Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




James T. Wheeler


In 1920, Rudolf Bach proposed an action based on the square of the Weyl tensor or CabcdCabcd where the Weyl tensor is an invariant under a scaling of the metric. A variation of the metric leads to the field equation known as the Bach equation. In this dissertation, the same action is analyzed, but as a conformal gauge theory. It is shown that this action is a result of a particular gauging of this group. By treating it as a gauge theory, it is natural to vary all of the gauge fields independently, rather than performing the usual fourth-order metric variation only. We show that solutions of the resulting vacuum field equations are all solutions to the vacuum Einstein equation, up to a conformal factor—a result consistent with local scale freedom. We also show how solutions for the gauge fields imply there is no gravitational self energy.

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