to address many key astrophysical questions in a completely novel way. The synergy with ground-based and space-born instruments in the electromagnetic domain, by enabling multi-messenger observations, will add further to the discovery potential of LISA. The next decade is crucial to prepare the astrophysical community for LISA's first observations. This review outlines the extensive landscape of astrophysical theory, numerical simulations, and astronomical observations that are instrumental for modeling and interpreting the upcoming LISA datastream. To this aim, the current knowledge in three main source classes for LISA is reviewed; ultracompact stellar-mass binaries, massive black hole binaries, and extreme or intermediate mass ratio inspirals. The relevant astrophysical processes and the established modeling techniques are summarized. Likewise, open issues and gaps in our understanding of these sources are highlighted, along with an indication of how LISA could help making progress in the different areas. New research avenues that LISA itself, or its joint exploitation with upcoming studies in the electromagnetic domain, will enable, are also illustrated. Improvements in modeling and analysis approaches, such as the combination of numerical simulations and modern data science techniques, are discussed. This review is intended to be a starting point for using LISA as a new discovery tool for understanding our Universe.

Coalescence of black hole--neutron star binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 5.

[arXiv:2110.06218]

We review the current status of general relativistic studies for coalescences of black hole--neutron star binaries. First, high-precision computations of black hole--neutron star binaries in quasiequilibrium circular orbits are summarized, focusing on the quasiequilibrium sequences and the mass-shedding limit. Next, the current status of numerical-relativity simulations for the merger of black hole--neutron star binaries is described. We summarize our understanding for the merger process, tidal disruption and its criterion, properties of the merger remnant and ejected material, gravitational waveforms, and gravitational-wave spectra. We also discuss expected electromagnetic counterparts to black hole--neutron star coalescences.

Gravitational Wave Tests of General Relativity with Ground-Based Detectors and Pulsar Timing Arrays

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 9.

[arXiv:1304.3473]

This review is focused on tests of Einstein's theory of General Relativity with gravitational waves that are detectable by ground-based interferometers and pulsar timing experiments. Einstein's theory has been greatly constrained in the quasi-linear, quasi-stationary regime, where gravity is weak and velocities are small. Gravitational waves will allow us to probe a complimentary, yet previously unexplored regime: the non-linear and dynamical strong-field regime. Such a regime is, for example, applicable to compact binaries coalescing, where characteristic velocities can reach fifty percent the speed of light and compactnesses can reach a half. This review begins with the theoretical basis and the predicted gravitational wave observables of modified gravity theories. The review continues with a brief description of the detectors, including both gravitational wave interferometers and pulsar timing arrays, leading to a discussion of the data analysis formalism that is applicable for such tests. The review ends with a discussion of gravitational wave tests for compact binary systems.

Brane Effective Actions, Kappa-Symmetry and Applications

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 3.

[arXiv:1110.2422]

This is a review on brane effective actions, their symmetries and some of its applications. Its first part uncovers the Green-Schwarz formulation of single M- and D-brane effective actions focusing on kinematical aspects : the identification of their degrees of freedom, the importance of world volume diffeomorphisms and kappa symmetry, to achieve manifest spacetime covariance and supersymmetry, and the explicit construction of such actions in arbitrary on-shell supergravity backgrounds. Its second part deals with applications. First, the use of kappa symmetry to determine supersymmetric world volume solitons. This includes their explicit construction in flat and curved backgrounds, their interpretation as BPS states carrying (topological) charges in the supersymmetry algebra and the connection between supersymmetry and hamiltonian BPS bounds. When available, I emphasise the use of these solitons as constituents in microscopic models of black holes. Second, the use of probe approximations to infer about non-trivial dynamics of strongly coupled gauge theories using the AdS/CFT correspondence. This includes expectation values of Wilson loop operators, spectrum information and the general use of D-brane probes to approximate the dynamics of systems with small number of degrees of freedom interacting with larger systems allowing a dual gravitational description. Its final part briefly discusses effective actions for N D-branes and M2-branes. This includes both SYM theories, their higher order corrections and partial results in covariantising these couplings to curved backgrounds, and the more recent supersymmetric Chern-Simons matter theories describing M2-branes using field theory, brane constructions and 3-algebra considerations.

Entanglement entropy of black holes

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 8.

[arXiv:1104.3712]

The entanglement entropy is a fundamental quantity which characterizes the correlations between sub-systems in a larger quantum-mechanical system. For two sub-systems separated by a surface the entanglement entropy is proportional to the area of the surface and depends on the UV cutoff which regulates the short-distance correlations. The geometrical nature of the entanglement entropy calculation is particularly intriguing when applied to black holes when the entangling surface is the black hole horizon. I review a variety of aspects of this calculation: the useful mathematical tools such as the geometry of spaces with conical singularities and the heat kernel method, the UV divergences in the entropy and their renormalization, the logarithmic terms in the entanglement entropy in 4 and 6 dimensions and their relation to the conformal anomalies. The focus in the review is on the systematic use of the conical singularity method. The relations to other known approaches such as 't Hooft's brick wall model and the Euclidean path integral in the optical metric are discussed in detail. The puzzling behavior of the entanglement entropy due to fields which non-minimally couple to gravity is emphasized. The holographic description of the entanglement entropy of the black hole horizon is illustrated on the two- and four-dimensional examples. Finally, I examine the possibility to interpret the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy entirely as the entanglement entropy.

Spacelike Singularities and Hidden Symmetries of Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 1.

[arXiv:0710.1818]

We review the intimate connection between (super-)gravity close to a spacelike singularity (the "BKL-limit") and the theory of Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebras. We show that in this limit the gravitational theory can be reformulated in terms of billiard motion in a region of hyperbolic space, revealing that the dynamics is completely determined by a (possibly infinite) sequence of reflections, which are elements of a Lorentzian Coxeter group. Such Coxeter groups are the Weyl groups of infinite-dimensional Kac-Moody algebras, suggesting that these algebras yield symmetries of gravitational theories. Our presentation is aimed to be a self-contained and comprehensive treatment of the subject, with all the relevant mathematical background material introduced and explained in detail. We also review attempts at making the infinite-dimensional symmetries manifest, through the construction of a geodesic sigma model based on a Lorentzian Kac-Moody algebra. An explicit example is provided for the case of the hyperbolic algebra E10, which is conjectured to be an underlying symmetry of M-theory. Illustrations of this conjecture are also discussed in the context of cosmological solutions to eleven-dimensional supergravity.

Testing General Relativity with Pulsar Timing

Living Rev. Rel., 6, (2003), 5.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0307536]

Pulsars of very different types - isolated objects, and binaries with short- and long-period orbits, white-dwarf and neutron-star companions - provide the means to test both the predictions of general relativity and the viability of alternate theories of gravity. This article presents an overview of pulsars, then discusses the current status and future prospects of tests of equivalence principle violations and strong-field gravitational experiments.

Rotating Stars in Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 20, (2017), 7.

[arXiv:1612.03050]

Rotating relativistic stars have been studied extensively in recent years, both theoretically and observationally, because of the information they might yield about the equation of state of matter at extremely high densities and because they are considered to be promising sources of gravitational waves. The latest theoretical understanding of rotating stars in relativity is reviewed in this updated article. The sections on equilibrium properties and on nonaxisymmetric oscillations and instabilities in $f$-modes and $r$-modes have been updated. Several new sections have been added on equilibria in modified theories of gravity, approximate universal relationships, the one-arm spiral instability, on analytic solutions for the exterior spacetime, rotating stars in LMXBs, rotating strange stars, and on rotating stars in numerical relativity including both hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic studies of these objects.

Interferometer Techniques for Gravitational-Wave Detection

Living Rev. Rel., 19, (2010), 3.

[arXiv:0909.3661]

Several km-scale gravitational-wave detectors have been constructed world wide. These instruments combine a number of advanced technologies to push the limits of precision length measurement. The core devices are laser interferometers of a new kind; developed from the classical Michelson topology these interferometers integrate additional optical elements, which significantly change the properties of the optical system. Much of the design and analysis of these laser interferometers can be performed using well-known classical optical techniques; however, the complex optical layouts provide a new challenge. In this review we give a textbook-style introduction to the optical science required for the understanding of modern gravitational wave detectors, as well as other high-precision laser interferometers. In addition, we provide a number of examples for a freely available interferometer simulation software and encourage the reader to use these examples to gain hands-on experience with the discussed optical methods.

Experimental searches for dark matter

Living Rev. Rel., 5, (2002), 4.

There is now an enormously rich variety of experimental techniques being brought to bear on experimental searches for dark matter, covering a wide range of suggested forms for it. The existence of “dark matter”, in some form or other, is inferred from a number of relatively simple observations and the problem has been known for over half a century. To explain “dark matter” is one of the foremost challenges today — the answer will be of fundamental importance to cosmologists, astrophysicists, particle physicists, and general relativists. In this article, I will give a brief review of the observational evidence (concentrating on areas of current significant activity), followed by anequally brief summary of candidate solutions for the ‘dark matter’. I will then discuss experimental searches, both direct and indirect. Finally, I will offer prospects for the future.

The causal set approach to quantum gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 22, (2019), 5.

[arXiv:1903.11544]

The causal set theory (CST) approach to quantum gravity postulates that at the most fundamental level, spacetime is discrete, with the spacetime continuum replaced by locally finite posets or "causal sets". The partial order on a causal set represents a proto-causality relation while local finiteness encodes an intrinsic discreteness. In the continuum approximation the former corresponds to the spacetime causality relation and the latter to a fundamental spacetime atomicity, so that finite volume regions in the continuum contain only a finite number of causal set elements. CST is deeply rooted in the Lorentzian character of spacetime, where a primary role is played by the causal structure poset. Importantly, the assumption of a fundamental discreteness in CST does not violate local Lorentz invariance in the continuum approximation. On the other hand, the combination of discreteness and Lorentz invariance gives rise to a characteristic non-locality which distinguishes CST from most other approaches to quantum gravity. In this review we give a broad, semi-pedagogical introduction to CST, highlighting key results as well as some of the key open questions. This review is intended both for the beginner student in quantum gravity as well as more seasoned researchers in the field.

Measuring our universe from galaxy redshift surveys

Living Rev. Rel., 7, (2004), 8.

[arXiv:astro-ph/0310642]

Galaxy redshift surveys have achieved significant progress over the last couple of decades. Those surveys tell us in the most straightforward way what our local universe looks like. While the galaxy distribution traces the bright side of the universe, detailed quantitative analyses of the data have even revealed the dark side of the universe dominated by non-baryonic dark matter as well as more mysterious dark energy (or Einstein's cosmological constant). We describe several methodologies of using galaxy redshift surveys as cosmological probes, and then summarize the recent results from the existing surveys. Finally we present our views on the future of redshift surveys in the era of Precision Cosmology.

Quasi-Local Energy-Momentum and Angular Momentum in General Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 4.

The present status of the quasi-local mass, energy-momentum and angular-momentum constructions in general relativity is reviewed. First, the general ideas, concepts, and strategies, as well as the necessary tools to construct and analyze the quasi-local quantities, are recalled. Then, the various specific constructions and their properties (both successes and deficiencies are discussed. Finally, some of the (actual and potential) applications of the quasi-local concepts and specific constructions are briefly mentioned.

Analytic black hole perturbation approach to gravitational radiation

Living Rev. Rel., 6, (2003), 6.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0306120]

We review analytic methods to perform the post-Newtonian expansion of gravitational waves induced by a particle orbiting a massive compact body, based on the black hole perturbation theory. There exist two different methods of the post-Newtonian expansion. Both are based the Teukolsky equation. In one method, the Teukolsky equation is transformed into a Regge-Wheeler type equation that reduces to the standard Klein-Gordon equation in the flat space limit, while in the other method, which were introduced by Mano, Suzuki and Takasugi relatively recently, the Teukolsky equation is directly used in its original form. The former has an advantage that it is intuitively easy to understand how various curved space effects come into play. However, it becomes increasingly complicated when one goes on to higher and higher post-Newtonian orders. In contrast, the latter has an advantage that a systematic calculation to higher post-Newtonian orders is relatively easily implementable, but otherwise so mathematical that it is hard to understand the interplay of higher order terms. In this paper, we review both methods so that their pros and cons may be clearly seen. We also review some results of calculations of gravitational radiation emitted by a particle orbiting a black hole.

Coalescence of black hole--neutron star binaries

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 5.

[arXiv:2110.06218]

We review the current status of general relativistic studies for coalescences of black hole--neutron star binaries. First, high-precision computations of black hole--neutron star binaries in quasiequilibrium circular orbits are summarized, focusing on the quasiequilibrium sequences and the mass-shedding limit. Next, the current status of numerical-relativity simulations for the merger of black hole--neutron star binaries is described. We summarize our understanding for the merger process, tidal disruption and its criterion, properties of the merger remnant and ejected material, gravitational waveforms, and gravitational-wave spectra. We also discuss expected electromagnetic counterparts to black hole--neutron star coalescences.

Event and Apparent Horizon Finders for $3+1$ Numerical Relativity

Living Rev. Rel., 10, (2007), 3.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0512169]

Event and apparent horizons are key diagnostics for the presence and properties of black holes. In this article I review numerical algorithms and codes for finding event and apparent horizons in numerically-computed spacetimes, focusing on calculations done using the 3+1 ADM formalism. There are 3 basic algorithms for finding event horizons, based respectively on integrating null geodesics \emph{forwards} in time, integrating null geodesics \emph{backwards} in time, and integrating null \emph{surfaces} backwards in time. The last of these is generally the most efficient and accurate. There are a large number of apparent-horizon finding algorithms, with differing trade-offs between speed, robustness, accuracy, and ease of programming. In axisymmetry, shooting algorithms work well and are fairly easy to program. In slices with no continuous symmetries, Nakamura et al.'s algorithm and elliptic-PDE algorithms are fast and accurate, but require good initial guesses to converge. In many cases Schnetter's pretracking algorithm can greatly improve an elliptic-PDE algorithm's robustness. Flow algorithms are generally quite slow, but can be very robust in their convergence.

Reduced Order and Surrogate Models for Gravitational Waves

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 2.

[arXiv:2101.11608]

We present an introduction to some of the state of the art in reduced order and surrogate modeling in gravitational wave (GW) science. Approaches that we cover include Principal Component Analysis, Proper Orthogonal Decomposition, the Reduced Basis approach, the Empirical Interpolation Method, Reduced Order Quadratures, and Compressed Likelihood evaluations. We divide the review into three parts: representation/compression of known data, predictive models, and data analysis. The targeted audience is that one of practitioners in GW science, a field in which building predictive models and data analysis tools that are both accurate and fast to evaluate, especially when dealing with large amounts of data and intensive computations, are necessary yet can be challenging. As such, practical presentations and, sometimes, heuristic approaches are here preferred over rigor when the latter is not available. This review aims to be self-contained, within reasonable page limits, with little previous knowledge (at the undergraduate level) requirements in mathematics, scientific computing, and other disciplines. Emphasis is placed on optimality, as well as the curse of dimensionality and approaches that might have the promise of beating it. We also review most of the state of the art of GW surrogates. Some numerical algorithms, conditioning details, scalability, parallelization and other practical points are discussed. The approaches presented are to large extent non-intrusive and data-driven and can therefore be applicable to other disciplines. We close with open challenges in high dimension surrogates, which are not unique to GW science.

Continuum and Discrete Initial-Boundary-Value Problems and Einstein's Field Equations

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 9.

[arXiv:1203.6443]

Many evolution problems in physics are described by partial differential equations on an infinite domain; therefore, one is interested in the solutions to such problems for a given initial dataset. A prominent example is the binary black hole problem within Einstein's theory of gravitation, in which one computes the gravitational radiation emitted from the inspiral of the two black holes, merger and ringdown. Powerful mathematical tools can be used to establish qualitative statements about the solutions, such as their existence, uniqueness, continuous dependence on the initial data, or their asymptotic behavior over large time scales. However, one is often interested in computing the solution itself, and unless the partial differential equation is very simple, or the initial data possesses a high degree of symmetry, this computation requires approximation by numerical discretization. When solving such discrete problems on a machine, one is faced with a finite limit to computational resources, which leads to the replacement of the infinite continuum domain with a finite computer grid. This, in turn, leads to a discrete initial-boundary value problem. The hope is to recover, with high accuracy, the exact solution in the limit where the grid spacing converges to zero with the boundary being pushed to infinity. The goal of this article is to review some of the theory necessary to understand the continuum and discrete initial-boundary value problems arising from hyperbolic partial differential equations and to discuss its applications to numerical relativity; in particular, we present well-posed initial and initial-boundary value formulations of Einstein's equations, and we discuss multi-domain high-order finite difference and spectral methods to solve them.

Time-delay interferometry

Living Rev. Rel., 24, (2021), 1.

Equal-arm detectors of gravitational radiation allow phase measurements many orders of magnitude below the intrinsic phase stability of the laser injecting light into their arms. This is because the noise in the laser light is common to both arms, experiencing exactly the same delay, and thus cancels when it is differenced at the photo detector. In this situation, much lower level secondary noises then set the overall performance. If, however, the two arms have different lengths (as will necessarily be the case with space-borne interferometers), the laser noise experiences different delays in the two arms and will hence not directly cancel at the photo detector. To solve this problem, a technique involving heterodyne interferometry with unequal arm lengths and independent phase-difference readouts has been proposed. It relies on properly time-shifting and linearly combining independent Doppler measurements, and for this reason it has been called time-delay interferometry (TDI). This article provides an overview of the theory, mathematical foundations, and experimental aspects associated with the implementation of TDI. Although emphasis on the application of TDI to the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna mission appears throughout this article, TDI can be incorporated into the design of any future space-based mission aiming to search for gravitational waves via interferometric measurements. We have purposely left out all theoretical aspects that data analysts will need to account for when analyzing the TDI data combinations.

The Pioneer Anomaly

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 4.

[arXiv:1001.3686]

Radio-metric Doppler tracking data received from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft from heliocentric distances of 20-70 AU has consistently indicated the presence of a small, anomalous, blue-shifted frequency drift uniformly changing with a rate of ~6 x 10^{-9} Hz/s. Ultimately, the drift was interpreted as a constant sunward deceleration of each particular spacecraft at the level of a_P = (8.74 +/- 1.33) x 10^{-10} m/s^2. This apparent violation of the Newton's gravitational inverse-square law has become known as the Pioneer anomaly; the nature of this anomaly remains unexplained. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the physical properties of the anomaly and the conditions that led to its detection and characterization. We review various mechanisms proposed to explain the anomaly and discuss the current state of efforts to determine its nature. A comprehensive new investigation of the anomalous behavior of the two Pioneers has begun recently. The new efforts rely on the much-extended set of radio-metric Doppler data for both spacecraft in conjunction with the newly available complete record of their telemetry files and a large archive of original project documentation. As the new study is yet to report its findings, this review provides the necessary background for the new results to appear in the near future. In particular, we provide a significant amount of information on the design, operations and behavior of the two Pioneers during their entire missions, including descriptions of various data formats and techniques used for their navigation and radio-science data analysis. As most of this information was recovered relatively recently, it was not used in the previous studies of the Pioneer anomaly, but it is critical for the new investigation.

f(R) theories

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 3.

[arXiv:1002.4928]

Over the past decade, f(R) theories have been extensively studied as one of the simplest modifications to General Relativity. In this article we review various applications of f(R) theories to cosmology and gravity - such as inflation, dark energy, local gravity constraints, cosmological perturbations, and spherically symmetric solutions in weak and strong gravitational backgrounds. We present a number of ways to distinguish those theories from General Relativity observationally and experimentally. We also discuss the extension to other modified gravity theories such as Brans-Dicke theory and Gauss-Bonnet gravity, and address models that can satisfy both cosmological and local gravity constraints.

Solvable Models of Quantum Black Holes: A Review on Jackiw-Teitelboim Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 26, (2023), 4.

[arXiv:2210.10846]

We review recent developments in Jackiw-Teitelboim (JT) gravity. This is a simple solvable model of quantum gravity in two dimensions (that arises e.g. from the s-wave sector of higher dimensional gravity systems with spherical symmetry). Due to its solvability, it has proven to be a fruitful toy model to analyze important questions such as the relation between black holes and chaos, the role of wormholes in black hole physics and holography, and the way in which information that falls into a black hole can be recovered.

The Pioneer Anomaly

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 4.

[arXiv:1001.3686]

Radio-metric Doppler tracking data received from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft from heliocentric distances of 20-70 AU has consistently indicated the presence of a small, anomalous, blue-shifted frequency drift uniformly changing with a rate of ~6 x 10^{-9} Hz/s. Ultimately, the drift was interpreted as a constant sunward deceleration of each particular spacecraft at the level of a_P = (8.74 +/- 1.33) x 10^{-10} m/s^2. This apparent violation of the Newton's gravitational inverse-square law has become known as the Pioneer anomaly; the nature of this anomaly remains unexplained. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the physical properties of the anomaly and the conditions that led to its detection and characterization. We review various mechanisms proposed to explain the anomaly and discuss the current state of efforts to determine its nature. A comprehensive new investigation of the anomalous behavior of the two Pioneers has begun recently. The new efforts rely on the much-extended set of radio-metric Doppler data for both spacecraft in conjunction with the newly available complete record of their telemetry files and a large archive of original project documentation. As the new study is yet to report its findings, this review provides the necessary background for the new results to appear in the near future. In particular, we provide a significant amount of information on the design, operations and behavior of the two Pioneers during their entire missions, including descriptions of various data formats and techniques used for their navigation and radio-science data analysis. As most of this information was recovered relatively recently, it was not used in the previous studies of the Pioneer anomaly, but it is critical for the new investigation.

Varying constants, Gravitation and Cosmology

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 2.

[arXiv:1009.5514]

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. It is thus of utmost importance for our understanding of gravity and of the domain of validity of general relativity to test for their constancy. We thus 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, meteorites 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.

Testing General Relativity with Low-Frequency, Space-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 7.

[arXiv:1212.5575]

We review the tests of general relativity that will become possible with space-based gravitational-wave detectors operating in the ~0.01mHz - 1Hz low-frequency band. The fundamental aspects of gravitation that can be tested include the presence of additional gravitational fields other than the metric; the number and tensorial nature of gravitational-wave polarization states; the velocity of propagation of gravitational waves; the binding energy and gravitational-wave radiation of binaries, and therefore the time evolution of binary inspirals; the strength and shape of the waves emitted from binary mergers and ringdowns; the true nature of astrophysical black holes; and much more. The strength of this science alone calls for the swift implementation of a space-based detector; the remarkable richness of astrophysics, astronomy, and cosmology in the low-frequency gravitational-wave band make the case even stronger.

The motion of point particles in curved spacetime

Living Rev. Rel., 14, (2011), 7.

[arXiv:1102.0529]

This review is concerned with the motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime. In each of the three cases the particle produces a field that behaves as outgoing radiation in the wave zone, and therefore removes energy from the particle. In the near zone the field acts on the particle and gives rise to a self-force that prevents the particle from moving on a geodesic of the background spacetime. The field's action on the particle is difficult to calculate because of its singular nature: the field diverges at the position of the particle. But it is possible to isolate the field's singular part and show that it exerts no force on the particle. What remains after subtraction is a smooth field that is fully responsible for the self-force. The mathematical tools required to derive the equations of motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime are developed here from scratch. The review begins with a discussion of the basic theory of bitensors. It then applies the theory to the construction of convenient coordinate systems to chart a neighbourhood of the particle's word line. It continues with a thorough discussion of Green's functions in curved spacetime. The review presents a detailed derivation of each of the three equations of motion. Because the notion of a point mass is problematic in general relativity, the review concludes with an alternative derivation of the equations of motion that applies to a small body of arbitrary internal structure.

Stochastic Gravity: Theory and Applications

Living Rev. Rel., 11, (2008), 3.

[arXiv:0802.0658]

Whereas semiclassical gravity is based on the semiclassical Einstein equation with sources given by the expectation value of the stress-energy tensor of quantum fields, stochastic semiclassical gravity is based on the Einstein-Langevin equation, which has in addition sources due to the noise kernel. In the first part, we describe the fundamentals of this new theory via two approaches: the axiomatic and the functional. In the second part, we describe three applications of stochastic gravity theory. First, we consider metric perturbations in a Minkowski spacetime, compute the two-point correlation functions of these perturbations and prove that Minkowski spacetime is a stable solution of semiclassical gravity. Second, we discuss structure formation from the stochastic gravity viewpoint. Third, we discuss the backreaction of Hawking radiation in the gravitational background of a black hole and describe the metric fluctuations near the event horizon of an evaporating black hole

Reduced Order and Surrogate Models for Gravitational Waves

Living Rev. Rel., 25, (2022), 2.

[arXiv:2101.11608]

We present an introduction to some of the state of the art in reduced order and surrogate modeling in gravitational wave (GW) science. Approaches that we cover include Principal Component Analysis, Proper Orthogonal Decomposition, the Reduced Basis approach, the Empirical Interpolation Method, Reduced Order Quadratures, and Compressed Likelihood evaluations. We divide the review into three parts: representation/compression of known data, predictive models, and data analysis. The targeted audience is that one of practitioners in GW science, a field in which building predictive models and data analysis tools that are both accurate and fast to evaluate, especially when dealing with large amounts of data and intensive computations, are necessary yet can be challenging. As such, practical presentations and, sometimes, heuristic approaches are here preferred over rigor when the latter is not available. This review aims to be self-contained, within reasonable page limits, with little previous knowledge (at the undergraduate level) requirements in mathematics, scientific computing, and other disciplines. Emphasis is placed on optimality, as well as the curse of dimensionality and approaches that might have the promise of beating it. We also review most of the state of the art of GW surrogates. Some numerical algorithms, conditioning details, scalability, parallelization and other practical points are discussed. The approaches presented are to large extent non-intrusive and data-driven and can therefore be applicable to other disciplines. We close with open challenges in high dimension surrogates, which are not unique to GW science.

Quantization of Midisuperspace Models

Living Rev. Rel., 13, (2010), 6.

[arXiv:1010.1637]

We give a comprehensive review of the quantization of midisuperspace models. Though the main focus of the paper is on quantum aspects, we also provide an introduction to several classical points related to the definition of these models. We cover some important issues, in particular, the use of the principle of symmetric criticality as a very useful tool to obtain the required Hamiltonian formulations. Two main types of reductions are discussed: those involving metrics with two Killing vector fields and spherically symmetric models. We also review the more general models obtained by coupling matter fields to these systems. Throughout the paper we give separate discussions for standard quantizations using geometrodynamical variables and those relying on loop quantum gravity inspired methods.

On special optical modes and thermal issues in advanced gravitational wave interferometric detectors

Living Rev. Rel., 12, (2009), 5.

The sensitivity of present ground-based gravitational wave antennas is too low to detect many events per year. It has, therefore, been planned for years to build advanced detectors allowing actual astrophysical observations and investigations. In such advanced detectors, one major issue is to increase the laser power in order to reduce shot noise. However, this is useless if the thermal noise remains at the current level in the 100 Hz spectral region, where mirrors are the main contributors. Moreover, increasing the laser power gives rise to various spurious thermal effects in the same mirrors. The main goal of the present study is to discuss these issues versus the transverse structure of the readout beam, in order to allow comparison. A number of theoretical studies and experiments have been carried out, regarding thermal noise and thermal effects. We do not discuss experimental problems, but rather focus on some theoretical results in this context about arbitrary order Laguerre-Gauss beams, and other “exotic” beams.

Analogue Gravity

Living Rev. Rel., 8, (2005), 12.

[arXiv:gr-qc/0505065]

Analogue gravity is a research programme which investigates analogues of general relativistic gravitational fields within other physical systems, typically but not exclusively condensed matter systems, with the aim of gaining new insights into their corresponding problems. Analogue models of (and for) gravity have a long and distinguished history dating back to the earliest years of general relativity. In this review article we will discuss the history, aims, results, and future prospects for the various analogue models. We start the discussion by presenting a particularly simple example of an analogue model, before exploring the rich history and complex tapestry of models discussed in the literature. The last decade in particular has seen a remarkable and sustained development of analogue gravity ideas, leading to some hundreds of published articles, a workshop, two books, and this review article. Future prospects for the analogue gravity programme also look promising, both on the experimental front (where technology is rapidly advancing) and on the theoretical front (where variants of analogue models can be used as a springboard for radical attacks on the problem of quantum gravity).

The Thermodynamics of Black Holes

Living Rev. Rel., 4, (2001), 6.

[arXiv:gr-qc/9912119]

We review the present status of black hole thermodynamics. Our review includes discussion of classical black hole thermodynamics, Hawking radiation from black holes, the generalized second law, and the issue of entropy bounds. A brief survey also is given of approaches to the calculation of black hole entropy. We conclude with a discussion of some unresolved open issues.

Gravitational lensing in astronomy

Living Rev. Rel., 1, (1998), 12.

[arXiv:astro-ph/9812021]

Deflection of light by gravity was predicted by General Relativity and observationaly confirmed in 1919. In the following decades various aspects of the gravitational lens effect were explored theoretically, among them the possibility of multiple or ring-like images of background sources, the use of lensing as a gravitational telescope on very faint and distant objects, and the possibility to determine Hubble's constant with lensing. Only relatively recently gravitational lensing became an observational science after the discovery of the first doubly imaged quasar in 1979. Today lensing is a booming part of astrophysics. In addition to multiply-imaged quasars, a number of other aspects of lensing have been discovered since, e.g. giant luminous arcs, quasar microlensing, Einstein rings, galactic microlensing events, arclets, or weak gravitational lensing. By now literally hundreds of individual gravitational lens phenomena are known. Although still in its childhood, lensing has established itself as a very useful astrophysical tool with some remarkable successes. It has contributed significant new results in areas as different as the cosmological distance scale, the large scale matter distribution in the universe, mass and mass distribution of galaxy clusters, physics of quasars, dark matter in galaxy halos, or galaxy structure.

The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 4.

[arXiv:1403.7377]

The status of experimental tests of general relativity and of theoretical frameworks for analyzing them are reviewed and updated. Einstein's equivalence principle (EEP) is well supported by experiments such as the Eotvos experiment, tests of local Lorentz invariance and clock experiments. Ongoing tests of EEP and of the inverse square law are searching for new interactions arising from unification or quantum gravity. Tests of general relativity at the post-Newtonian level have reached high precision, including the light deflection, the Shapiro time delay, the perihelion advance of Mercury, the Nordtvedt effect in lunar motion, and frame-dragging. Gravitational-wave damping has been detected in an amount that agrees with general relativity to better than half a percent using the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar, and a growing family of other binary pulsar systems is yielding new tests, especially of strong-field effects. Current and future tests of relativity will center on strong gravity and gravitational waves.

Characteristic Evolution and Matching

Living Rev. Rel., 15, (2012), 2.

characteristic initial-value problem. Progress in characteristic evolution is traced from the early stage of 1D feasibility studies to 2D-axisymmetric codes that accurately simulate the oscillations and gravitational collapse of relativistic stars and to current 3D codes that provide pieces of a binary black-hole spacetime. Cauchy codes have now been successful at simulating all aspects of the binary black-hole problem inside an artificially constructed outer boundary. A prime application of characteristic evolution is to extend such simulations to null infinity where the waveform from the binary inspiral and merger can be unambiguously computed. This has now been accomplished by Cauchy-characteristic extraction, where data for the characteristic evolution is supplied by Cauchy data on an extraction worldtube inside the artificial outer boundary. The ultimate application of characteristic evolution is to eliminate the role of this outer boundary by constructing a global solution via Cauchy-characteristic matching. Progress in this direction is discussed.

Gravitational Wave Tests of General Relativity with Ground-Based Detectors and Pulsar Timing Arrays

Living Rev. Rel., 16, (2013), 9.

[arXiv:1304.3473]

This review is focused on tests of Einstein's theory of General Relativity with gravitational waves that are detectable by ground-based interferometers and pulsar timing experiments. Einstein's theory has been greatly constrained in the quasi-linear, quasi-stationary regime, where gravity is weak and velocities are small. Gravitational waves will allow us to probe a complimentary, yet previously unexplored regime: the non-linear and dynamical strong-field regime. Such a regime is, for example, applicable to compact binaries coalescing, where characteristic velocities can reach fifty percent the speed of light and compactnesses can reach a half. This review begins with the theoretical basis and the predicted gravitational wave observables of modified gravity theories. The review continues with a brief description of the detectors, including both gravitational wave interferometers and pulsar timing arrays, leading to a discussion of the data analysis formalism that is applicable for such tests. The review ends with a discussion of gravitational wave tests for compact binary systems.

The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems

Living Rev. Rel., 17, (2014), 3.

[arXiv:1403.4754]

We review the formation and evolution of compact binary stars consisting of white dwarfs (WDs), neutron stars (NSs), and black holes (BHs). Mergings of compact binary stars are expected to be the most important sources for the forthcoming gravitational-wave (GW) astronomy. In the first part of the review, we discuss observational manifestations of close binary stars with NS and/or black components and their merger rate, crucial points in the formation and evolution of compact stars in binary systems, including the treatment of the natal kicks which NSs and BHs acquire during the core collapse of massive stars and the common envelope phase of binary evolution, which are most relevant to the merging rates of NS-NS, NS-BH and BH-BH binaries. The second part of the review is devoted mainly to formation and evolution of binary WDs and their observational manifestations, including their role as progenitors of cosmologically important thermonuclear SN Ia. We also consider AM CVn-stars which are thought to be the best verification binary GW sources for future low-frequency GW space interferometers.

Lectures on AdS Black Holes, Holography and Localization

Living Rev. Rel., 23, (2020), 2.

[arXiv:1902.07176]

In these lectures I review some recent progresses in counting the number of microstates of AdS supersymmetric black holes in dimensions equal or greater than four using holography. The counting is obtained by applying localization and matrix model techniques to the dual field theory. I cover in details the case of dyonic AdS$_4$ black holes, corresponding to a twisted compactification of the dual field theory, and I discuss the state of the art for rotating AdS$_5$ black holes.