Use this for questions pertaining to curvature of manifolds. Does not need to be specific to general relativity, but also for curvature of e.g. a [tag:calabi-yau] manifold.

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How exactly does curved space-time describe the force of gravity?

I understand that people explain (in layman's terms at least) that the presence of mass "warps" space-time geometry, and this causes gravity. I have also of course heard the analogy of a blanket or ...
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5answers
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Does the curvature of spacetime theory assume gravity?

Whenever I read about the curvature of spacetime as an explanation for gravity, I see pictures of a sheet (spacetime) with various masses indenting the sheet to form "gravity wells." Objects which are ...
5
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4answers
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Does a moving object curve space-time as its velocity increases?

We always hear how gravity bends space-time; why shouldn't velocity? Consider a spaceship traveling through space at a reasonable fraction of the speed of light. If this spaceship, according to ...
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5answers
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How does “curved space” explain gravitational attraction? [duplicate]

They say that gravity is technically not a real force and that it's caused by objects traveling a straight path through curved space, and that space becomes curved by mass, giving the illusion of a ...
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3answers
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Why is spacetime curved by mass but not charge?

It is written everywhere that gravity is curvature of spacetime caused by the mass of the objects or something to the same effect. This raises a question with me: why isn't spacetime curved due to ...
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5answers
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Why would spacetime curvature cause gravity?

It is fine to say that for an object flying past a massive object, the spacetime is curved by the massive object, and so the object flying past follows the curved path of the geodesic, so it "appears" ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Is spacetime flat inside a spherical shell?

In a perfectly symmetrical spherical hollow shell, there is a null net gravitational force according to Newton, since in his theory the force is exactly inversely proportional to the square of the ...
8
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5answers
4k views

How to measure the curvature of the space-time?

I know G.R. change our vision of space and time as a unique surface than can bend. We can associate the curvature of the space-time as the gravity created by the mass of planets, stars... But how can ...
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7answers
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Surely space-time Curvature does not explain gravity, it just describe its effects?

In special relativity co-moving objects see the other's 4-velocity as being only temporal. When they move relative to each other they see the other's 4-velocity has rotated so that it points less in ...
5
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2answers
503 views

Better explanation of the common general relativity illustration (stretched sheet of fabric)

I've seen many science popularisation documentaries and read few books (obviously not being scientist myself). I am able to process and understand basic ideas behind most of these. However for general ...
4
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3answers
605 views

Clarifying what metric counts as flat space

In (2D) Cartesian coordinates, the Euclidean metric... $$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}$$ ...is flat space. If the diagonal elements are exchanged for other real numbers ...
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1answer
690 views

How much extra distance to an event horizon?

How much extra distance would I have to travel through space to get from Earth to a stellar mass event horizon? (compared to the same point in space without a black hole)
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8answers
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Physical meaning of non-trivial solutions of vacuum Einstein's field equations

According to Einstein, the space-time is curved and the origin of the curvature is the presence of matter i.e. the presence of the energy-momentum tensor $T_{ab}$ in Einstein's field equations. If our ...
31
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4answers
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What is the physical meaning of the connection and the curvature tensor?

Regarding general relativity: What is the physical meaning of the Christoffel symbol ($\Gamma^i_{\ jk}$)? What are the (preferably physical) differences between the Riemann curvature tensor ($R^i_{\ ...
29
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7answers
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Laplace operator's interpretation

What is your interpretation of Laplace operator? When evaluating Laplacian of some scalar field at a given point one can get a value. What does this value tell us about the field or it's behaviour in ...
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2answers
1k views

Why does dark energy produce positive space-time curvature?

My understanding is that dark energy, or equivalently a positive cosmological constant, is accelerating the expansion of the universe and I have read that this gives empty space-time positive ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Visualizing gravity in 3D

We've all seen the depiction of gravity bending space downwards, and so attracting objects into the dent it creates, cf. e.g. this and this Phys.SE posts. That's intuitive and makes a lot of sense, ...
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5answers
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Naive visualization of space-time curvature

With only a limited knowledge of general relativity, I usually explain space-time curvature (to myself and others) thus: "If you throw a ball, it will move along a parabola. Initially its vertical ...
4
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2answers
262 views

5D Ricci Curvature

As part of a hw problem for a class, we're supposed to be deriving the equivalence given in equation 2.3 of this paper http://arxiv.org/abs/1107.5563. I was wondering if there is some special ...
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2answers
3k views

What does it mean for objects to follow the curvature of space?

In science documentaries that touch on general relativity, it is often said that gravitational pull isn't an actual a pull (as described by classical physics), but rather one body travelling in a ...
3
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2answers
305 views

The meaning of potential in Bohm-Aharonov experiment

The Bohm-Aharonov experiment involves a magnetic field inside a cylinder which is zero outside that cylinder. Nonetheless it affects the electrons moving outside the cylinder. The explanation for this ...
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1answer
250 views

Has a metric formulation of electromagnetism ever been attempted? [duplicate]

I understand that electromagnetic fields carry energy, and this energy curves spacetime gravitationally. That's not my question. I'm asking if anyone has tried to formulate electromagnetism in such ...
5
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5answers
1k views

How does the curvature of spacetime induce gravitational attraction?

I don't know how to ask this more clearly than in the title.
4
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4answers
5k views

How energy curves spacetime?

We know through General Relativity (GR) that matter curves spacetime (ST) like a "ball curves a trampoline" but then how energy curves spacetime? Is it just like matter curvature of ST?
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4answers
4k views

Why does a flat universe imply an infinite universe?

This article claims that because the universe appears to be flat, it must be infinite. I've heard this idea mentioned in a few other places, but they never explain the reasoning at all.
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6answers
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Gravitation is not force?

Einstein said that gravity can be looked at as curvature in space- time and not as a force that is acting between bodies. (Actually what Einstein said was that gravity was curvature in space-time and ...
4
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1answer
417 views

Computing Curvature via Cartan Formalism

Given a metric $g_{\mu \nu}$, one can select an orthonormal basis $\omega^{\hat{a}}$ such that, $$ds^2= \omega^{\hat{t}}\otimes\omega^{\hat{t}} - \omega^{\hat{x}} \otimes \omega^{\hat{x}} - ...$$ By ...
5
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3answers
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How/why can the cosmic background radiation measurements tell us anything about the curvature of the universe?

So I've read the Wikipedia articles on WMAP and CMB in an attempt to try to understand how scientists are able to deduce the curvature of the universe from the measurements of the CMB. The Wiki ...
3
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3answers
323 views

How does warped space actually look (visually)?

Recently, I was reading about space warping due to extreme gravity and at speeds approaching c, but in books, they always show space in 2D and depth to show space distortion. I was wondering how ...
2
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2answers
230 views

What is the curvature of the universe?

What is currently the most plausible model of the universe regarding curvature, positive, negative or flat? (I'm sorry if the answer is already out there, but I just can't seem to find it...)
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2answers
3k views

If the universe is 3D, how is space-time like a “fabric”? [duplicate]

I have been taught that space-time should be viewed as a fabric and that objects with a large gravitational influence indent that fabric. My question is, if the singularity of a black-hole punctures ...
4
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2answers
267 views

How is the shape of the universe measured by scientists?

I would like to learn how scientists go about measuring the large-scale curvature of the universe to determine if the universe is closed 'i.e. spherical', flat, or open 'i.e. saddle shaped'. My ...
3
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2answers
272 views

Is the popular explanation given for gravity in General Relativity misleading? [duplicate]

In most popular explanations of General Relativity, both in print and film/television, gravity is demonstrated using an example of a 2 dimensional plane being flat, then when putting a heavy object in ...
2
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2answers
210 views

What are the factors affecting the spacetime curvature?

Large masses in space as stars and planets cause a curvature in the spacetime fabric. What are the factors that affect this curvature? Is it only mass? And can we conclude these factors using Tensors?
13
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1answer
576 views

What are the local covariant tensors one can form from the metric?

Normally in differential geometry, we assume that the only way to produce a tensorial quantity by differentiation is to (1) start with a tensor, and then (2) apply a covariant derivative (not a plain ...
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3answers
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Calculating the Riemann tensor for a 3-Sphere

I have worked out all the connection symbols for the 3-sphere using calculus of variations, cf. this Phys.SE post. So to find the Riemann tensor I am trying to find all the nonzero components of: \...
4
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4answers
253 views

What makes a coordinate curved?

Bear with me while I try to explain exactly what the question is. The question Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration? is imagining a coordinate system in which the curvature is ...
3
votes
2answers
315 views

Curved space-time VS change of coordinates in Minkowski space

I'm looking for a rather intuitive explanation (or some references) of the difference between the metric of a curved space-time and the metric of non-inertial frames. Consider an inertial reference ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Ricci scalar for a diagonal metric tensor

I was wondering if there is a general formula for calculating Ricci scalar for any diagonal $n\times n$ metric tensor?
2
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1answer
133 views

Is every solution of Einstein field equations unique?

Einstein's equation is $$8 \pi T_{ab} = G_{ab},$$ where the left side contains the stress-energy tensor and the right side contains the Einstein tensor. Is there exactly one unique stress-energy ...
2
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2answers
401 views

Curvature gravity and a falling apple? [duplicate]

I know very little of physics after Einstein. I am aware of that Einstein's gravity theory says that the existence of matters creates curvature of a space-time, so that our Earth orbits our Sun. I ...
12
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3answers
1k views

How does gravity truly work? [duplicate]

I Am only 12 years old and I'm constantly wondering and trying understand how gravity really works. On YouTube everyone always talks about objects wrapping space time around themselves and uses the ...
3
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2answers
241 views

Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration?

I realize that the curvature of space-time causes acceleration (gravity). Is it possible to have a curvature only of space, or a curvature only of time? If so, would a curvature only of space, or a ...
3
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1answer
69 views

Spacial curvature and expanding space

If we take the analogy that in an empty space the space is just a flat sheet then if there is a single planet or a star then the flat sheet will curve below the planet leaving a curvature shaped like ...
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2answers
89 views

objects distorted by the earths curvature

We are doing a project where we hope to make people think about the fact that the earth is round. We want to imagine if we in London could see others places in the world and how the earths curvature ...
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3answers
242 views

Is the universe flat?

There are more than one way to view the description of the universe as flat. There is the description of an open, flat or closed universe in terms of it's fate, expansion forever away from gravity, or ...
14
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3answers
423 views

Is the flatness of space a measure of entropy?

This is a bit quirky: For a very long time I've found Stephen Hawking's evaporating small black holes a lot more reasonable and intuitive than large black holes. The main reason is that gravity is ...
10
votes
3answers
722 views

Why do the Einstein field equations (EFE) involve the Ricci curvature tensor instead of Riemann curvature tensor?

I am just starting to learn general relativity. I don't understand why we use the Ricci curvature tensor. I thought the Riemann curvature tensor contains "more information" about the curvature. Why is ...
8
votes
4answers
908 views

How do you tell if a metric is curved?

I was reading up on the Kerr metric (from Sean Carroll's book) and something that he said confused me. To start with, the Kerr metric is pretty messy, but importantly, it contains two constants - $M$...
6
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4answers
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The Sun as a gravitational lens

Since the Sun is a gravitational lens with as focal length of 550 AU for visible light, with an immense amplification factor, shouldn't it light up objects hanging out there? We should get solar ...