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Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, PHY 27

Professor Susskind
Session 11, December 1, 2008

Summary of Concepts

Space-Time Diagrams

Can unfold space if and only if after the unfolding the distances
between all points of the space remain the same as prior to the
unfolding.

A geodesic curve is a curve for which the covariant derivative of


the tangent vector is 0 and for which proper time is an extremum
(principle of least time). Geodesic maximizes proper time and
minimizes kinetic energy.

d! = g µ" # dx µ # dx"

Consider now a reference frame with uniform acceleration for


which the accelerating observer feels constant acceleration. For
Newtonian relativity, the world lines are parabolas.
1 2
! a! t " x k
2

However, this is not correct because the observer cannot exceed


the speed of light. The Lorentz invariant is x 2 ! t 2 = c 2 (invariant
over the Loretz transformation), which insures that the observer
never exceeds the speed of light. The path of constant acceleration
changes from a parabola to a hyperbola. Consider the family of
curves in the time-space diagram whereby

2 2 2
t t t
x ! 2 = 1, x 2 ! 2 = 4, x 2 ! 2 = 9, etc...
2

c c c
Lorentzian Space-time with Constant Acceleration

Light Cone
World Line 2
t ' !"
2 x$
World Line % k
#c&
World Line
World Line
t (time)

x (space)

The constant acceleration of an observer on a world line is the


inverse of the distance from the origin. Suppose such an observer
release a rock such that is stops where it is dropped (line with
arrow). The observer accelerates away from the rock. The
observer sees the rock move ever more slowly toward the light
cone, but never sees it cross as it takes an infinite amount of time
because the rock approaches the cone asymptotically. Objects that
are above the light cone cannot communicate with objects below
the line because light cannot exceed c. So the light cone is like an
event horizon.

We can change to polar coordinates as follows.

x = r !cosh "( )
t = r !sinh (" )

Constant ! is constant time. Along the trajectory r is fixed,


whereby d! = r " d# . The metric is

( )
dx = dr !cosh " + r !sinh " ( )
dt = dr !sinh y (" ) + r !cosh (" )

d! 2 = dt 2 " dx 2 = r 2 # d$ 2 " dr 2

" 2 0 %
g=$ r '
# 0 !1 &

Rindler space is the name of a uniformly accelerated coordinate


space, and ! is Rindler time. The light cone is given by r = 0 .
Now consider 3-D space.

ds 2 = R 2 ! d" 2 + R !sin 2 " ! d# 2 + dR 2


= dR 2 + R 2 ! d$2

Metric of flat space-time is

d! 2 = dt 2 " dR 2 " R 2 # d$2


The solution to Einstein’s equation at a point outside of a
spherically symmetric mass is as follows.

$ 2 # M #G ' 2 1
d! 2 = & 1" # dt " # dR 2 " R 2 # d*2
% R )( 2 # M #G
1"
R
end lecture #11