How higher-spin gravity surpasses the spin-two barrier

Xavier Bekaert, Nicolas Boulanger, Per A. Sundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Aiming at nonexperts, the key mechanisms of higher-spin extensions of ordinary gravities in four dimensions and higher are explained. An overview of various no-go theorems for low-energy scattering of massless particles in flat spacetime is given. In doing so, a connection between the S-matrix and the Lagrangian approaches is made, exhibiting their relative advantages and weaknesses, after which potential loopholes for nontrivial massless dynamics are highlighted. Positive yes-go results for non-Abelian cubic higher-derivative vertices in constantly curved backgrounds are reviewed. Finally, how higher-spin symmetry can be reconciled with the equivalence principle in the presence of a cosmological constant leading to the Fradkin-Vasiliev vertices and Vasiliev's higher-spin gravity with its double perturbative expansion (in terms of numbers of fields and derivatives) is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-1009
Number of pages23
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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