A theory that describes how matter produces and responds to 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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass imply anything about the Higgs mechanism?

For example: the role it might play in a theory of quantum gravity (ie causing space-time curvature)? I realize that inertial mass can result from binding energy alone. Has the equivalence principle ...
8
votes
3answers
644 views

Special Relativistic approximation to GR

Some time ago I was talking to a professor in college about some of the fundamental aspects and origin of General Relativity. I was surprised to learn, in fact, that a pretty good approximation to GR ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Wormholes & Time Machines - for *experts* in GR/maths

EDIT: Further clarification in the context of answers/comments received to 20 Jan has been appended EDIT: 21 Jan - Response to the Lubos Expansion appended [in progress, not yet complete] EDIT: 23 ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Total energy of the Universe

In popular science books and articles, I keep running into the claim that the total energy of the Universe is zero, "because the positive energy of matter is cancelled out by the negative energy of ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it theoretically possible to shield gravitational fields or waves?

Electromagnetic waves can be shielded by a perfect conductor. What about gravitational fields or waves?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “foliation” mean in the context of a “foliation of spacetime?”

I've seen foliation used in the context of "foliation of spacetime" here and elsewhere in papers and such. Generally defined in reference to a "sequence of spatial hypersurfaces." But I don't know ...
10
votes
1answer
752 views

How do I calculate the (apparent) gravitational pull with General Relativity?

Assume a static metric with (known) components $g_{\mu\nu}$. I'd like to know what is the gravitational pull $g$ of a test particle placed on an arbitrary point $X$. The gravitational pull being ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
533 views

“Space” in General Relativity and “vacuum” in Standard Model, is it the same thing?

And expansion of space is equal to expansion of vacuum?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How is the classical twin paradox resolved?

I read a lot about the classical twin paradox recently. What confuses me is that some authors claim that it can be resolved within SRT, others say that you need GRT. Now, what is true (and why)?
2
votes
2answers
453 views

How do you explain the observed fact that “black hole” objects move?

As per Newton objects with mass attract each other, and per Einstein this is further explained by saying that mass warps space-time. So a massive object makes a "dent" into space-time, a gravity well. ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the physical meaning of the connection and the curvature tensor?

Regarding general relativity: What is the physical meaning of the Christoffel symbol ($\Gamma^i_{\ jk}$)? What are the (preferably physical) differences between the Riemann curvature tensor ($R^i_{\ ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the equivalence principle so important to general relativity?

In its simplest form, equivalence principle states that the inertial mass and the gravitational mass should be the same. This is easy to understand. But why is it so important to the formulation of ...
0
votes
3answers
251 views

Calculating absolute speed of a relative object [closed]

Say you pick a point on the Earth. The earth spins at some constant $x (I don't know how fast, sorry). Now, that point has a different relative speed to a fixed point on Earth's orbit as it revolves ...
5
votes
1answer
357 views

Quantum Gravity and Calculations of Mercury's Perihelion

In an astronomy forum that I frequent, I have been having a discussion where the state of quantum gravity research came up. I claimed that Loop Quantum Gravity theories couldn't prove GR in the ...
2
votes
0answers
3k views

What's the relationship between mass and time? [closed]

This question has arisen from a wish to understand an end-of-universe scenario: heat death. Are time and mass intrinsically linked? If so, does time "run slower" (whatever that may mean) in a ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

How precisely does a star collapse into a black hole?

I think we all heard general statements like "once big enough star burns out there is nothing to prevent the gravitational collapse ending in a black hole". But I can't remember even seeing the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What does it mean that the universe is “infinite”?

This question is about cosmology and general relativity. I understand the difference between the universe and the observable universe. What I am not really clear about is what is meant when I read ...
9
votes
3answers
712 views

Why space expansion affects matter?

If space itself is expanding, then why would it have any effect on matter (separates distant galaxies)? Space is "nothing", and if "nothing" becomes bigger "nothing" it's still a "nothing" that ...
41
votes
6answers
2k views

What is known about the topological structure of spacetime?

General relativity says that spacetime is a Lorentzian 4-manifold $M$ whose metric satisfies Einstein's field equations. I have two questions: What topological restrictions do Einstein's equations ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

What kind of systems of black holes satisfy the laws of black hole thermodynamics?

I've come across black holes thermodynamics multiple times recently (both at this site and elsewhere) and some things started bugging me. For one thing, first law bothers me a little. It is a ...
1
vote
3answers
461 views

Is the curvature of space-time a smooth function everywhere ? (except at black holes)

Is the curvature of space-time a smooth function everywhere (except at black holes) in view of General relativity. By 'smooth' it is meant that it possesses derivatives of all order at a given point. ...
0
votes
4answers
248 views

A Question on Singularity

I am not aware of GR, but due to curiosity i have a question in my mind. Please let me know if it is inappropriate to ask here. My question is about singularity. I am under the assumption that ...
1
vote
2answers
352 views

What is an analog to QM's Hilbert space in GR?

I've read that QM operates in a Hilbert space (where the state functions live). I don't know if its meaningful to ask such a question, what are the answers to an analogous questions on GR and ...
3
votes
3answers
639 views

General relativity (gravitation) in time and one spatial dimension

I don't have any idea of general relativity but intend to learn. Is it a good idea to study general relativity in two dimensions (time and single spatial dimension) in the begining to get good idea on ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Which PPN parameters are least well determined?

There are by now (late 2010) many tests of GTR. GTR is holding up quite well! But, surely, we do not yet have it cornered in every possible way. In terms of the PPN parameters used to ...
3
votes
4answers
543 views

White Holes and Time-Reversed Oppenheimer-Snyder collapse

So, the canned explanation that I always hear about why the white hole solution of the extended Schwarzschild solution is non-physical is that "The matter distribution cuts off the white hole ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
-3
votes
2answers
214 views

Gravity and Collision of two continuous mass distributions [closed]

How could one explain the collision of two continuous mass distributions in view of gravitation (Newtonanian and General relativity) ?
20
votes
1answer
998 views

How does classical GR concept of space-time emerge from string theory?

First, I'll state some background that lead me to the question. I was thinking about quantization of space-time on and off for a long time but I never really looked into it any deeper (mainly because ...
20
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

What if the universe is rotating as a whole?

Suppose in the milliseconds after the big bang the cosmic egg had aquired some large angular momentum. As it expanded, keeping the momentum constant (not external forces) the rate of rotation would ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the evidence for Inflation of the early universe?

The theory of Inflation explains the apparent consistency of the universe by proposing that the early universe grew exponentially for a 1E-36 seconds. Isn't a simpler explanation that the universe is ...
15
votes
3answers
813 views

If I fall into an evaporating black hole, where do I end up?

This question has been bothering me for a while. I have a crude hypothesis... As I understand it, an observer falling into a black hole will cross the event horizon at some specific future (proper) ...
0
votes
1answer
428 views

Why do we define such a thing as singularity?

According to general relativity, an observer not in the close proximity of a black hole, observing a mass fall into that black hole, will never see that mass cross event horizon(it will gradually fade ...
4
votes
2answers
906 views

Noticing that Newtonian gravity and electrostatics are equivalent, is there also a relationship between the general relativity and electrodynamics?

In classical mechanics, we had Newton's law of gravity $F \propto \frac{Mm}{r^2}$. Because of this, all laws of classical electrostatics applied to classical gravity if we assumed that all charges ...
130
votes
13answers
9k views

How does gravity escape a black hole?

My understanding is that light can not escape from within a black hole (within the event horizon). I've also heard that information cannot propagate faster than the speed of light. It would seem to ...
12
votes
3answers
667 views

Swimming in Spacetime - apparent conserved quantity violation

My question is about the article Swimming in Spacetime. My gut reaction on first reading it was "this violates conservation of momentum, doesn't it?". I now realize, however, that this doesn't allow ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you calculate the anomalous precession of Mercury?

One of the three classic tests of general relativity is the calculation of the precession of the perihelion of Mercury's orbit. This precession rate had been precisely measured using data collected ...
1
vote
4answers
315 views

Why is it so hard to accelerate macroscopic objects?

It seems all we're capable of accelerating currently are atomic particles. Why can't we, say, accelerate a clock to relativistic speeds?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible/correct to describe electromagnetism using curved space(-time)? [duplicate]

Comparing the simples form of the forces of both phenomena: the law of Newton for gravitation $V\propto \frac{1}{r}$, and the Coulomb law for electrostatics $V\propto \frac{1}{r}$, one might think ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

What methods can astronomers use to find a black hole?

How can astronomers say, we know there are black holes at the centre of each galaxy? What methods of indirect detection are there to know where and how big a black hole is?
2
votes
7answers
405 views

Can astronomers directly detect black holes?

Are there any methods of direct detection for black holes? I'm not referring to gravitational lensing, or measuring the orbits of a star in a binary pair. Is there any way of directly 'seeing' them? ...
36
votes
5answers
4k views

A list of inconveniences between quantum mechanics and (general) relativity?

It is well known that quantum mechanics and (general) relativity do not fit well. I am wondering whether it is possible to make a list of contradictions or problems between them? E.g. relativity ...
26
votes
14answers
4k views

Getting started general relativity

What are some good books, videos, websites for getting started with general relativity? Mathematically rigorous preferred!
14
votes
2answers
699 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...