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org/wiki/Christoffel_symbols

Christoffel symbols

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In mathematics and physics, the Christoffel symbols are an array of numbers describing a metric connection.[1]

The metric connection is a specialization of the affine connection to surfaces or other manifolds endowed with a

metric, allowing distances to be measured on that surface. In differential geometry, an affine connection can be

defined without any reference to a metric, and many additional concepts follow: parallel transport, covariant

derivatives, geodesics, etc. also do not require the concept of a metric.[2][3] However, when a metric is available,

these concepts can be directly tied to the "shape" of the manifold itself; that shape is determined by how the

tangent space is attached to the cotangent space by the metric tensor.[4] Abstractly, one would say that the

manifold has an associated (orthonormal) frame bundle, with each "frame" being a possible choice of a

coordinate frame. An invariant metric implies that the structure group of the frame bundle is the orthogonal

group SO(m,n). As a result, such a manifold is necessarily a (pseudo-)Riemannian manifold.[5][6] The

Christoffel symbols provide a concrete representation of the connection of (pseudo-)Riemannian geometry in

terms of coordinates on the manifold. Additional concepts, such as parallel transport, geodesics, etc. can then be

expressed in terms of Christoffel symbols.

In general, there are an infinite number of metric connections for a given metric tensor; however, there is one,

unique connection, the Levi-Civita connection, that is free of any torsion. It is very common in physics and

general relativity to work almost exclusively with the Levi-Civita connection, by working in coordinate frames

(called holonomic coordinates) where the torsion vanishes.

At each point of the underlying n-dimensional manifold, for any local coordinate system around that point, the

Christoffel symbols are denoted ijk for i, j, k = 1, 2, , n. Each entry of this n n n array is a real

number. Under linear coordinate transformations on the manifold, the Christoffel symbols transform like the

components of a tensor, but under general coordinate transformations (diffeomorphisms) they do not. Most of

the algebraic properties of the Christoffel symbols follow from their relationship to the affine connection; only a

few follow from the fact that the structure group is the orthogonal group SO(m,n) (or the Lorentz group

SO(3,1) for general relativity).

Christoffel symbols are used for performing practical calculations. For example, the Riemann curvature tensor

can be expressed entirely in terms of the Christoffel symbols and their first partial derivatives. In general

relativity, the connection plays the role of the gravitational force field with the corresponding gravitational

potential being the metric tensor. When the coordinate system and the metric tensor share some symmetry, many

of the ijk are zero.

The Christoffel symbols are named for Elwin Bruno Christoffel (18291900).[7]

Contents

1 Preliminaries

2 Definition

2.1 Christoffel symbols of the first kind

2.2 Christoffel symbols of the second kind (symmetric definition)

2.3 Connection coefficients in a nonholonomic basis

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Christoffel symbols - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoffel_symbols

3 Relationship to index-free notation

4 Covariant derivatives of tensors

4.1 Contravariant derivatives of tensors

5 Change of variable

6 Applications to general relativity

7 See also

8 Notes

9 References

Preliminaries

The definitions given below are valid for both Riemannian manifolds and pseudo-Riemannian manifolds, such

as those of general relativity, with careful distinction being made between upper and lower indices (contra-

variant and co-variant indices). The formulas hold for either sign convention, unless otherwise noted.

Einstein summation convention is used in this article. The connection coefficients of the Levi-Civita connection

(or pseudo-Riemannian connection) expressed in a coordinate basis are called "Christoffel symbols."

Definition

Given a local coordinate system xi for i = 1, 2, , n on an n-manifold M with metric tensor g, the tangent

vectors

define a local coordinate basis of the tangent space to M at each point of its domain.

The Christoffel symbols of the first kind can be derived either from the Christoffel symbols of the second kind

and the metric,[8]

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Christoffel symbols - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoffel_symbols

The Christoffel symbols of the second kind are the connection coefficientsin a coordinate basisof the

Levi-Civita connection, and since this connection has zero torsion, then in this basis the connection coefficients

are symmetric, i.e., .[12] For this reason a torsion-free connection is often called 'symmetric'.

k k

In other words, the Christoffel symbols of the second kind[12][13] kij (sometimes ij or {ij})[7][12] are defined

as the unique coefficients such that the equation

holds, where i is the Levi-Civita connection on M taken in the coordinate direction ei, i.e., i ei and

where ei = i is a local coordinate (holonomic) basis.

The Christoffel symbols can be derived from the vanishing of the covariant derivative of the metric tensor gik:

As a shorthand notation, the nabla symbol and the partial derivative symbols are frequently dropped, and instead

a semicolon and a comma are used to set off the index that is being used for the derivative. Thus, the above is

sometimes written as

Using that the symbols are symmetric in the lower two indices, one can solve explicitly for the Christoffel

symbols as a function of the metric tensor by permuting the indices and resumming:[11]

where (gjk) is the inverse of the matrix (gjk), defined as (using the Kronecker delta, and Einstein notation for

summation) gjigik = jk. Although the Christoffel symbols are written in the same notation as tensors with

index notation, they are not tensors,[14] since they do not transform like tensors under a change of coordinates;

see below.

The Christoffel symbols are most typically defined in a coordinate basis, which is the convention followed here.

In other words, the name Christoffel symbols is reserved only for coordinate (i.e., holonomic) frames.

However, the connection coefficients can also be defined in an arbitrary (i.e., nonholonomic) basis of tangent

vectors ui by

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where cklm = gmpcklp are the commutation coefficients of the basis; that is,

where uk are the basis vectors and [ , ] is the Lie bracket. The standard unit vectors in spherical and cylindrical

coordinates furnish an example of a basis with non-vanishing commutation coefficients. The difference between

the connection in such a frame, and the Levi-Civita connection is known as the contorsion tensor.

When we choose the basis Xi ui orthonormal: gab ab = Xa, Xb then gmk,l mk,l = 0. This implies

that

and the connection coefficients become antisymmetric in the first two indices:

where

In this case, the connection coefficients abc are called the Ricci rotation coefficients.[15][16]

Let X and Y be vector fields with components Xi and Yk. Then the kth component of the covariant derivative of

Y with respect to X is given by

Here, the Einstein notation is used, so repeated indices indicate summation over indices and contraction with the

metric tensor serves to raise and lower indices:

Keep in mind that gik gik and that gik = ik, the Kronecker delta. The convention is that the metric tensor is

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the one with the lower indices; the correct way to obtain gik from gik is to solve the linear equations

gijgjk = ik.

is equivalent to the statement thatin a coordinate basisthe Christoffel symbol is symmetric in the lower two

indices:

The index-less transformation properties of a tensor are given by pullbacks for covariant indices, and

pushforwards for contravariant indices. The article on covariant derivatives provides additional discussion of the

correspondence between index-free notation and indexed notation.

The covariant derivative of a vector field Vm is

for any scalar field, but in general the covariant derivatives of higher order tensor fields do not commute (see

curvature tensor).

that is,

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and if the tensor field is of type (0,2) then its covariant derivative is

To find the contravariant derivative of a vector field, we must first transform it into a covariant derivative using

the metric tensor

Change of variable

Under a change of variable from (y1, , yn) to (x1, , xn), vectors transform as

and so

where the overline denotes the Christoffel symbols in the y coordinate system. Note that the Christoffel symbol

does not transform as a tensor, but rather as an object in the jet bundle. More precisely, the Christoffel symbols

can be considered as functions on the jet bundle of the frame bundle of M, independent of any local coordinate

system. Choosing a local coordinate system determines a local section of this bundle, which can then be used to

pull back the Christoffel symbols to functions on M, though of course these functions then depend on the choice

of local coordinate system.

At each point, there exist coordinate systems in which the Christoffel symbols vanish at the point.[17] These are

called (geodesic) normal coordinates, and are often used in Riemannian geometry.

The Christoffel symbols find frequent use in Einstein's theory of general relativity, where spacetime is

represented by a curved 4-dimensional Lorentz manifold with a Levi-Civita connection. The Einstein field

equationswhich determine the geometry of spacetime in the presence of mattercontain the Ricci tensor, and

so calculating the Christoffel symbols is essential. Once the geometry is determined, the paths of particles and

light beams are calculated by solving the geodesic equations in which the Christoffel symbols explicitly appear.

See also

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Christoffel symbols - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoffel_symbols

Proofs involving Christoffel symbols

Differentiable manifold

List of formulas in Riemannian geometry

Ricci calculus

RiemannChristoffel tensor

GaussCodazzi equations

Example computation of Christoffel symbols

Notes

1. See, for instance, (Spivak 1999) and (Choquet-Bruhat & DeWitt-Morette 1977)

2. Ronald Adler, Maurice Bazin, Menahem Schiffer, Introduction to General Relativity (1965) McGraw-Hill Book

Company ISBN 0-07-000423-4 (See section 2.1)

3. Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler, Gravitation (1973) W. H,. Freeman ISBN 0-7167-0334-3

(See chapters 8-11)

4. Misner, Thorne, Wheeler, op. cit. (See chapter 13)

5. Jurgen Jost, Riemannian Geometry and Geometric Analysis, (2002) Springer-Verlag ISBN 3-540-42627-2

6. David Bleeker, Gauge Theory and Variational Principles (1991) Addison-Wesely Publishing Company ISBN

0-201-10096-7

7. Christoffel, E.B. (1869), "Ueber die Transformation der homogenen Differentialausdrcke zweiten Grades"

(http://gdz.sub.uni-goettingen.de/dms/load/img/?PPN=GDZPPN002153882&IDDOC=266356), Journal fr die reine

und angewandte Mathematik, B70: 4670

8. Ludvigsen, Malcolm (1999), General Relativity: A Geometrical Approach, p. 88

9. Chatterjee, U.; Chatterjee, N. (2010). Vector and Tensor Analysis. p. 480.

10. Struik, D.J. (1961). Lectures on Classical Differential Geometry (first published in 1988 Dover ed.). p. 114.

11. Bishop, R.L.; Goldberg (1968), Tensor Analysis on Manifolds, p. 241

12. Chatterjee, U.; Chatterjee, N. (2010). Vector & Tensor Analysis. p. 480.

13. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/ChristoffelSymboloftheSecondKind.html.

14. See, for example, (Kreyszig 1991), page 141

15. G. Ricci-Curbastro (1896). "Dei sistemi di congruenze ortogonali in una variet qualunque". Mem. Acc. Lincei. 2 (5):

276322.

16. H. Levy (1925). "Ricci's coefficients of rotation" (http://projecteuclid.org/DPubS?service=UI&version=1.0&

verb=Display&handle=euclid.bams/1183486405). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 31 (3-4): 142145.

doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1925-03996-8 (https://doi.org/10.1090%2Fs0002-9904-1925-03996-8).

17. This is assuming that the connection is symmetric (e.g., the Levi-Civita connection). If the connection has torsion,

then only the symmetric part of the Christoffel symbol can be made to vanish.

References

Abraham, Ralph; Marsden, Jerrold E. (1978), Foundations of Mechanics, London: Benjamin/Cummings

Publishing, pp. See chapter 2, paragraph 2.7.1, ISBN 0-8053-0102-X

Bishop, R.L.; Goldberg, S.I. (1968), Tensor Analysis on Manifolds (First Dover 1980 ed.), The Macmillan

Company, ISBN 0-486-64039-6

Choquet-Bruhat, Yvonne; DeWitt-Morette, Ccile (1977), Analysis, Manifolds and Physics, Amsterdam:

Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-7204-0494-4

Landau, Lev Davidovich; Lifshitz, Evgeny Mikhailovich (1951), The Classical Theory of Fields, Course

of Theoretical Physics, Volume 2 (Fourth Revised English ed.), Oxford: Pergamon Press, pp. See chapter

10, paragraphs 85, 86 and 87, ISBN 0-08-025072-6

Kreyszig, Erwin (1991), Differential Geometry, Dover Publications, ISBN 978-0-486-66721-8

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Christoffel symbols - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoffel_symbols

Misner, Charles W.; Thorne, Kip S.; Wheeler, John Archibald (1970), Gravitation, New York: W.H.

Freeman, pp. See chapter 8, paragraph 8.5, ISBN 0-7167-0344-0

Ludvigsen, Malcolm (1999), General Relativity: A Geometrical Approach, Cambridge University Press,

ISBN 0-521-63019-3

Spivak, Michael (1999), A Comprehensive introduction to differential geometry, Volume 2, Publish or

Perish, ISBN 0-914098-71-3

Chatterjee, U.; Chatterjee, N. (2010). Vector & Tensor Analysis (https://books.google.com

/books?id=oTeGXkg0tn0C&pg=PA480). Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-93-8059-905-2.

Struik, D.J. (1961). Lectures on Classical Differential Geometry (first published in 1988 Dover ed.).

Dover. ISBN 0-486-65609-8.

P.Grinfeld (2014). Introduction to Tensor Analysis and the Calculus of Moving Surfaces. Springer.

ISBN 1-4614-7866-9.

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