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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3answers
208 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
280 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
401 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
334 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
votes
3answers
2k 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
3answers
328 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 $. ...
9
votes
2answers
620 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
votes
1answer
298 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}+ ...
7
votes
5answers
466 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 $ ...
6
votes
4answers
277 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 - ...
6
votes
2answers
334 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
335 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
273 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
182 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
171 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
1answer
111 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
215 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
1answer
107 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
83 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
140 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
86 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
255 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
590 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
1answer
248 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
104 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
141 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
385 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
2answers
394 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
3answers
320 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
337 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
180 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
139 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
117 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
314 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
387 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
208 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
2answers
744 views

Null geodesic given metric

I (desperately) need help with the following: What is the null geodesic for the space time $$ds^2=-x^2 dt^2 +dx^2?$$ I don't know how to transform a metric into a geodesic...! There is no need to ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Schwarzschild geodesics

I've found on Wikipedia that energy $E$ and angular momentum $L$ of a particle are conserved quantities in Schwarzschild metric. It's written: $$L=mr^2 \frac {d\phi} {d\tau},$$ ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

The most general form of the metric for a homogeneous, isotropic and static space-time

What is the most general form of the metric for a homogeneous, isotropic and static space-time? For the first 2 criteria, the Robertson-Walker metric springs to mind. (I shall adopt the (-+++) ...
3
votes
0answers
56 views

Squashed 3-sphere?

What is a squashed 3-sphere? In context of quantum gravity. I stumbled upon a term 'squashed 7 sphere' but that's concerning supersymmetry. Is it just normal 3-sphere metric, that is just 'squashed' ...
3
votes
0answers
91 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 + ...
3
votes
0answers
95 views

About Dirac equation in curved spacetime (spherical)

I would like to ask you about the separation of variables of the Dirac equation in curved space-time. The metric is given by $$ds^{2}=-dt^{2}+dr^{2}+r^{2}d\theta^{2}+\alpha^{2}r^{2}\sin^{2}\theta ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

Question from Schutz's

In q. 22 in page 141, I am asked to show that if $U^{\alpha}\nabla_{\alpha} V^{\beta} = W^{\beta}$, then $U^{\alpha}\nabla_{\alpha}V_{\beta}=W_{\beta}$. Here's what I have done: $V_{\beta}=g_{\beta ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

D'Alembertian for a scalar field

I have read that the D'Alembertian for a scalar field is $$ \Box = g^{\nu\mu}\nabla_\nu\nabla_\mu = \frac{1}{\sqrt{-g}}\partial_\mu (\sqrt{-g}\partial^\mu). $$ Exactly when is this correct? Only for ...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

Lightcone coordinates

The Light cone coordinates are defined as $$x^+ = x^0 + x^3$$ $$x^- = x^0 - x^3$$ Then in the light cone coordinates the position 4-vector becomes: $(x^+, x^-, x^1, x^2)$ . Zwiebach in his A First ...
2
votes
3answers
195 views

Clarifying what metric counts as flat space

In (2D) Cartesian coordinates, the Euclidean metric... $$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix}$$ ...is flat space. If the diagonal elements are exchanged for other real numbers ...
2
votes
1answer
93 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Hypersurface Normal

Could anyone explain why $$n^{a}n_{a}=\pm1$$ where $n^{a}$ is the normal to the hypersurface
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Affine connection notation

Can ${g}^{\mu\sigma}{\Gamma}^{\rho}_{\sigma\nu}$ be written as ${\Gamma}^{\mu\rho}_{\nu}$? If so how come this symbol never appears in any GR book?
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Distinguish between Past and Future

When writing the metric in Minkowski space, how can we distinguish between the past and the future? I understand the answer after drawing the light cone but I want to know how we get that by just ...