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't Hooft - Introduction to General Relativity

't Hooft - Introduction to General Relativity

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Published by: cematam on Oct 21, 2011
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G. ’t HooftInstitute for Theoretical PhysicsUtrecht University,Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, the Netherlandsversion 8/4/20021
PROLOGUEGeneral relativity is a beautiful scheme for describing the gravitational field and the equations it obeys.Nowadays this theory is often used as a prototype for other, more intricate constructions to describe forcesbetween elementary particles or other branches of fundamental physics. This is why in an introduction togeneral relativity it is of importance to separate as clearly as possible the various ingredients that togethergive shape to this paradigm. After explaining the physical motivations we first introduce curved coordinates,then add to this the notion of an affine connection field and only as a later step add to that the metric field.One then sees clearly how space and time get more and more structure, until finally all we have to do isdeduce Einstein’s field equations.These notes materialized when I was asked to present some lectures on General Relativity. Small changeswere made over the years. I decided to make them freely available on the web, via my home page. Somereaders expressed their irritation over the fact that after 12 pages I switch notation: the
in the timecomponents of vectors disappears, and the metric becomes the
+ ++ metric. Why this “inconsistency”in the notation?There were two reasons for this. The transition is made where we proceed from
relativity to
relativity. In special relativity, the
has a considerable practical advantage: Lorentz transformationsare orthogonal, and all inner products only come with + signs. No confusion over signs remain. The use of a
+ ++ metric, or worse even, a +
− −
metric, inevitably leads to sign errors. In
relativity,however, the
is superfluous. Here, we need to work with the quantity
anyway. Choosing it to benegative rarely leads to sign errors or other problems.But there is another pedagogical point. I see no reason to shield students against the phenomenon of changes of convention and notation. Such transitions are necessary whenever one switches from one field of research to another. They better get used to it.As for applications of the theory, the usual ones such as the gravitational red shift, the Schwarzschildmetric, the perihelion shift and light deflection are pretty standard. They can be found in the cited literatureif one wants any further details. In this new version of my lecture notes, mainly chapter 14 was revised,partly due to the recent claims that the effects of a non-vanishing cosmological constant have been detected,but also because I found that the treatment could be adapted more to standard literature on cosmologyand at the same time the exposition could be improved. Finally, I do pay extra attention to an applicationthat may well become important in the near future: gravitational radiation. The derivations given are oftentedious, but they can be produced rather elegantly using standard Lagrangian methods from field theory,which is what will be demonstrated. When teaching this material, I found that this last chapter is stilla bit too technical for an elementary course, but I leave it there anyway, just because it is omitted fromintroductory text books a bit too often.I thank A. van der Ven for a careful reading of the manuscript.2
LITERATUREC.W. Misner, K.S. Thorne and J.A. Wheeler, “Gravitation”, W.H. Freeman and Comp., San Francisco 1973,ISBN 0-7167-0344-0.R. Adler, M. Bazin, M. Schiffer, “Introduction to General Relativity”, Mc.Graw-Hill 1965.R. M. Wald, “General Relativity”, Univ. of Chicago Press 1984.P.A.M. Dirac, “General Theory of Relativity”, Wiley Interscience 1975.S. Weinberg, “Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity”,J. Wiley & Sons, 1972S.W. Hawking, G.F.R. Ellis, “The large scale structure of space-time”, Cambridge Univ. Press 1973.S. Chandrasekhar, “The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes”, Clarendon Press, Oxford Univ. Press, 1983Dr. A.D. Fokker, “Relativiteitstheorie”, P. Noordhoff, Groningen, 1929.J.A. Wheeler, “A Journey into Gravity and Spacetime”, Scientific American Library, New York, 1990, distr.by W.H. Freeman & Co, New York.H. Stephani, “General Relativity: An introduction to the theory of the gravitational field”, CambridgeUniversity Press, 1990.3

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