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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Can the Hubble constant be measured locally?

The Hubble constant, which roughly gauges the extent to which space is being stretched, can be determined from astronomical measurements of galactic velocities (via redshifts) and positions (via ...
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is there a way to split a black hole?

Classically, black holes can merge, becoming a single black hole with an horizon area greater than the sum of both merged components. Is it thermodynamically / statistically possible to split a black ...
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709 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 ...
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457 views

Comparing predictions and reality for the gravitational attraction due to light beams

While doing some on-the-side reading, I stumbled across this question: Do two beams of light attract each other in general theory of relativity?. Great question and a great, easily understandable ...
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Euclidean derivation of the black hole temperature; conical singularities

I am studying the derivation of the black hole temperature by means of the Euclidean approach, i.e. by Wick rotating, compactifying the Euclidean time and identifying the period with the inverse ...
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760 views

Is there a thought experiment which brings to light the contradiction between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics?

I've been told that GR and QM are not compatible, is there an intuitive reason/thought experiment which demonstrates the issue? (Or one of the issues?)
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Do light waves precisely follow null geodesic paths in General Relativity?

In special relativity one may show that a plane wave solution of Maxwell's equations (in a vacuum), of the form $A^a=C^a\mathrm{e}^{\mathrm{i}\psi}$ has the following properties: The normal ...
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673 views

Does local physics depend on global topology?

Motivating Example In standard treatments of AdS/CFT (MAGOO for example), one defines $\mathrm{AdS}_{p+2}$ as a particular embedded submanifold of $\mathbb R^{2,p+1}$ which gives it topology ...
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544 views

Positivity of Total Gravitational Energy in GR

I read the following statement in the introduction to an article: Over the last 30 years, one of the greatest achievements in classical general relativity has certainly been the proof of the ...
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832 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 ...
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495 views

What does the equivalence principle mean in quantum cases?

We know that electron trapped by nuclear, like the hydrogen system, is described by quantum state,and never fall to the nuclear. So is there any similar situation in the case of electron near the ...
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What different approximations yield Gravitoelectromagnetism and Weak Field Einstein Equations?

This question is inspired by this answer, which cites Gravitoelectromagnetism (GEM) as a valid approximation to the Einstein Field Equations (EFE). The wonted presentation of gravitational waves is ...
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How can a black hole reduce the speed of light?

If the speed of light is always constant then light should escape from a black hole because if directed radially outwards it only needs to travel a finite distance to escape, and at a speed of $c$ it ...
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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 ...
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Interpretation of a singular metric

I'm interested to find out if we can say anything useful about spacetime at the singularity in the FLRW metric that occurs at $t = 0$. If I understand correctly, the FLRW spacetime is a combination ...
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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, ...
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Energy conservation in General Relativity

I understand that energy conservation is not a rule in general relativity, but I'd like to know under what circumstances it can still be possible. In other words, when is it possible to associate a ...
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What is the exact gravitational force between two masses including relativistic effects?

I was wondering if there is a closed-form formula for the force between two masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ if relativistic effects are included. My understanding is that the classic formula $G \frac{m_1 ...
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2answers
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Does the speed of light vary in noninertial frames?

The speed of light is the same in all inertial frames. Does it change from a non-inertial frame to another? Can it be zero? If it is not constant in non-inertial frames, is it still bounded from ...
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582 views

In there such a thing as the Black Hole Information Paradox?

When I first heard about the black hole information paradox, I thought it had no content. At the time, papers about it had been written for numerous years and they keep on coming. Now that the press ...
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In relativity, can/should every measurement be reduced to measuring a scalar?

Different authors seem to attach different levels of importance to keeping track of the exact tensor valences of various physical quantities. In the strict-Catholic-school-nun camp, we have Burke ...
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Did Hilbert publish general relativity field equation before Einstein?

Did Hilbert publish general relativity field equation before Einstein?
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Shape of the universe?

What is the exact shape of the universe? I know of the balloon analogy, and the bread with raisins in it. These clarify some points, like how the universe can have no centre, and how it can expand ...
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What is the conserved quantity of a scale-invariant universe?

Consider that we have a system described by a wavefunction psi(x). We then make an exact copy of the system, and anything associated with it, (including the inner cogs and gears of the elementary ...
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How can I read off the fact that gravity is associated with spin-2 particles from the 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 $$S=\int \! \mathrm{d}^4x \,\sqrt{|g|} \, \mathcal{R} \, \, \, ?$$
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Does the Unruh effect violate Mach's principle?

Mach's principle says that it is impossible to tell if something is accelerating unless there is something else in the universe to compare that motion to, which seems reasonable. However, if you had ...
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Suggested reading for quantum field theory in curved spacetime

I want to learn some QFT in curved spacetime. What papers/books/reviews can you suggest to learn this area? Are there any good books or other reference material which can help in learning about QFT ...
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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 ...
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How does light behave within a black hole's event horizon?

If the event horizon of a black hole is the distance from the center from within which light cannot escape, imagine a person with a flashlight falls into the black hole. He points his flashlight in a ...
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Is the Planck length Lorentz invariant?

The planck length is defined as $l_P = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar G}{c^3}}$. So it is a combination of the constants $c, h, G$ which I believe are all Lorentz invariants. So I think the Planck length should ...
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The problem of self-force on point charges

Allow me to preface this by stating that I am a high school student interested in physics and self-studying using a variety of resources, both on- and off-line, primarily GSU's HyperPhysics website, ...
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How does one measure space-like geodesics? Or: What is the physical interpretation of space-like geodesics?

In general relativity, time-like geodesics are the trajectories of free-falling test particles, parametrized by proper time. Thus, they are easy to interpret in physical terms and are easy to measure ...
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Can matter really fall through an event horizon?

This question is closely related to Event horizons without singularities from about a year ago (May 2012), which John Rennie answered nicely and persuasively. My variant of the question is this: ...
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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 ...
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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) ...
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Curvature Invariants in General Relativity and Singularities

Suppose that I want to check if a given metric is singular or not. I'm interested in curvature singularities, not coordinate singularities, so I can look to scalars made with Ricci, Riemann and Weyl ...
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What is “special” and what is “general” in Relativity?

Initially I thought in special relativity the velocity was constant, whereas general relativity allowed treatment of accelerated frames as well. But now I have heard that SR is only valid locally?
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Why is the covariant derivative of the metric tensor zero?

I've consulted several books for the explanation of why $$\nabla _{\mu}g_{\alpha \beta} = 0,$$ and hence derive the relation between metric tensor and affine connection $\Gamma ^{\sigma}_{\mu ...
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Black hole with two singularities?

I hope this question isn't too naive, but would it theoretically be possible to have a black hole with 2 singularities (or 2 black holes at the same location). If this is possible, would there be any ...
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What is meant when it is said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic?

It is sometimes said that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. What is meant by each of these descriptions? Are they mutually exclusive, or does one require the other? And what implications rise ...
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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 ...
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Wouldn't angular momentum of a binary star system decrease?

Consider a binary star system, as these stars go around one another they would emit gravitational waves. Since, the graviton is a spin 2 particle. Wouldn't the angular momentum of the stars decrease? ...
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Is there a maximum possible acceleration?

I'm thinking equivalence principle, possibilities of unbounded space-time curvature, quantum gravity ...
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Are elementary particles ultimate fate of black holes?

From the "no hair theorem" we know that black holes have only 3 characteristic external observables, mass, electric charge and angular momentum (except the possible exceptions in the higher ...
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941 views

Does GR provide a maximum electric field limit?

Does GR provide a limit to the maximum electric field? I've gotten conflicting information regarding this, and am quite confused. I will try to quote exactly when possible so as not to confuse ...
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How to prove that a spacetime is maximally symmetric?

In Carroll's book on general relativity ("Spacetime and Geometry"), I found the following remark: In two dimensions, finding that $R$ is a constant suffices to prove that the space is maximally ...
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Is simultaneity well defined in general relativity?

In special relativity for each event and reference frame we can find a plane of simultaneous events. I wonder is it possible to do the same in general case in curved space? Is simultaneity even ...
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Conformal Compactification of spacetime

I have been reading Penrose's paper titled "Relativistic Symmetry Groups" where the concept of conformal compactification of a space-time is discussed. My other references have been this and this. In ...
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Brachistochrone problem in general relativity

This question Brachistochrone Problem for Inhomogeneous Potential has the obvious extension. Namely the same question, when gravity is treated according to general relativity. To make it specific ...
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Why can't General Relativity be written in terms of physical variables?

I am aware that the field in General Relativity (the metric, $g_{\mu\nu}$) is not completely physical, as two metrics which are related by a diffeomorphism (~ a change in coordinates) are physically ...