Project A3
LHC and gravity

LHC and Gravity

Astrophysical observations and explanatory gaps in the standard model of particle physics imply the existence of dark matter and/or a modification of our theory of gravity, space and time. A decision between the dark matter (DM) and modified gravity (MG) approaches is hampered by problems of underdetermination at different levels and of different kinds. In order to specify these problems, we analyse in detail the landscape of dark matter and modified gravity models, and the interplay between research in particle physics, astrophysics, and gravity. The plethora of DL and MG approaches, and the corresponding underdetermination, even in the light of the vast amount of relevant collider-based and astrophysical observations, clearly illustrates the complexity of this scientific problem. On the other hand, the overlap of the collider and astrophysical domains may allow for a reduction of the underdetermination, thus leading to a simplification of the model landscape. Our focus will be on dark matter models that can be probed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the connection between LHC results and theories of gravity. We address the question of different kinds of underdetermination, both in choosing between the two research programs of dark matter and modified gravity, and also in choosing between different models within each program. In particular, we shall provide an assessment of the explanatory power and the explanatory gaps of the dark matter and modified gravity hypotheses, and of the tenability of a strict conceptual distinction between dark matter and modified gravity in the first place. This latter assessment continues one of the main results of the first phase of this project, during which we focused on several specific models that call such a distinction into question.


A 3-day conference on Dark Matter & Modified Gravity took place from 6 to 8 February 2019 at RWTH Aachen.  More information can be found here, here and here. An online mini-workshop will be organised in the spring of 2021. Another conference will be organised in Bonn in 2021-2022. Currently, the project team is editing a special issue on dark matter & modified gravity; contributed papers will be distributed across Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. Once a new paper is accepted for the special issue, it can be found onthis virtual special issue webpage.


Deutsche Version


Principal Investigators:
Dennis Lehmkuhl
Michael Krämer


Principal Collaborator:
Erhard Scholz


Doctoral Researcher:
Sophia Haude


Previous member:
Miguel Ángel Carretero Sahuquillo 

Niels Martens


Relevant Publications:



Core publications:


Martens, N.C.M. (2022), Dark Matter Realism, Foundations of Physics 52(1): 16  Winning Essay of the New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology Essay Competition.  


Martens, N.C.M., Carretero Sahuquillo, M.Á., Scholz, E., Lehmkuhl, D. & Krämer, M. (eds.) (forthcoming), Special Issue on Dark Matter & Modified Gravity, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Editorial: Integrating Dark Matter, Modified Gravity, and the Humanities, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science


Martens, N.C.M., & Lehmkuhl, D. (2020a), Dark Matter = Modified Gravity? Scrutinising the spacetime–matter distinction through the modified gravity/ dark matter lensStudies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:237-250  


Martens, N.C.M., & Lehmkuhl, D. (2020b), Cartography of the space of theories: an interpretational chart for fields that are both (dark) matter and spacetime, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:217-236

Scholz, E. (2020). A scalar field inducing a non-metrical contribution to gravitational acceleration and a compatible add-on to light deflection. General Relativity and Gravity 52, 46.  


Other relevant publications:


Lehmkuhl, D., Schiemann, G. & Scholz, E. (2017). Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories, Einstein Studies, Volume 13, Birkhäuser/Springer.


Krämer, M. et al. (2016). A comprehensive approach to dark matter studies: exploration of simplified top-philic models, JHEP 1611:111.


Krämer, M. et al. (2017a). Novel Dark Matter Constraints from Antiprotons in Light of AMS-02, Phys. Rev.Lett. 118(19), 191102.

Krämer, M. et al. (2017b). Probing dark matter annihilation in the Galaxy with antiprotons and gamma rays, JCAP 1710(10), 053.

Scholz, E. (2017). The unexpected resurgence of Weyl geometry in late 20th century physics. In: D. Rowe, T. Sauer and S. Walter (eds). Beyond Einstein. Perspectives on Geometry, Gravitation and Cosmology. Einstein Studies, Volume 14, Birkhäuser/Springer.