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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Gravitational Redshift around a Schwarzschild Black Hole

Let's say that I'm hovering in a rocket at constant spatial coordinates outside a Schwarzschild black hole. I drop a bulb into the black hole, and it emits some light at a distance of $r_e$ from the ...
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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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266 views

Calculating position in space assuming general relativity

Suppose two pointed masses are given in space. Suppose further that one of the masses has a given velocity at (local) time 0. Is there a way to compute its position in a future time? Neglecting ...
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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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145 views

Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration?

I realize that the curvature of space-time causes acceleration (gravity). Is it possible to have a curvature only of space, or a curvature only of time? If so, would a curvature only of space, or a ...
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127 views

Why do galaxies “dissappear?”

So, this is a dumb question but a bit of information confused me lately. Before, I figured galaxies were no longer visible by us because their luminosity decreased in an inverse square manner. ...
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291 views

Is spacetime all that exists?

Someone claiming to have studied physics is telling me that spacetime is all that exists and that this fact is the basis of modern physics. When I said matter/energy also exists in its various forms, ...
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408 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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Time Dilation Effects from simply being on a spinning planet orbiting a star in a rotating galaxy in an expanding universe.

I am a layman, so take this with a grain of salt. I saw a TV show the other day which showed a Russian Cosmonaut who had spent more time in space than any other human. The relativistic effects of ...
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191 views

Expansion of the universe and strain

From cosmological models that involve expansion of the universe, can we not say that there are ever increasing tidal forces felt by solid bodies? If so, the material in solid bodies like metal ...
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120 views

Can the vanishing of the Riemann tensor be determined from causal relations?

Given a Lorentzian manifold and metric tensor, "$( M, g )$", the corresponding causal relations between its elements (events) may be derived; i.e. for every pair (in general) of distinct events in set ...
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371 views

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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In general relativity (GR), does time stop at the event horizon or in the central singularity of a black hole?

I was reading through this question on time and big bang, and @John Rennie's answer surprised me. In the immediate environment of a black hole, where does time stop ticking if one were to follow a ...
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composition of space expansion and movement as a gauge invariance

suppose i have a space-time where we have one point-like object* which we will call movement space probe or $\mathbf{M}_{A}$ for short, and it will be moving with constant velocity $V^A_{\mu}$ in ...
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168 views

Testing General Relativity

Ever since Einstein published his GR theory in 1916, there have been numerous experimental tests to confirm its correctness--and has passed with flying colors. NASA and Stanford have just announced ...
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115 views

About the speed of light and gravity

I read (I think ) that part of relativity theory is that a strong gravitational field distorts the uniform passage of time. If this is true and a lightwave 'travelling' to Earth passes a star near ...
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68 views

What are the factors affecting the spacetime curvature?

Large masses in space as stars and planets cause a curvature in the spacetime fabric. What are the factors that affect this curvature? Is it only mass? And can we conclude these factors using Tensors? ...
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179 views

How much extra distance to an event horizon?

How much extra distance would I have to travel through space to get from Earth to a stellar mass event horizon? (compared to the same point in space without a black hole)
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147 views

Dimension & non - locality problem in string theory

I have some questions with string theory: Why is it that there is exactly 4 large spacetime dimensions while the rest remain small? It is a nonlocal QFT. How could that fit in GR?
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114 views

Einstein +Maxwell 's tensor

Why is it true that we can deduce that Einstein's GR equations coupled with Maxwell's EM equations may be written in the form $$R_{ij}=C(F_{ik}F_j^{\,\,k}-{1\over 4}g_{ij}F_{mn}F^{mn})$$ without ...
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286 views

Are the intersections of past and future light cones spacelike?

Given a timelike reference worldline (not necessarily geodesic), we can define light-cone coordinates $\tau^+$ and $\tau^-$ so that the 3-D hypersurfaces of constant $\tau^+$ are past light cones of ...
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3answers
239 views

Where 2 comes from in formula for Schwarzschild radius?

In general theory of relativity I've seen several times this factor: $$(1-\frac{2GM}{rc^2}),$$ e.g. in the Schwarzschild metric for a black hole, but I still don't know in this factor where 2 comes ...
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206 views

How can things at the event horizon slow down and appear to stop to a remote observer?

So they say the remote observer will never see anything fallen to the black hole, because any object will slow down as it gets closer to the event horizon and eventually stop to stay there forever. Am ...
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357 views

Geocentric Model in General Relativity

In classical mechanics, if I want to view the Earth as the fixed center of the solar system, I must accelerate my reference frame to keep it centered on the Earth. That accelerated reference frame ...
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340 views

A question on an assumption of space-time

"A four-dimensional differentiable (Hausdorff and paracompact) manifold $M$ will be called a space time if it possesses a pseudo-Riemannian metric of hyperbolic normal signature $(+,-,-,-)$ and a ...
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87 views

Square of a tensor

I think, $$\sigma_{ij}\sigma^{ij} = \sigma^2.$$ However, on the Wikipedia page on Raychaudhuri equation, It was mentioned: $$\sigma^2=\frac{1}{2}\sigma^{ij}\sigma_{ij}$$ I am confused, but I think ...
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Can relativistic momentum (photons) be used as propulsion for 'free' after the initial generation?

In discussing this question about propelling a spacecraft with photons and their relativistic momentum, the author asked that I restate my comment as another question. If photons can really be used ...
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88 views

Does time pass fastest in isolated, resting space?

While it is fairly established that both fast movement and the presence of gravity make time pass slower as compared to a system at rest / free of gravity, does that mean that there is no way for time ...
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Literature request for books / review papers on gravitation, gauge theories and related mathematics [duplicate]

Similar to this reference, are there more such references / works [including textbooks] available in the literature? (A list would be greatly welcomed and appreciated.) With great appreciation.
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430 views

Does the Big Bang need a cause? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: on causality and The Big Bang Theory Asking here in layman's terms.. When theoretical physicsists discuss the origin of our Universe, the wider consensus appears to be ...
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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" ...
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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_{\ ...
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682 views

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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660 views

Why is there no dynamics in 3D general relativity?

I heard a couple of times that there is no dynamics in 3D (2+1) GR, that it's something like a topological theory. I got the argument in the 2D case (the metric is conformally flat, Einstein equations ...
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What is a good mathematical description of the Non-renormalizability of gravity?

By now everybody knows that gravity is non-renormalizable, what is often lacking is a simplified mathematical description of what that means. Can anybody provide such a description?
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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 ...
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6answers
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Why do we still need to think of gravity as a force?

Firstly I think shades of this question have appeared elsewhere (like here, or here). Hopefully mine is a slightly different take on it. If I'm just being thick please correct me. We always hear ...
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Are gravitational waves longitudinal or transverse?

Waves are generally classified as either transverse or longitudinal depending on the they way the propagated quantity is oriented with respect to the direction of propagation. Then what is a ...
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5answers
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Does antimatter curve spacetime in the opposite direction as matter?

According to the Dirac equation, antimatter is the negative energy solution to the following relation: $$E^2 = p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4.$$ And according to general relativity, the Einstein tensor (which ...
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A dictionary of string - standard physics correspondences

Motivated by the (for me very useful) remark ''Standard model generations in string theory are the Euler number of the Calabi Yau, and it is actually reasonably doable to get 4,6,8, or 3 ...
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The Role of Active and Passive Diffeomorphism Invariance in GR

I'd like some clarification regarding the roles of active and passive diffeomorphism invariance in GR between these possibly conflicting sources. 1) Wald writes, after explaining that passive ...
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297 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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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 ...
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371 views

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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Why does no physical energy-momentum tensor exist for the gravitational field?

Starting with the Einstein-Hilbert Lagrangian $$ L_{EH} = -\frac{1}{2}(R + 2\Lambda)$$ one can formally calculate a gravitational energy-momentum tensor $$ T_{EH}^{\mu\nu} = -2 \frac{\delta ...
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3answers
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Why is there a flux of radiation in the Hawking effect but not in the Unruh effect? (and other questions)

This question is slightly related to this one Do all massive bodies emit Hawking radiation?, which I think was poorly posed and so didn't get very useful answers. There are several questions in this ...
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718 views

How does the string worldsheet affect the space-time in which they live?

I don't understand much about string theory and never really got much further past the Nambu-Goto action and very basic supersymmetry (SUSY) lectures in my undergraduate courses, but the only thing ...
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Lorentz invariance of the 3 + 1 decomposition of spacetime

Why is allowed decompose the spacetime metric into a spatial part + temporal part like this for example $$ds^2 ~=~ (-N^2 + N_aN^a)dt^2 + 2N_adtdx^a + q_{ab}dx^adx^b$$ ($N$ is called lapse, $N_a$ is ...
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Was the Higgs mass correctly predicted by asymptotic safety of gravity?

This paper was published in Phys Lett B in 2009, and predicted the Higgs mass to be 126 GeV based on the asymptotic safety of gravity. Is this prediction taken seriously by the theory community, or is ...
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Is general relativity holonomic?

Is it meaningful to ask whether general relativity is holonomic or nonholonomic, and if so, which is it? If not, then does the question become meaningful if, rather than the full dynamics of the ...