A theory that describes how matter interacts dynamically with the geometry of space and time. It was first published by Einstein in 1915 and is currently used to study the structure and evolution of the universe, as well as having practical applications like GPS.

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How does faster than light travel violate causality?

Let's say I have two planets that are one hundred thousand lightyears away from each other. I and my immortal friend on the other planet want to communicate, with a strong laser and a tachyon ...
27
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5answers
8k views

How does gravitational lensing account for Einstein's Cross?

Einstein's Cross has been attributed to gravitational lensing. However, most examples of gravitational lensing are crescents known as Einstein's rings. I can easily understand the rings and crescents, ...
22
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5answers
2k views

Does a charged particle accelerating in a gravitational field radiate?

A charged particle undergoing an acceleration radiates photons. Let's consider a charge in a freely falling frame of reference. In such a frame, the local gravitational field is necessarily zero, ...
19
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1answer
637 views

Building a wormhole

We regularly get questions about wormholes on this site. See for example Negative Energy and Wormholes and How would you connect a destination to a wormhole from your starting point to travel through ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Symmetrical twin paradox

Take the following gedankenexperiment in which two astronauts meet each other again and again in a perfectly symmetrical setting - a hyperspherical (3-manifold) universe in which the 3 dimensions are ...
6
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3answers
669 views

Why do clocks measure arc-length?

Apologies in advance for the long question. My understanding is that in GR, massive observers move along timelike curves $x^\mu(\lambda)$, and if an observer moves from point $x^\mu(\lambda_a)$ to ...
4
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2answers
939 views

How could spacetime become discretised at the Planck scale?

I didn't have much luck getting a response to this question before so I have tried to reword and expand it a little: In early 2010 I attended this inaugural lecture by string theorist- Prof. ...
6
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7answers
2k 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 ...
9
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2answers
973 views

Why is the stress-energy tensor symmetric?

The relativistic stress-energy tensor $T$ is important in both special and general relativity. Why is it symmetric, with $T_{\mu\nu}=T_{\nu\mu}$? As a secondary question, how does this relate to the ...
18
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1answer
574 views

Sympletic structure of General Relativity

Inspired by physics.SE: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/15571/does-the-dimensionality-of-phase-space-go-up-as-the-universe-expands/15613 It made me wonder about symplectic structures in ...
11
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2answers
440 views

Energy-Momentum Tensor in QFT vs. GR

What is the correspondence between the conserved canonical energy-momentum tensor, which is $$ T^{\mu\nu}_{can} := \sum_{i=1}^N\frac{\delta\mathcal{L}_{Matter}}{\delta(\partial_\mu f_i)}\partial^\nu ...
9
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2answers
598 views

Assuming that the Cosmological Principle is correct, does this imply that the universe possess an empirically privileged reference frame?

OK...before everyone blasts this with references to the relativistic invariance of the physical laws, time dilation, etc let me add some context. Also, I am an amateur with an interest in physics, so ...
8
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3answers
751 views

Geometric interpretation of Electromagnetism

For gravity, we have General Relativity, which is a geometric theory for gravitation. Is there a similar analog for Electromagnetism?
20
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4answers
3k views

What does this depiction of a black hole in the movie Interstellar mean?

I was expecting a whirlpool in 3D and the matter glowing from friction as it nears the center, as I expected a event horizon to be negligible visually. How does this depiction work? How big is the ...
4
votes
2answers
490 views

Black hole formation as seen by a distant observer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can anything ever fall into a black hole as seen from an outside observer? Is black hole formation observable for a distant observer in finite amount of time? ...
3
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5answers
3k views

Is the law of conservation of energy still valid?

Is the law of conservation of energy still valid or have there been experiments showing that energy could be created or lost?
12
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3answers
1k views

What happens when a black hole and an “anti-black-hole” collide?

Let's say we have one black hole that formed through the collapse of hydrogen gas and another that formed through the collapse of anti-hydrogen gas. What happens when they collide? Do they (1) ...
11
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2answers
2k views

What is the definition of a timelike and spacelike singularity?

What is the definition of a timelike and spacelike singularity? Trying to find, but haven't yet, what the definitions are.
4
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3answers
2k views

Value of the Hubble parameter over time

There is something I don't understand about the Hubble parameter $H$, as it seems to clump two concepts together that I can't quite unify in my head. On the one side, we have $$V = D H$$ which means ...
4
votes
2answers
729 views

Geodesics equations via variational principle

I would like to recover the (timelike) geodesics equations via the variational principle of the following action: $$ \mathcal{S}[x] = -m \int d\tau = -m \int \sqrt{-g_{\mu\nu}\,dx^{\mu}\,dx^{\nu}} $$ ...
2
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1answer
362 views

Equation for Hubble Value as a function of time

I am trying to write the equation for the situation where the Hubble parameter $H$ would be changing over time. In other words, it would represent an accelerated expansion of the Universe. That is, ...
7
votes
6answers
860 views

What prevents the accumulation of charge in a black hole?

What prevents a static black hole from accumulating more charge than its maximum? Is it just simple Coulomb repulsion? Is the answer the same for rotating black holes? Edit What I understand from ...
2
votes
1answer
623 views

spacetime expansion and universe expansion?

First of all, does the expansion of spacetime solely cause the expansion of universe? Secondly, if spacetime is the sole cause, do objects(matter with mass) themselves expand? Thirdly, by spacetime ...
73
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5answers
17k 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" ...
65
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5answers
7k views

Does someone falling into a black hole see the end of the universe?

This question was prompted by Can matter really fall through an event horizon?. Notoriously, if you calculate the Schwarzschild coordinate time for anything, matter or light, to reach the event ...
20
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8answers
2k views

Is it foolish to distinguish between covariant and contravariant vectors?

A vector space is a set whose elements satisfy certain axioms. Now there are physical entities that satisfy these properties, which may not be arrows. A co-ordinate transformation is linear map from a ...
11
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2answers
716 views

argument about fallacy of diff(M) being a gauge group for general relativity

I want to outline a solid argument (or bulletpoints) to show how weak is the idea of diff(M) being the gauge group of general relativity. basically i have these points that in my view are very solid ...
14
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4answers
1k views

To which extent is general relativity a gauge theory?

In quantum mechanics, we know that a change of frame -- a gauge transform -- leaves the probability of an outcome measurement invariant (well, the square modulus of the wave-function, i.e. the ...
28
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7answers
15k views

Why does GPS depend on relativity?

I am reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and in it he mentions that without compensating for relativity, GPS devices would be out by miles. Why is this? (I am not sure which relativity ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Can all fundamental forces be fictitious forces?

After reading many questions, like this and this, I wonder: is it possible to consider also the other fundamental forces, the electroweak interaction and the strong interaction or ultimately the ...
16
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6answers
3k views

Is Newton's Law of Gravity consistent with General Relativity?

By 'Newton's Law of Gravity', I am referring to The magnitude of the force of gravity is proportional to the product of the mass of the two objects and inversely proportional to their distance ...
7
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2answers
232 views

Intuitive understanding of the elements in the stress-energy tensor

There is an image in the Wikipedia about the stress-energy tensor: I have a rough understanding of the stress tensor: you imagine cutting out a tiny cube from the fluid and form a matrix out of the ...
12
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2answers
739 views

Is spacetime simply connected?

As I've stated in a prior question of mine, I am a mathematician with very little knowledge of Physics, and I ask here things I'm curious about/things that will help me learn. This falls into the ...
8
votes
2answers
571 views

How (or why) equivalence principle led to Einstein field equations?

If equivalence principle was origin of general relativity what was the process that this principle led Einstein to developed his theory of general relativity?
7
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1answer
599 views

What happens to an embedded magnetic field when a black hole is formed from rotating charged dust?

Black holes have no-hair so there are uniquely specified by a mass, charge and angular momentum. Imagine a cloud of charged rotating dust. There will be a magnetic field associated with the current ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Can we have a black hole without a singularity?

Assuming we have a sufficiently small and massive object such that it's escape velocity is greater than the speed of light, isn't this a black hole? It has an event horizon that light cannot escape, ...
8
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2answers
5k views

What is the physical meaning of the affine parameter for null geodesic?

For time-like geodesic, the affine parameter is the proper time $\tau$ or its linear transform, and the geodesic equation is ...
5
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2answers
591 views

Can a black hole be formed by radiation?

I'm trying to find out if black holes could be created by focusing enough light into a small enough volume. So far I have found (any or all may be incorrect): Maxwell's equations are linear, ...
8
votes
1answer
327 views

Cancelling special & general relativistic effects

We know that for a GPS we need to make a correction for both general and special relativity: general relativity predicts that clocks go slower in a higher gravitational field (the clock aboard a GPS ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Voyager local time dilation (caused by gravity)

Voyager I, as an example, taking account gravity and setting aside effects of speed as cause of time dilation. If it is very far away from earth and sun, so then there must be a difference in the ...
2
votes
2answers
450 views

Finding the metric tensor from the Einstein field equation?

I have have set my self a challenge to learn all the maths behind the Einstein field equation (EFE), and from reading it seems that the Metric tensor is the thing we are trying to find (from the 10 ...
2
votes
2answers
637 views

Speed of light in a gravitational field ?

How do I solve the speed of light in gravitational field? Should I just add gravitational acceleration in speed of light? $c'=c_0+g(r)t$?
1
vote
1answer
1k views

If photons are deflected by a strong gravitational field, then how come photons do not have mass? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Explain how (or if) a box full of photons would weigh more due to massless photons It has been proved and showed through experiments that light can be bent by the Sun or ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

The speed of light as it approaches a massive body

No matter how fast you go, you will aways perceive the speed of light as constant. Taking that as a fact, the special relativity theory was formulated. Now, for what I understand about general ...
71
votes
11answers
12k views

If all motion is relative, how does light have a finite speed?

I've often heard that Einstein shattered the notion of absolute motion (i.e. all things move relative to one another) and that he established the speed of light as being absolute. That sounds ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Is topology of universe observable?

There is an idea that the geometry of physical space is not observable(i.e. it can't be fixed by mere observation). It was introduced by H. Poincare. In brief it says that we can formulate our ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Nature of gravity: gravitons, curvature of space-time or both?

General relativity tells us that what we perceive as gravity is curvature of space-time. On the other hand (as I understand it) gravity can be understood as a force between objects which are ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Why do objects follow geodesics in spacetime?

Trying to teach myself general relativity. I sort of understand the derivation of the geodesic equation ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Why gravity is a spin-2 field? How can I read the spin from Einstein-Hilbert action?

I have often heard that the gravitational field has spin $2$. How can I read the spin of the field from the Einstein-Hilbert action $$S=\int \! \mathrm{d}^4x \,\sqrt{|g|} \, \mathcal{R} \, \, \, ?$$
10
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1answer
513 views

Spacetime Torsion, the Spin tensor, and intrinsic spin in Einstein-Cartan theory

In Einstein-Cartan gravity, the action is the usual Einstein-Hilbert action but now the Torsion tensor is allowed to vary as well (in usual GR, it is just set to zero). Variation with respect to the ...