Testing General Relativity with Cosmological Observations
General Relativity (GR) is immensely successful. With the late discovery of gravitational waves from black hole and neutron star mergers, it has passed all the tests with flying colors. But so far, all observations have mainly tested the vacuum equations of GR. The most important non-vacuum case, cosmology, is in agreement with GR only after the introduction of two otherwise unknown components, 'Dark Matter' and 'Dark Energy' which amount to about 96% of the total energy budget of the present Universe. This let people in the field question the validity of GR for cosmology. Might it be that GR is flawed on large, cosmological scales? Or in the presence of matter in general?
But how can we test Einstein's equation in the presence of matter. Can't we simply move any modification of the Einstein tensor to the right hand side and call it a 'dark matter/energy' component?
In my talk I shall discuss possible ways (partially) out of this dilemma. How to test both, the left and the right hand side of Einstein's equations with cosmological observations.
The Colloquium Ehrenfestii takes place Wednesday evenings starting at 19:30 hours in the main auditorium of the Oort building. Before the Colloquium, there is a common dinner in the canteen located on the ground floor of the Oort building. This dinner starts at 18:00 hours sharp and is free of charge, under the condition that one attends the colloquium and that one has made a reservation before noon on the Tuesday preceding the colloquium.