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.

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How much choice did Einstein have in choosing his GR equations?

General relativity was summarised by Wheeler as "Spacetime tells matter how to move; Matter tells spacetime how to curve". I have a fairly good mental picture of how the first part works. However, I ...
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718 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 ...
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The General Relativity from String Theory Point of View [duplicate]

I have a hard time understand the statement that When you only look at the classical limit or classical physics, string theory exactly agrees with general relativity Because from what I know, ...
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347 views

Are gravitational time dilation and the time dilation in special relativity independent?

There are two kinds of time dilation: One because the other clock moves fast relative to me (special relativity). Another one because the other clock is in a stronger gravitational field (general ...
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158 views

5D Ricci Curvature

As part of a hw problem for a class, we're supposed to be deriving the equivalence given in equation 2.3 of this paper http://arxiv.org/abs/1107.5563. I was wondering if there is some special ...
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Faster-than-light communication using Alcubierre warp drive metric around a single qubit?

The Alcubierre warp drive metric has been criticized on the points of requiring a large amount of exotic matter with negative energy, and conditions deadly for human travellers inside the bubble. What ...
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556 views

Binary Black Hole Solution of General Relativity?

This is rather a technical question for experts in General Relativity. An accessible link would be an accepable answer, although any additional discussion is welcome. GR has well known solutions ...
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654 views

How does the star that has collapsed to form a Schwarschild black hole appear to an observer falling into the black hole?

I understand that to an outside observer, the light from a star that is collapsing into a black hole will become more and more red-shifted as the surface of the star appears to approach the black hole ...
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1answer
507 views

Movie Interstellar - Question about Escape Velocity

The movie Interstellar shows people on a water planet where time is dilated so much that 1 hour is equal to 7 years back on Earth. Even though they lift off from Earth using a Saturn-V two stage ...
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Deriving Birkhoff's Theorem

I am trying to derive Birkhoff's theorem in GR as an exercise: a spherically symmetric gravitational field is static in the vacuum area. I managed to prove that $g_{00}$ is independent of t in the ...
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361 views

What is the meaning of the “expansion of space”?

When we say that "the space between galaxies is expanding," what do we really mean? For instance, if I think of space as being a Cartesian grid, then when space expands should I think of it as adding ...
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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 ...
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249 views

Computing Curvature via Cartan Formalism

Given a metric $g_{\mu \nu}$, one can select an orthonormal basis $\omega^{\hat{a}}$ such that, $$ds^2= \omega^{\hat{t}}\otimes\omega^{\hat{t}} - \omega^{\hat{x}} \otimes \omega^{\hat{x}} - ...$$ By ...
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Geodesics equations via variational principle

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

What is the equation for the scale factor of the universe, a(t), for the best fit of data to the $\Lambda CDM$ Model of Cosmology?

Ideally I like a single formula or multiple formulas for different time ranges that would cover the time from the end of inflation through 100+ billion years after the big bang using the $\Lambda ...
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426 views

Why gauge theories have such a success?

[This question was inspired by a identical question asked on a other forum] Note that we may morally include general relativity in the gauge theories. We may have several (some are deliberately ...
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4answers
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Inertial frames of reference

I'm struggling with the notion of an inertial frame of reference. I suspect my difficulty lies with the difference between Newtonian and relativistic inertial frames, but I can't see it. I've read ...
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The bigger the mass, the more time slows down. Why is this?

If I were to stand by a pyramid, which weighs about 20 million tons, I would slow down by a trillion million million million of second. Don't know if that's exactly right, but you get the point. Also, ...
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Mechanism for the gravitational field generated by photons

This question follows from a schooling I received in this thread. I figured that photons do not interact with gravity, except when they've spontaneously converted into a particle-antiparticle pair. ...
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334 views

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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If two ultra-relativistic billiard balls just miss, will they still form a black hole?

This forum seems to agree that a billiard ball accellerated to ultra-relativistic speeds does not turn into a black hole. (See recent question "If a 1kg mass was accelerated close to the speed of ...
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Is there an energy density limit in GR?

I am speaking about GR with classical fields and energy. One question, spread over three increasingly strict situations: Is there an energy density limit in GR? (literally, can the energy density ...
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423 views

What is the geometrical interpretation of Ricci tensor?

In differential geometry and general relativity space is said to be flat if the Riemann tensor $R=0$. If the Ricci tensor on manifold $M$ is zero, it doesn't mean that the manifold itself is flat. So ...
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Does String Theory disagree with General Relativity?

I would like to expand on what I mean by the title of this question to focus the answers. Normally whenever a theory (e.g. General Relativity) replaces another (e.g. Newtonian Gravity) there is a ...
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1answer
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How could we travel to the nearest supermassive Black hole?

I have just watched a trailer for the upcoming movie Interstellar and started to wonder about some physics involved. In the end of the trailer, they are obviously plunging into a Black hole hoping to ...
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1answer
295 views

What is the entropy of the universe today?

What's the entropy of the universe today? How does one go about calculating this? I've heard the statement that black holes account for the bulk of the entropy in the universe today, but don't know ...
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478 views

How general relativity gets to an inverse-square law

I understand that a general interpretation of the $1/r^2$ interactions is that virtual particles are exchanged, and to conserve their flux through spheres of different radii, one must assume the ...
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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 ...
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530 views

How does an object falling into a plain Schwarschild black hole appear from near the black hole?

I know that when viewed from infinity (or from a very large distance from the black hole event horizon), an object that falls into the black hole will appear to slow down and will become more and more ...
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450 views

Introduction to relativity books for an engineer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Getting started general relativity I am an engineer who loves to read science fiction books especially when there's more science than fiction but usually I see that I ...
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531 views

References for ADM formalism and cosmological perturbation theory [closed]

What would you consider the best online resources for learning the 3+1 ADM formalism and gauge invariant perturbation theory in cosmology? (Assuming intermediate level GR and QFT familiarity)
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188 views

Time slowing down vs. universe expanding

Einstein said that it is impossible to distinguish between the effect of gravity and acceleration (so if you stand in an accelerating elevator in space it would not feel any different than if you were ...
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271 views

Can a single particle create a black hole?

Let us suppose a particle with so much energy $ E= h \frac{c}{\lambda} $ so $ \lambda $ is smaller than Planck's length ? Would it be possible? I mean if the particle has so much energy then its mass ...
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651 views

How does Newton's 2nd law correspond to GR in the weak field limit?

I can only perform the demonstration from the much simpler $E = mc^2$. Take as given the Einstein field equation: $G_{\mu\nu} = 8 \pi \, T_{\mu\nu}$ ... can it be proved that Newton's formulation ...
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why do x Schwarzschild radii equal time dilation effects of speed of light going y times faster than an object^2?

let me walk you through the math. First you start with the gravitational time dilation formula where: $$ T_1=T\sqrt{1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}} $$ and rather than entering $r$ for the radius we replace $r$ ...
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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?
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What makes us think we can actually detect gravitational waves?

This refers to the discussion about gravitational waves for the YouTube video LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory. I have two questions: When the gravitational wave passes through the space where ...
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1answer
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Can a deformable object “swim” in curved space-time? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Swimming in Spacetime - apparent conserved quantity violation It is well known that a deformable object can perform a finite rotation in space by performing deformations ...
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1answer
374 views

If a magnetic monopole falls into a schwarzchild black hole, what happens to the magnetic field?

By the no-hair theorem, black holes can only have mass, charge and angular momentum. Does "charge" include "magnetic charge" (such as from a magnetic monopole)? Can black holes have magnetic charge ...
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1answer
846 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 ...
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What is the notion of a spatial angle in general relativity?

Is there a notion of spatial angles in general relativity? Example: The world line of a photon is given by $x^{\mu}(\lambda)$. Suppose it flies into my lab where I have a mirror. I align the mirror ...
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369 views

Another faster-than-light question

Imagine we have something very heavy (i.e supermassive black hole) and some object that we can throw with 0.999999 speed of light (i.e proton). We are throwing our particle in the direction of hole. ...
4
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509 views

Is it possible to have faster-than-light movement in General Relativity?

The speed of light as the maximal possible speed is build into Special Relativity as a premise of the theory. However I know of no such premise in General Relativity. When looking at two stars laying ...
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What experimental proof has been found of Einstein's theory?

As a casual science reader, I've always found the implications of relativity (inconsistent clocks after near-light-speed travel and various space-time paradoxes) to be confusing and magical-sounding. ...
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2answers
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Are time and gravity affected when at rest compared to free fall?

A falling object moves along a geodesic path ('straight path') in spacetime. When it comes to rest it now follows a 'curved path' through spacetime. Is the passage of time and force of gravity ...
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176 views

Books on cosmology

I am a 14 year old who is independently studying physics. I finished the book: Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity by Sean Carroll. I am specifically interested in cosmology, ...
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266 views

A clock in freefall

Time dilation calculated using Schwarzschild metric for a non rotating spherical body is: $$t_0=t_f\sqrt{1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}}$$ For such a non rotating spherical body, what would the time dilation of ...
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How energy curves spacetime?

We know through General Relativity (GR) that matter curves spacetime (ST) like a "ball curves a trampoline" but then how energy curves spacetime? Is it just like matter curvature of ST?
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Expression for distance of closest approach in Schwarzschild Geodesics

The Wikipedia article Two-body problem in General Relativity uses two length-scale variables, $a$ and $b$, to simplify the math. For some information about these, consider these statements from the ...
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Why can't we think of free fall as upside down rocket?

/\ / \ | | | m | | | ------ <--- floor (Rocket A) This rocket is accelerated (g) upwards then mass(m) falls on the floor. ...