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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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 ...
26
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8answers
12k views

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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6answers
1k views

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 ...
10
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1answer
525 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 ...
23
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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3answers
237 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
203 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...)
4
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2answers
159 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 ...
20
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7answers
7k views

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 ...
13
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1answer
450 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 ...
4
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1answer
173 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 ...
3
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2answers
223 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 ...
7
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3answers
330 views

How can I vizualize and understand curved spaces in general relativity?

I'm taking a basic physics class and the teacher described space with a special table that has curves and black holes etc. He would throw a metal ball down onto it and the class would watch it circle ...
3
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1answer
43 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
1
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3answers
163 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 ...
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2answers
81 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? ...
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1answer
209 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)
58
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4answers
8k views

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" ...
27
votes
4answers
3k 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.
7
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4answers
348 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 - ...
6
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6answers
610 views

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 ...
5
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5answers
1k views

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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1answer
429 views

Lie derivative of Riemann tensor along killing vector ( = 0 )

I'm currently learning the mathematical framework for General Relativity, and I'm trying to prove that the Lie derivative of the Riemann curvature tensor is zero along a killing vector. With the ...
7
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1answer
316 views

Hodge star operator on curvature?

I've a question regarding the Hodge star operator. I'm completely new to the notion of exterior derivatives and wedge products. I had to teach it to myself over the past couple of days, so I hope my ...
7
votes
1answer
292 views

Maxwell's Equations in curved spacetime

I know that we can write Maxwell's equations in the covariant form, and this covariant form can be considered as a generalization of these equations in curved spacetime if we replace ordinary ...
5
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3answers
240 views

A thought experiment on vision and curved spacetime

What follows is a long self-made example to deal with my conceptual issues of visualizing curved spacetime. Imagine an observer floating somewhere in space. He feels no strain on his body, ...
5
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1answer
329 views

Source term of the Einstein field equation

My copy of Feynman's "Six Not-So-Easy Pieces" has an interesting introduction by Roger Penrose. In that introduction (copyright 1997 according to the copyright page), Penrose complains that Feynman's ...
5
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4answers
664 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
111 views

The relationship between spin and spinor curvature

The identity, $$ -\gamma^b{\mathcal{R}}_{ab} = {\mathcal{R}}_{ab}\gamma^b = \frac{1}{2}\gamma^b R_{ab}$$ is presented in the answer to the question Dirac Equation in General Relativity. How does ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

Does the curvature of space-time cause objects to look smaller than they really are?

What's the difference between looking at a star from a black hole and looking at it from empty space? My guess is that the curvature of space-time distorts the wavelength of light thus changing the ...
2
votes
2answers
405 views

Ricci tensor for a 3-sphere without Math packets

Let's have the metric for a 3-sphere: $$ dl^{2} = R^{2}\left(d\psi ^{2} + sin^{2}(\psi )(d \theta ^{2} + sin^{2}(\theta ) d \varphi^{2})\right). $$ I tried to calculate Riemann or Ricci tensor's ...
2
votes
1answer
574 views

Difference between $\partial$ and $\nabla$ in general relativity

I read a lot in Road to Reality, so I think I might use some general relativity terms where I should only special ones. In our lectures we just had $\partial_\mu$ which would have the plain partial ...
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3answers
873 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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2answers
245 views

Triple-right triangle experiment: what's the minimum distance?

Among the other ways, one way to prove the Earth is round is the triple-right triangle. The idea is simple: Starting from point A you move in a straight line for a certain distance. At point B, ...
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0answers
523 views

How to calculate Riemann and Ricci tensors for a sphere? [closed]

Let's have the metric for a sphere: $$ dl^{2} = R^{2}\left(d\psi ^{2} + sin^{2}(\psi )(d \theta ^{2} + sin^{2}(\theta ) d \varphi^{2})\right). $$ I tried to calculate Riemann or Ricci tensor's ...
1
vote
1answer
284 views

What is the curvature of an empty universe?

My calculations tell me an empty universe has hyperbolic curvature. Is this correct? If it is, can anyone help me understand why this is intuitively?
1
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1answer
208 views

Ricci scalars for space and spacetime, local and global curvature

If Ricci scalar describes the full spacetime curvature, then what do we mean by $k=0,+1,-1$ being flat, positive and negative curved space? Is $k$ special version of a constant "3d-Ricci" scalar? ...
0
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2answers
85 views

Changing the scalar curvature (k = 0,+1,-1) with coordinate transformations?

I would like to prove that I can (or can't) change curvature of space, k = 0,+1,-1, via general coordinate transformations, which in principle can mix space and time coordinates together.
0
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2answers
241 views

How can we model intrinsic curvature?

Can it only be done in Euclidean space? Doesn't Euclidean space only model extrinsic curvature?
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1answer
397 views

Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? [closed]

1) Why are we talking about space curvature as if we know what space is? Every question about gravity seems to evoke an answer involving "space curvature" which seems like an undefined placeholder ...