Mathematical discipline which uses the techniques of calculus to study geometric problems. General relativity is written in this language.

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994 views

Covariant and contravariant vectors

Reading Weinberg's Gravitation and Cosmology, I came across the sentence (p.115, above equation (4.11.8)) The partial derivative operator $\partial/\partial x^\mu$ is a covariant vector, or in ...
4
votes
2answers
545 views

Local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates

It is said that we can introduce local inertial coordinates/Fermi normal coordinates for any timelike geodesic. But why only for timelike geodesics? What about null geodesics? Perhaps it has to do ...
6
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1answer
1k 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 $\...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

From Euler-Lagrange equation to non affine geodesic equation

I have some problems to demonstrate the non affine geodesic equation from Euler-Lagrange's equations. I start defining the Lagrangian $L=\sqrt f$, but then I'm not able to find the Christoffel symbol'...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Can the vanishing of the Riemann tensor be determined from causal relations?

Given a Lorentzian manifold and metric tensor, "$( M, g )$", the corresponding causal relations between its elements (events) may be derived; i.e. for every pair (in general) of distinct events in set ...
1
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1answer
732 views

How to calculate spatial distance in space-time?

Pinning two test particles at two different points in space, how can I calculate their spatial distance, when the geometry is given by the Schwarzschild metric? Let's say particle 1 is pinned at $r=R$...
54
votes
2answers
4k views

Intuitively, why are bundles so important in Physics?

I've seem the notion of bundles, fiber bundles, connections on bundles and so on being used in many different places on Physics. Now, in mathematics a bundle is introduced to generalize the ...
21
votes
1answer
394 views

What, to a physicist, are instantons and the Donaldson invariants?

I study gauge theory from a mathematical perspective. To me, one of the most fundamental ideas is the notion of an instanton on a 4-manifold. To be precise, I have a Riemannian 4-manifold and a ...
13
votes
4answers
360 views

Difference between matrix representations of tensors and $\delta^{i}_{j}$ and $\delta_{ij}$?

My question basically is, is Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ or $\delta^{i}_{j}$. Many tensor calculus books (including the one which I use) state it to be the latter, whereas I have also read many ...
11
votes
1answer
348 views

Relation between cohomology and the BRST operator

Given a manifold $M$, we may define the $p$th de Rham cohomology group $H^p(M)$ as the quotient, $$C^p(M) \, / \, Z^p(M)$$ where $C^p$ and $Z^p$ are the groups of closed and exact $p$-forms ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a dual / cotangent space?

Dual spaces are home to bras in quantum mechanics; cotangent spaces are home to linear maps in the tensor formalism of general relativity. After taking courses in these two subjects, I've still never ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

The Spin Connection

Why do we need to introduce the spin connection coefficients $\omega_{\mu \space \space b}^{\space \space a} $ in General Relativity? To me, they just look (mathematically) like the Christoffel ...
13
votes
1answer
792 views

What's the physical intuition for symplectic structures?

I always thought about symplectic forms as elements of areas in little subspaces because of the Darboux theorem, however I cannot get the physical intuition for it and for the hamiltonian vector field....
12
votes
3answers
535 views

What kind of manifold can be the phase space of a Hamiltonian system?

Of course it should have dimension $2n$. But any more conditions? For example, can a genus-2 surface be the phase space of a Hamiltonian system?
9
votes
6answers
1k views

In coordinate-free relativity, how do we define a vector?

Relativity can be developed without coordinates: Laurent 1994 (SR), Winitzski 2007 (GR). I would normally define a vector by its transformation properties: it's something whose components change ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Can a non-Euclidean space be descripted through an Euclidean space of higher dimension? So why use non-Euclidean?

If you draw a big triangle in Earth 2D surface you will have an approximated spherical triangle, this will be a non euclidean geometry. but from a 3D perspective, for example the same triangle from ...
8
votes
1answer
501 views

What kind of object is the Landau--Lifshitz pseudotensor?

I understand that it's called a pseudotensor because it's not a tensor. Wikipedia says most pseudotensors are sections of jet bundles, which are perfectly valid objects in GR. (http://en....
7
votes
1answer
303 views

E&M and geometry - a historical perspective

Recently, I was contemplating the beautiful formulation of electromagnetism (specifically Maxwell's equations) in terms of differential forms: $$F=\mathrm{d} A\implies \mathrm{d}F=0 \hspace{1cm}\text{...
3
votes
1answer
312 views

Susy QM and Atiyah-Singer index theorem

Consider maps $t\mapsto x^i(t)$ from circle to some Riemannian (spin) manifold and lagrangian $$ \mathcal L = \frac12 g_{ij}(x) \partial_t x^i \partial_t x^j + \frac12 g_{ij} \psi^j \left(\delta^i_k \...
3
votes
2answers
358 views

Covariant derivative applied to a vector vs. applied to a matrix?

I know there are (say) two different definitions/representations of the covariant derivative: one is the covariant derivative applied to a vector $F$, which reads as $$DF=\partial F+iAF$$ (...
13
votes
4answers
413 views

Discontinuities and nondifferentiability in thermodynamics

In physics and engineering sources, calculus-based formalisms - whether differential forms on a manifold, or "differentials" of functions of several variables - are presented as a way of modeling and ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

AdS Space Boundary and Geodesics

I'm new to working with AdS space and am primarily concerned with black holes. I'm just playing round with the metric for AdS$_4$ $$ds^2=-f(r)dt^2+f^{-1}(r)dr^2+r^2d\zeta^2$$ for $f(r)=r^2+m $, $\...
10
votes
4answers
992 views

Can a metric in General Relativity, Supergravity, String Theory, etc., be asymmetric?

Why is it that all problems I encountered until now have metrics that when represented in a matrix form turn out to be symmetric? Aren't there asymmetric matrices representing some metrics?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Equation of motion of a photon in a given metric

I have this metric: $$ds^2=-dt^2+e^tdx^2$$ and I want to find the equation of motion (of x). for that i thought I have two options: using E.L. with the Lagrangian: $L=-\dot t ^2+e^t\dot x ^2 $. ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Killing vector fields

I am facing some problems in understanding what is the importance of a Killing vector field? I will be grateful if anybody provides an answer, or, refer me to some review or books.
7
votes
2answers
693 views

Vector Potential for Magnetic field when the field is not in simply-connected region

According to Poincare's Lemma, if $U\subset \mathbb{R}^n$ is a star-shaped set and if $\omega$ is a $k$-form defined in $U$ that is closed, then $\omega$ is exact, meaning that there's some $(k-1)$-...
7
votes
2answers
921 views

Parallel Transport of a 4-vector

Why does the parallel transported $4$-vector change from $X^a(x)$ to $X^a(x) + \bar{\delta}X^a(x)$ ? This is also discussed in D'Inverno's relativity book [page - 72]; but the reason is not clear.
4
votes
1answer
289 views

Geometric mechanics - Symplecticity

I am just trying to wade through literature on classical mechanics and I really don't know where to start, everything is Fibre bundle this or manifold that, and doesn't really ease you in to the topic....
3
votes
1answer
457 views

Correct tetrad index notation

There seems to be some different conventions on the indexes of the tetrad. I am wondering which is the standard, which is correct, and which is an abuse of notation. In Sean Carroll's notes and in ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

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: \...
10
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
424 views

Contracting Indices

Does anyone know how to get from (1) to (2) in the system $$ \begin{align} \mathrm{g}^{\mu\nu}_{,\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\sigma\nu}{{\Gamma}}^{\mu}_{\sigma\rho}+ \mathrm{g}^{\mu\sigma}{{\...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Extent of coordinate freedom to set metric components along a spacetime path

If we describe spacetime with a Lorentzian manifold, it is always possible to choose a coordinate system such that at any particular point $x^\alpha$, the components of the metric are: $$ g_{\mu\nu}(x^...
3
votes
4answers
649 views

Why does a bubble take a spherical shape?

I suspect this has something to do with thermodynamics and the isoperimetric inequality and I'm interested in a mathematical derivation of this result.
3
votes
1answer
306 views

Could the 6 extra dimensions in superstring theory be a product of two manifolds?

Could the 6 extra dimensions in superstring theory be a product of two manifolds?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Null geodesic given metric

I (desperately) need help with the following: What is the null geodesic for the space time $$ds^2=-x^2 dt^2 +dx^2?$$ I don't know how to transform a metric into a geodesic...! There is no need to ...
2
votes
3answers
607 views

How to visualize the gradient as a one-form?

I am reading Sean Carrol's book on General Relativity, and I just finished reading the proof that the gradient is a covariant vector or a one-form, but I am having a difficult time visualizing this. I ...
0
votes
3answers
380 views

Given the Wikipedia notion of “arc length”, how is its manifestly real “signed variant” to be called and denoted?

I am dissatisfied with the presentation (not to say "definition") of "arc length", in its "Generalization to (pseudo-)Riemannian manifolds", as given in Wikipedia. (Who isn't?. But I'll sketch it here ...
8
votes
2answers
936 views

Visualizing Ricci Tensor

By definition Ricci Tensor is a Tensor formed by contracting two indices of Riemann Tensor. Riemann Tensor can be visualized in terms of a curve, a vector is moving and orientation of the initial and ...
5
votes
2answers
299 views

Momentum is a cotangent vector?

Imagine we have a particle described by $x \in M$, where $M$ is some manifold, then it is very intuitive I think that a velocity is an element of the tangent space at $x$, so $x' \in T_{x}M.$ Thus, by ...
4
votes
4answers
254 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

Can Minkowski spacetime be redefined as a non-flat riemannian manifold?

Minkowski space time is defined in terms of a flat pseudo-Riemannian manifold. I have wondered if it can be redefined as Riamannian manifold and in the case what type of curvature would there appear. ...
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
votes
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?
1
vote
0answers
74 views

What is the null geodesic equation? [duplicate]

What is null geodesic equation for the static and spherically symmetric line element in $$ds^{2}=-K^{2}dt^{2}+\frac{dr^{2}}{K^{2}}+r^{2}(d\theta^{2}+\sin^{2}\theta{d\phi^{2}})$$ where $$K^{2}=1-\...
4
votes
2answers
325 views

Dimensions of strings in string theory

In the above image taken from wikipedia, at the string level the strings have been shown as some loops, the article in wikipedia says that in string theory the particles at lower level are broken down ...
4
votes
1answer
307 views

What's the difference between the diffeomorphism invariance and reparametrization invariance?

Can somebody tell me what's the difference between the diffeomorphism invariance and reparametrization invariance?
4
votes
2answers
146 views

Why is the covariant derivative of the determinant of the metric zero?

This question, metric determinant and its partial and covariant derivative, seems to indicate $$\nabla_a \sqrt{g}=0.$$ Why is this the case? I've always learned that $$\nabla_a f= \partial_a f,$$ ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Fermi-Propagated Jacobi equation in the book The Large scale structure of space-time

On page 81, equation (4.6), the author use the Fermi derivative to write the Jacobi equation \begin{equation} \tag{4.6} \frac{{D^2}_\text{F}}{\partial s^2} {}_{\bot}Z^a = -{R^a}_{bcd}{}_{\bot}Z^cV^bV^...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

What is the metric tensor for?

I am wondering how to use the metric tensor, in practice? I read the book and done the exercises in A student's guide to vectors and tensors by Dan Fleisch. The concept of a tensor and their ...