An Environmental Variation of Constants

Models of modified gravity, whereby local tests of gravity are evaded thanks to a screening mechanism of the chameleon or Damour-Polyakov types, lead to a spatial variation of the particle masses and the fine structure constant. This is triggered by the environmental dependence of the value of the scalar field whose presence modifies gravity. In dense media, the field settles at a density dependent value while in sparse environments it takes the background cosmological value. We estimate that the maximal deviation of constants from their present values is constrained by local tests of gravity, and must be less than $10^{-6}$.

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Date added: Thu, 10 Oct 13