4
votes
2answers
151 views

Metric tensor in special and general relativity

I'm having trouble understanding the metric tensor in general relativity. What I've understood so far has come from my course lecture notes used in conjunction with "The Road to Reality" by Roger ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the space-time interval squared?

The space-time interval equation is this: $$\Delta s^2=\Delta x^2+\Delta y^2+\Delta z^2-(c\Delta t)^2$$ Where, $\Delta x, \Delta y, \Delta z$ and $\Delta t$ represent the distances along various ...
14
votes
2answers
367 views

Why isn't general relativity the obvious thing to try after special relativity?

To preface my question, I ask this as a mathematics student, so I don't have a very good sense of how physicists think. Here is the historical context I'm imagining (in particular taking into account ...
7
votes
3answers
906 views

Maxwell's Equations using Differential Forms

Maxwell's Equations written with usual vector calculus are $$\nabla \cdot E=\rho/\epsilon_0 \qquad \nabla \cdot B=0$$ $$\nabla\times E=-\dfrac{\partial B}{\partial t} \qquad\nabla\times ...
3
votes
2answers
344 views

Orthochronous Lorentz transformations are time-preserving and $SL(2,\mathbb{R})$

Let's consider the psuedosphere/hyperboloid in $\mathbb{R}^{1,2}$ given by $$x^2+y^2-z^2=-R^2.$$ We know that the Lorentz group $$O(1,2)=\{ A \in Mat(3,\mathbb{R}): A^tGA=G \},$$ where ...
1
vote
1answer
128 views

Where to read about Minkowski space [duplicate]

When I learned Special Relativity, it was taught in terms of basic linear algebra, without any mention of the Minkowski space, proper time as integration on the metric, etc. However, when I am trying ...
3
votes
2answers
449 views

Metric coefficients in rotating coordinates

Let $(t,x,y,z)$ be the standard coordinates on $\mathbb{R}^4$ and consider the Minkowski metric $$ds^2 = -dt^2+dx^2+dy^2+dz^2.$$ I am trying to compute the metric coefficients under the change of ...
5
votes
1answer
622 views

Is 4-volume element a scalar or a pseudoscalar in special relativity?

In general relativity 4-volume element $\mathrm{d}^4 x = \mathrm{d} x^0\mathrm{d} x^1 \mathrm{d} x^2\mathrm{d} x^3$ is clearly a pseudoscalar (or scalar density) of weight 1 since it transforms as ...
3
votes
3answers
294 views

How to connect Einstein's Special Relativity(SR) with General Relativity(GR)?

How Einstein's SR becomes GR? $$ds^2=dr^2-c^2dt^2,$$ $$ds^2=g_{\mu\nu}dx^{\mu}dx^{\nu}.$$ When the $s$ is constant $ds^2=0$, isn't it true? How to connect Einstein's SR with GR? What is the ...
4
votes
1answer
425 views

How does (or can) SR/GR extend to phase space or symplectic manifolds?

I'm asking this question because of an article in New Scientist about a recent preprint by a group including Lee Smolin. I haven't taken the time to comprehend the paper completely. My knowledge of ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What does a frame of reference mean in terms of manifolds?

Because of my mathematical background, I've been finding it hard to relate the physics-talk I've been reading, with mathematical objects. In (say special) relativity, we have a Lorentzian manifold, ...
4
votes
1answer
273 views

Relativistic space-time geometry

What subject (suggest book titles, etc.) should I study to get a clear grasping of hypersurfaces, 2-surfaces, and integration on them, mostly in special relativity (I'm not messing with general ...