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Lecture Notes on General Relativity Matthias Blau Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics Institut f¨ur

Lecture Notes on General Relativity

Matthias Blau

Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics Institut f¨ur Theoretische Physik Universit¨at Bern CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

These notes are also available from

http://www.blau.itp.unibe.ch/Lecturenotes.html

Last update March 28, 2011

1

Contents

0.1 Introduction

 

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8

0.2 Caveats and Omissions

 

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8

Part I: Towards the Einstein Equations

 

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1 From the Einstein Equivalence Principle to Geodesics

 

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1.1 Motivation: The Einstein Equivalence Principle

 

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1.2 Accelerated Observers and the Rindler Metric

 

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1.3 General Coordinate Transformations in Minkowski Space

 

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1.4 Metrics and Coordinate Transformations

 

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1.5 The Geodesic Equation and Christoffel Symbols

 

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1.6 Christoffel Symbols and Coordinate Transformations

 

31

2 The Physics and Geometry of Geodesics

 

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2.1 An Alternative Variational Principle for Geodesics

 

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2.2 A Simple Example

 

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36

2.3 More on Geodesics and the Variational Principle

 

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2.4 The Newtonian Limit

 

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40

2.5 The Gravitational Red-Shift

 

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43

2.6 Locally Inertial and Riemann Normal Coordinates

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45

3 Tensor Algebra

 

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3.1

From the Einstein Equivalence Principle to the Principle of General Covariance .

 

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3.2

Tensors

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50

3.3 Tensor Algebra

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53

3.4 Tensor Densities

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54

3.5 * A Coordinate-Independent Interpretation of Tensors

 

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4 Tensor Analysis

 

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4.1 Tensor Analysis: Preliminary Remarks

 

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4.2 The Covariant Derivative for Vector Fields

 

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4.3 * Invariant Interpretation of the Covariant Derivative

 

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4.4 Extension of the Covariant Derivative to Other Tensor Fields

 

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2

4.5

Main Properties of the Covariant Derivative

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4.6 Tensor Analysis: Some Special Cases

 

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63

4.7 Covariant Differentiation Along a Curve

 

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4.8 Parallel Transport and Geodesics

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67

4.9 * Generalisations

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68

5 Physics in a Gravitational Field

 

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5.1 The Principle of Minimal Coupling

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70

5.2 Particle Mechanics in a Gravitational Field Revisited

 

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5.3 The Klein-Gordon Scalar Field in a Gravitational Field

 

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5.4 The Maxwell Equations in a Gravitational Field

 

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5.5 Conserved Quantities from Covariantly Conserved Currents

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73

5.6 Conserved Quantities from Covariantly Conserved Tenso rs?

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74

6 The Lie Derivative, Symmetries and Killing Vectors

 

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6.1 Symmetries of a Metric (Isometries): Preliminary Remar ks

 

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6.2 The Lie Derivative for Scalars

 

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76

6.3 The Lie Derivative for Vector Fields

 

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77

6.4 The Lie Derivative for other Tensor Fields

 

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6.5 The Lie Derivative of the Metric and Killing Vectors

 

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6.6 Killing Vectors and Conserved Quantities

 

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7 Curvature I: The Riemann Curvature Tensor

 

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7.1 Curvature: Preliminary Remarks

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83

7.2 The Riemann Curvature Tensor from the Commutator of Cova riant Derivatives .

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7.3 Symmetries and Algebraic Properties of the Riemann Tens or

 

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7.4 The Ricci Tensor and the Ricci Scalar

 

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88

7.5 An Example: The Curvature Tensor of the Two-Sphere

 

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7.6 Bianchi Identities

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90

7.7 Another Look at the Principle of General Covariance

 

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8 Curvature II: Geometry and Curvature

 

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8.1 Intrinsic Geometry, Curvature and Parallel Transport

 

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8.2 Vanishing Riemann Tensor and Existence of Flat Coordina tes

 

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3

8.3 The Geodesic Deviation Equation

 

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8.4 * The Raychaudhuri Equation

 

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100

9 Towards the Einstein Equations

 

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9.1 Heuristics

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103

9.2 A More Systematic Approach

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104

9.3 The Weak-Field Limit

 

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105

9.4 The Einstein Equations

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106

9.5 Significance of the Bianchi Identities

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107

9.6 * Comments on the Initial Value Problem and the Canonical Formalism

 

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9.7 The Cosmological Constant

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109

9.8 * The Weyl Tensor and the Propagation of Gravity

 

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10 The Einstein Equations from a Variational Principle

 

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10.1 The Einstein-Hilbert Action

 

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111

10.2 The Matter Lagrangian

 

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115

10.3 Consequences of the Variational Principle

 

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Part II: Selected Applications of General Relativity

 

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11 The Schwarzschild Metric

 

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11.1 Introduction .

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118

11.2 Static Isotropic Metrics

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118

11.3 Solving the Einstein Equations for a Static Spherically Symmetric Metric

 

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11.4 Basic Properties of the Schwarzschild Metric - the Schwarzschild Radius

 

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11.5 Measuring Length and Time in the Schwarzschild Metric

 

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11.6 Stationary Observers

 

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127

12 Particle and Photon Orbits in the Schwarzschild Geometry

 

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12.1 From Conserved Quantities to the Effective Potential

 

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12.2 The Equation for the Shape of the Orbit

 

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131

12.3 Timelike Geodesics

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132

12.4 The Anomalous Precession of the Perihelia of the Planetary Orbits

 

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12.5 Null Geodesics

 

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138

12.6 The Bending of Light by a Star: 3 Derivations

 

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4

12.7

A Unified Description in terms of the Runge-Lenz Vector

 

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145

13 Approaching and Crossing the Schwarzschild Radius r S

 

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13.1 Vertical Free Fall

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149

13.2 Vertical Free Fall as seen by a Distant Observer

 

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13.3 Infinite Gravitational Red-Shift

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151

13.4 The Geometry Near r s and Minkowski Space in Rindler Coordinates

 

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13.5 Tortoise Coordinates

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153

13.6 Eddington-Finkelstein Coordinates, Black Holes and E vent Horizons

 

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13.7 The Kruskal-Szekeres Metric

 

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158

13.8 * Varia on Black Holes and Gravitational Collapse

 

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14 Interlude: Maximally Symmetric Spaces

 

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14.1 Preliminary Remarks

 

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169

14.2 Curvature and Killing Vectors

 

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169

14.3 Homogeneous, Isotropic and Maximally Symmetric Spaces

 

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14.4 The Curvature Tensor of a Maximally Symmetric Space

 

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14.5 The Metric of a Maximally Symmetric Space I

 

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14.6 The Metric of a Maximally Symmetric Space II

 

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14.7 The Metric of a Maximally Symmetric Space III

175

15 Cosmology I: Basics

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15.1 Preliminary Remarks

 

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176

15.2 Fundamental Observations I: The Cosmological Principle

 

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15.3 Fundamental Observations II: Olbers’ Paradox

 

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15.4 Fundamental Observations III: The Hubble Expansion

 

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15.5 Mathematical Model: the Robertson-Walker Metric

 

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15.6 * Area Measurements in a Robertson-Walker Metric and Number Counts

 

183

15.7 The Cosmological Red-Shift

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186

15.8 The Red-Shift Distance Relation (Hubble’s Law)

 

188

16 Cosmology II: Basics of Friedmann-Robertson-Walker Cosmology

 

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16.1 The Ricci Tensor of the Robertson-Walker Metric

 

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16.2 The Matter Content: A Perfect Fluid

 

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191

5

16.3 Conservation Laws

 

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194

16.4 The Einstein and Friedmann Equations

 

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17 Cosmology III: Qualitative Analysis

 

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17.1 The Big Bang

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197

17.2 The Age of the Universe

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198

17.3 Long Term Behaviour

 

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198

17.4 Density Parameters and the Critical Density

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199

17.5 The Universe Today

 

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202

18 Cosmology IV: Exact Solutions

 

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18.1 Preliminaries

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203

18.2 The Einstein Universe

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205

18.3 The Matter Dominated Era

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206

18.4 The Radiation Dominated Era

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207

18.5 The Vacuum Dominated Era: (Anti-) de Sitter Space

 

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19 Linearised Gravity and Gravitational Waves

 

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19.1 Preliminary Remarks

 

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209

19.2 The Linearised Einstein Equations

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209

19.3 Gauge Freedom and Coordinate Choices

 

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19.4 The Wave Equation

 

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