The conformal status of o = -3/2 Brans-Dicke cosmology

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Abstract

Following recent fit of supernovae data to Brans-Dicke theory which favours the model with o = - 3/2 [1] we discuss the status of this special case of Brans-Dicke cosmology in both isotropic and anisotropic framework. It emerges that the limit o = -3/2 is consistent only with the vacuum field equations and it makes such a Brans-Dicke theory conformally invariant. Then it is an example of the conformal relativity theory which allows the invariance with respect to conformal transformations of the metric. Besides, Brans-Dicke theory with o = -3/2 gives a border between a standard scalar field model and a ghost/phantom model. In this paper we show that in o = -3/2 Brans-Dicke theory, i.e., in the conformal relativity there are no isotropic Friedmann solutions of non-zero spatial curvature except for k=-1 case. Further we show that this k=-1 case, after the conformal transformation into the Einstein frame, is just the Milne universe and, as such, it is equivalent to Minkowski spacetime. It generally means that only flat models are fully consistent with the field equations. On the other hand, it is shown explicitly that the anisotropic non-zero spatial curvature models of Kantowski-Sachs type are admissible in o = -3/2 Brans-Dicke theory. It then seems that an additional scale factor which appears in anisotropic models gives an extra deegre of freedom and makes it less restrictive than in an isotropic Friedmann case.

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