The variables used in general relativity to describe the shape of spacetime. If your question is about metric units, use the tag "units", and/or "si-units" if it is about the SI system specifically.

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14
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251 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
801 views

Proving that interval preserving transformations are linear

In almost all proofs I've seen of the Lorentz transformations one starts on the assumption that the required transformations are linear. I'm wondering if there is a way to prove the linearity: Prove ...
14
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4answers
393 views

The Lagrangian as a metric

My question is, can the (classical) Lagrangian be thought of as a metric? That is, is there a meaningful sense in which we can think of the least-action path from the initial to the final ...
13
votes
1answer
436 views

What are the local covariant tensors one can form from the metric?

Normally in differential geometry, we assume that the only way to produce a tensorial quantity by differentiation is to (1) start with a tensor, and then (2) apply a covariant derivative (not a plain ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the space-time interval squared?

The space-time interval equation is this: $$\Delta s^2=\Delta x^2+\Delta y^2+\Delta z^2-(c\Delta t)^2$$ Where, $\Delta x, \Delta y, \Delta z$ and $\Delta t$ represent the distances along various ...
10
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4answers
135 views

Difference between matrix representations of tensors and $\delta^{i}_{j}$ and $\delta_{ij}$?

My question basically is, is Kronecker delta $\delta_{ij}$ or $\delta^{i}_{j}$. Many tensor calculus books (including the one which I use) state it to be the latter, whereas I have also read many ...
10
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3answers
429 views

Equation of motion of a photon in a given metric

I have this metric: $$ds^2=-dt^2+e^tdx^2$$ and I want to find the equation of motion (of x). for that i thought I have two options: using E.L. with the Lagrangian: $L=-\dot t ^2+e^t\dot x ^2 $. ...
10
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1answer
370 views

Causal and Global structure of Penrose Diagrams

What kind of global and causal structures does a Penrose diagram reveal? How do I see (using a Penrose diagram) that two different spacetimes have a similar global and causal structure? Also, I ...
9
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
9
votes
5answers
675 views

Minkowski Metric Signature

When I learned about the Minkowski Space and it's coordinates, it was explained such that the metric turns out to be $$ ds^{2} = -(cdx^{0})^{2} +(dx^{1})^{2} + (dx^{2})^{2} + (dx^{3})^{2} $$ where $ ...
9
votes
2answers
702 views

Question about proper time in general relativity

I think I may have some fundamental misunderstanding about what $dt, dx$ are in general relativity. As I understand it, in special relativity, $ds^2=dt^2-dx^2$, we call this the length because it is ...
9
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1answer
311 views

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}+ ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Minkowski spacetime: Is there a signature (+,+,+,+)?

In history there was an attempt to reach (+, +, +, +) by replacing "ct" with "ict", still employed today in form of the "Wick rotation". Wick rotation supposes that time is imaginary. I wonder if ...
7
votes
4answers
329 views

How do you tell if a metric is curved?

I was reading up on the Kerr metric (from Sean Carroll's book) and something that he said confused me. To start with, the Kerr metric is pretty messy, but importantly, it contains two constants - ...
7
votes
2answers
418 views

Does Kaluza-Klein Theory Require an Additional Scalar Field?

I've seen the Kaluza-Klein metric presented in two different ways., cf. Refs. 1 and 2. In one, there is a constant as well as an additional scalar field introduced: $$\tilde{g}_{AB}=\begin{pmatrix} ...
6
votes
2answers
543 views

Infinitesimal Lorentz transformation is antisymmetric

The Minkowski metric transforms under Lorentz transformations as \begin{align*}\eta_{\rho\sigma} = \eta_{\mu\nu}\Lambda^\mu_{\ \ \ \rho} \Lambda^\nu_{\ \ \ \sigma} \end{align*} I want to show that ...
6
votes
2answers
301 views

Einstein tensor in Friedmann equations : where is the missing $c^2$?

I would like to demonstrate the several forms of the Friedmann equations WITH the $c^2$ factors. Everything is fine ... apart that I have a missing $c^2$ factor somewhere. In all the following $\rho$ ...
6
votes
2answers
203 views

What's the basic premise of General Relativity?

What is the basic assumption(s) required to explore general relativity? For example, if one merely assumes that the speed of light $c$ is the same for all observers, and the laws of physics are the ...
6
votes
1answer
408 views

energy momentum tensor and covariant derivative

In field theory, the energy momentum defined as the functional derivative wrt the metric $T_{\mu\nu}=\frac{2}{\sqrt{-g}}\frac{\delta S}{\delta g^{\mu\nu}}$ (up to a sign depending on ...
5
votes
1answer
278 views

When a variation of a tensor is not a tensor?

In a comment about variation of metric tensor it was shown that $$\delta g_{\mu\nu}=-g_{\mu\rho}g_{\nu\,\sigma}\delta g^{\rho\,\sigma}$$ which is contrary to the usual rule of lowering indeces of a ...
4
votes
2answers
192 views

Difference between slanted indices on a tensor

In my class, there is no distinction made between, $$ C_{ab}{}^{b} $$ and $$ C^{b}{}_{ab}. $$ All I know, and read about so far, is the distinction of covariant and contravariant, form/vector, etc. ...
4
votes
2answers
179 views

Metric tensor in special and general relativity

I'm having trouble understanding the metric tensor in general relativity. What I've understood so far has come from my course lecture notes used in conjunction with "The Road to Reality" by Roger ...
4
votes
4answers
160 views

What makes a coordinate curved?

Bear with me while I try to explain exactly what the question is. The question Can a curvature in time (and not space) cause acceleration? is imagining a coordinate system in which the curvature is ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Non-stationary spacetime

What is an example for a spacetime that is non-stationary that is considered as a description of something in nature? So far all the spacetimes I encounted have always been stationary ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Are third derivatives of metric perturbations zero?

I'm working on a problem related to fluid perturbations of stars. I'm following this paper. They start with the Einstein equation: $$G_{\alpha \beta} = 8 \pi G T_{\alpha \beta}$$ and then perturb the ...
4
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Extent of coordinate freedom to set metric components along a spacetime path

If we describe spacetime with a Lorentzian manifold, it is always possible to choose a coordinate system such that at any particular point $x^\alpha$, the components of the metric are: $$ ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

Some hints for special case of metric tensor in GR

Let's have metric $$ ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2 - 2f(t - z, x, y)(dt - dz)^2. $$ I need to prove that it is an exact solution for Einstein equations in vacuum for $\partial_{x}^{2}f + ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

Intervals as infinitesimals of same order (Landau & Lifshitz)

I don't understand the following statement in Landau & Lifshitz, Classical Theory of Fields, p.5: $ds$ and $ds'$ are infinitesimals of same order. [...] It follows that $ds^2$ and $ds'^2$ must ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Setting $\delta R =0$ on boundary of hypersurface

Does requiring $\delta R=0$ on the boundary of hyper-surface create any restrictions or problems in deriving the field equations from Einstein-Hilbert Action?
4
votes
0answers
81 views

Dirac equation in curved spacetime - found second derivatives of the metric, violation of the principle of equivalence?

I am working on the Dirac equation on curved spacetime. A Foldy-Wouthuysen transformation was applied to obtain the semiclassical limit of the equation to study the dynamics of the spin of the ...
4
votes
0answers
335 views

How to prove that Weyl tensor is invariant under conformal transformations?

I need to verify that the solution for vanishing Weyl tensor is conformally flat metric $g_{\mu\nu} = e^{2\varphi}\eta_{\mu\nu}$. The most convenient way to show this is to prove that Weyl tensor is ...
3
votes
3answers
762 views

How the Lorentz transformation affects the metric tensor?

After performing a Lorentz transformation, the orthogonal coordinates will become askew, as in the following figure: and in such coordinate system, according to this Wikipedia article, the metric ...
3
votes
3answers
84 views

Metric signature conventions: minus sign for $x^a$ or $x_a$?

Say I use the metric signature $(-+++)$. Then $\partial_a=(\partial_0,\partial_i)=(-\partial^0,\partial^i)$, but $\partial^a=(\partial^0,\partial^i)=(-\partial_0,\partial_i)$. The same goes for $p^a$ ...
3
votes
1answer
265 views

Can the overall sign of the Minkowski metric be changed?

If we take the Minkowski metric, $\eta_{\mu\nu}=(1,-1,-1,-1)$, instead of the usual $(-1,1,1,1)$, does this change the form of the Lorentz Transform? I think the standard Lorentz Transform looks like: ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the Schwarzschild metric with proper radial distance?

Reading the marvellous book "The Membrane Paradigm" I stumbled upon a suggested change of variable that I'm not able to deal with. Starting with the usual Schwarzschild metric for the spatial ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Would this be a metric?

would a matrix $M$ with diagonal entries not necessarily equal 1, i.e. diag $M = (a,1,1,1)$ be a metric if $a \neq 1$ or $\neq 0$? I.e. in this case would this be like some sort of more general ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Why does the Kruskal diagram extend to all 4 quadrants?

Why is it that the Kruskal diagram is always seen extended to all 4 quadrants when the definitions of the $U,V$ coordinates don't seem to suggest that the coordinates are not defined in, say, the 3rd ...
3
votes
3answers
451 views

How scalar curvature of following spacetime can be equal to zero?

For an interval of this spacetime, $$ ds^{2} = c^{2}dt^{2} - c^{2}t^{2}(d \psi^{2} + sh^{2}(\psi )(d \theta^{2} + sin^{2}(\theta )d \varphi^{2})), $$ scalar curvature is equal to zero. Also, Ricci ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Question on index notation and metric tensor

I found this expression in my SR notes: $$ (\Lambda^{-1})^{\lambda}_{\ \ \ \sigma} = g^{\lambda\mu}~\Lambda^{\rho}_{\ \ \ \mu} ~g_{\rho\sigma} = \Lambda_\sigma^{\ \ \ \lambda}$$ I know where it ...
3
votes
3answers
401 views

Relation between the determinants of metric tensors

Recently I have started to study the classical theory of gravity. In Landau, Classical Theory of Field, paragraph 84 ("Distances and time intervals") , it is written We also state that the ...
3
votes
2answers
476 views

Metric coefficients in rotating coordinates

Let $(t,x,y,z)$ be the standard coordinates on $\mathbb{R}^4$ and consider the Minkowski metric $$ds^2 = -dt^2+dx^2+dy^2+dz^2.$$ I am trying to compute the metric coefficients under the change of ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Ricci flat compact manifold with $U(1)\times{}SU(2)\times{}SU(3)$ isometry group?

As the title says, is it possible to have a Riemannian Ricci flat compact manifold with $U(1)\times{}SU(2)\times{}SU(3) $ isometry group?
3
votes
2answers
375 views

Polyakov action: difference induced metric and dynamical metric

The Polyakov action is given by: $$ S_p ~=~ -\frac{T}{2}\int d^2\sigma \sqrt{-g}g^{\alpha\beta}\partial_{\alpha}X^{\mu}\partial_{\beta}X^{\nu}\eta_{\mu\nu} ~=~ -\frac{T}{2}\int d^2\sigma ...
3
votes
2answers
335 views

Visualization of de Sitter spaces

When I was reading about de Sitter it said that the we looked in 5-dimensional Minkowski metric and that we had immersed in it a hyperboloid, and with some coordinate transformation we get some metric ...
3
votes
2answers
245 views

The signature of the metric and the definition of the electromagnetic tensor

I've read the definition of the electromagnetic field tensor to be ...
3
votes
1answer
244 views

Material strain from spacetime curvature

Let's say that you moved an object made of rigid materials into a place with extreme tidal forces. Materials have a modulus of elasticity and a yield strength. Does the corresponding 3D geometric ...
3
votes
1answer
224 views

What's the importance of conformal transformations in general relativity?

I tried to understand the importance of conformal transformations in general relativity, but I failed. I didn't see that conformal transformations help to simplify the metrics, and also I didn't see ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

Index raising and lowering - how does it work?

In the context of four-dimensional spacetime, how does the metric turn a tangent vector into a gradient, and vice versa? By this I mean that I know the metric can be used to raise and lower indices: ...
3
votes
1answer
477 views

Derivation of the volume element (which uses the metric tensor)?

I have often seen $\sqrt{-g}$ in integrals, especially actions, where $g=\mathrm{det}(g_{\mu \nu})$. Does anyone know of a derivation that shows that this is indeed the volume element which must be ...