Turning on gravity with the Higgs mechanism
We investigate how a Higgs mechanism could be responsible for the emergence of gravity in extensions of Einstein theory, with a suitable low energy limit. In this scenario, at high energies, symmetry restoration could "turn off" gravity, with dramatic implications for cosmology and quantum gravity. The sense in which gravity is muted depends on the details of the implementation. In the most extreme case gravity's dynamical degrees of freedom would only be unleashed after the Higgs field acquires a non-trivial vacuum expectation value, with gravity reduced to a topological field theory in the symmetric phase. We might also identify the Higgs and the Brans- Dicke fields in such a way that in the unbroken phase Newton's constant vanishes, decoupling matter and gravity. We discuss the broad implications of these scenarios.