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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Can spacetime exist in the absence of matter and energy?

I'm pretty sure Ernst Mach would have said that spacetime cannot exist without matter in it. But I'm also pretty sure that a black hole can be described as a self-sustaining gravitational field, ...
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What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles?

What is the capture cross-section of a black hole region for ultra-relativistic particles? I have read that it is $$\sigma ~=~ \frac{27}{4}\pi R^{2}_{s}$$ for a Schwarzschild BH in the geometric ...
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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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624 views

Can the Big Rip really rip apart an atomic nucleus?

Some scenarios describing the fate of the matter vs dark energy tug of war on the universe involve the acceleration of the universe increasing to the point that it ends up ripping apart even atoms. ...
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Explicit Variation of Gibbons-Hawking-York Boundary Term

Are there any references that present the explicit variation of the Hilbert-Einstein action plus the Hawking-Gibbons-York boundary term, and demonstrate the cancellation of the normal derivatives of ...
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531 views

What happens to orbits at small radii in general relativity?

I know that (most) elliptic orbits precess due to the math of general relativity, like this: source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-body_problem_in_general_relativity I also know that something ...
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498 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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That 10km/day error predicted if GPS satellite clocks not corrected for relativity

Some authorities have stated publicly and without explanation that if the theories of Special and General Relativity were not taken into account in the design of the GPS (by building the satellite ...
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651 views

Vacuum and repulsive gravity

How can one show from General Relativity that gravity is attractive force, and under which conditions it becomes repulsive, also why positive energy vacuum drives repulsive gravity?
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What makes the stars that are farther from the nucleus of the galaxy go faster than those in the middle?

It has no sense that stars that have a bigger radius and apparently less angular speed($\omega$) goes faster than the ones near the center.
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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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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.
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Counting degrees of freedom for gravitational waves as a gauge field

Sean Carroll has a new popularization about the Higgs, The Particle at the End of the Universe. Carroll is a relativist, and I enjoyed seeing how he presented the four forces of nature synoptically, ...
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330 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?
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236 views

Are objects in a gravitational well shortened?

Bob is in a gravitational potential well, he moves a long vertical stick up and down a distance of 1 meters. Alice observes the upper end of the stick, at upper location. There is the phenomenon of ...
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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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Does throwing a watch into the air cause it to gain or lose time?

Suppose I'm on a non rotating planet. I have two identical, perfect watches. I synchronize them. Then I throw one of them into the air and catch it. Does the one I throw into the air gain or lose time ...
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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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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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Why can light (photons) bends in a curve through space without mass? [duplicate]

I've heard that light can form a curve if they travel near high-mass stars or even a black hole with strong gravity. Which is according to this Newtonian formula $$\large ...
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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}+ ...
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Open problems in General Relativity [closed]

I would like to know if there are some open mathematical problems in General Relativity, that are important from the point of view of Physics. I mean is there something that still needs to be ...
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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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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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278 views

Is the quantization of gravity necessary for a quantum theory of gravity? Part II

(At the suggestion of the user markovchain, I have decided to take a very large edit/addition to the original question, and ask it as a separate question altogether.) Here it is: I have since ...
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274 views

What is the status of existing measurements of the speed of gravity?

In replying to a recent question I stated: Gravitational waves have not been yet experimentally observed so as to have their velocity measured. Which after the fact prompted me to try and verify ...
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Harold White's work on the Alcubierre warp drive

I've read a bit on Harold White's recent work. (A paper on Nasa's site) I haven't been able to find any comments by people claiming to know anything about the physics involved. Is this really serious? ...
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396 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, ...
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Fulvio Melia's linear Universe

I would be interested in what people think of Fulvio Melia's argument for a linearly expanding Universe. I realize that the experimental evidence seems to be pointing to an accelerating Universe ...
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What does Brian Greene mean when he claims we wont be able to observe light from distant stars due to the universe's expansion?

Brian Greene in this TED talk about possible multiverse, claims tomwards the end (At around 18:00 mark) this statement. 'Because the expansion is speeding up, in the very far future, those galaxies ...
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ergosphere treadmills

suppose you place a number of rotating black holes in linear sequence (rotating around the same axis) between two stars at distance $d$ (assume as tightly packed as practical for purposes of ...
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Do singularities have a “real” as opposed to mathematical or idealized existence?

I was thinking of, for example a Schwarzchild metric at r=0, i.e. the gravitational singularity, a point of infinite density. I realise that there are different types of singularities--timelike, ...
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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 ...
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Time-like Killing vector in FRW metric?

The spatially flat FRW metric in cartesian co-ordinates is given by: $$ds^2 = -dt^2 + a^2(t)(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)$$ As I understand it there are Killing vectors in the $x$, $y$, $z$ directions implying ...
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How long does it take for a black hole to form?

The well-known fable of an astronaut sending signals out to an external observer while falling toward an event horizon states that the time lapse between such signals becomes greater even if in the ...
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146 views

How much faster would a Clock without gravity run?

Pardon the misleading title. It is to my understanding that moving/heavy clocks run slow. The Earth itself is under gravitational influence from many sources, and is moving. Is there a way to know ...
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Black holes and Time Dilation at the horizon

What is the difference between proper time and the observer time? Whilst thinking about Black holes, when we see the Schwarzschild metric $$c^2\tau ^2 = \left ( 1 - \frac{r_{s}}{r} \right )c^2t^2 - ...
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Black hole entropy from collapsed entangled pure light

Consider the following scenario, very similar to the one proposed in this question, but this time, the pure quantum radiation used for the black hole collapse, is now being split with down-converter ...
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516 views

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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559 views

Anti-matter repelled by gravity - is it a serious hypothesis? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why would Antimatter behave differently via Gravity? Regarding the following statement in this article: Most important of these is whether ordinary gravity attracts ...
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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. ...
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How do gravitons impact on general relativity?

As I'm reading about GR a lot lately, I was wondering: how do gravitons (if they exist ofc) impact the general relativity? Since in GR, when we look at particles moving in space-time, we are only ...
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203 views

General relativity theory [duplicate]

As I understand general relativity theory (please correct me if I'm wrong), time becomes dilated and space becomes compressed around mass, and this is responsible for gravity. I'm struggling with ...
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1answer
137 views

How would it be to look at the sky if the earth were near the edge of the universe?

By looking at this picture: http://earthspacecircle.blogspot.com/2013/01/earths-location-in-universe.html The earth is near the center of the universe. I've read that the universe look the same no ...
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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 ...
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How can I vizualize and understand curved spaces in general relativity?

I'm taking a basic physics class and the teacher described space with a special table that has curves and black holes etc. He would throw a metal ball down onto it and the class would watch it circle ...
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Speed of gravity in cosmological codes and ephemeris generation

There are few questions in Phys.SE concerning the speed of gravity, and the answers are traditionally that the speed of gravity equals to the speed of light. But in that case I have three more ...
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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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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 ...