Einstein field equations

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Einstein field equations

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The Einstein field equations (EFE) or Einstein's equations are a set of ten equations in Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity which describe the fundamental interaction of gravitation as a result of spacetime being curved by matter and energy.[1] First published by Einstein in 1915[2] as atensor equation, the EFE equate spacetime curvature (expressed by the Einstein tensor) with the energy and momentum within that spacetime (expressed by the stress-energy tensor). Similar to the way that electromagnetic fields are determined using charges and currents via Maxwell's equations, the EFE are used to determine thespacetime geometry resulting from the presence of mass-energy and linear momentum, that is, they determine the metric tensor of spacetime for a given arrangement of stress-energy in the spacetime. The relationship between the metric tensor and the Einstein tensor allows the EFE to be written as a set of non-linear partial differential equations when used in this way. The solutions of the EFE are the components of the metric tensor. The inertial trajectories of particles and radiation (geodesics) in the resulting geometry are then calculated using the geodesic equation. As well as obeying local energy-momentum conservation, the EFE reduce to Newton's law of gravitation where the gravitational field is weak and velocities much less than the speed of light.[3]

in fact. nonlinear. the metric is Newton's gravitational constant. the EFE are a system of 10 coupled. Although the Einstein field equations were initially formulated in the context of a fourdimensional theory. leading to the linearised EFE. Given a specified distribution of matter and energy in the form of a stress-energy tensor. Each tensor has 10 independent components. hyperbolicelliptic partial differential equations. the independent equations reduce to 6 in number. is the Ricci curvature tensor. Further simplification is achieved in approximating the actual spacetime as flat spacetime with a small deviation. such as rotating black holes and the expanding universe. The EFE can then be written as where the cosmological term has been absorbed into the stress-energy tensor as dark energy. The EFE is a tensor equation relating a set of symmetric 4 x 4 tensors. The vacuum field equations define Einstein manifolds. and the stress-energy tensor. It is written here using the abstract index notation. Despite the simple appearance of the equations they are. quite complicated. Mathematical form The Einstein field equations (EFE) may be written in the form:[1] where tensor. the speed of light. is the cosmological constant. The equations in contexts outside of general relativity are still referred to as the Einstein field equations. One can write the EFE in a more compact form by defining the Einstein tensor which is a symmetric second-rank tensor that is a function of the metric. as both the Ricci tensor and scalar curvature depend on the metric in a complicated nonlinear manner. In fact.Solution techniques for the EFE include simplifying assumptions such as symmetry. Special classes of exact solutions are most often studied as they model many gravitational phenomena. when fully written out. These equations are used to study phenomena such as gravitational waves. Given the freedom of choice of the four spacetime coordinates. . the EFE are understood to be equations for the metric tensor gμν. some theorists have explored their consequences in n dimensions. the scalar curvature.

Peacock (1994). Authors including Einstein have used a different sign in their definition for the Ricci tensor which results in the sign of the constant on the right side being negative The sign of the (very small) cosmological term would change in both these versions. S2. The EFE can then be interpreted as a set of equations dictating how the curvature of spacetime is related to the matter/energy content of the universe. Peebles while . form the core of the mathematical formulation of general relativity. The authors analyzed all conventions that exist and classified according to the following three signs (S1. Atwater (1974). [edit]Sign convention The above form of the EFE is the standard established by Misner. . Thorne. this can be rewritten as The expression on the left represents the curvature of spacetime as determined by the metric and the expression on the right represents the matter/energy content of spacetime.Using geometrized units where G = c = 1. These equations. if the +--. Rindler (1977). Thorne. together with the geodesic equation. and Wheeler classify themselves as whereas Weinberg (1972) is (1980) and Efstathiou (1990) are Collins Martin & Squires (1989) are . S3): The third sign above is related to the choice of convention for the Ricci tensor: With these definitions Misner.metric sign convention is used rather . and Wheeler.

than the MTW −+++ metric sign convention adopted here. [edit]Equivalent formulations The trace of the EFE is which simplifies to If one adds times this to the EFE. when one is interested in weak-field limit and can replace the Minkowski metric without significant loss of accuracy). one gets the following equivalent "trace-reversed" form Reversing the trace again would restore the original EFE. in the expression on the right with . The trace-reversed form may be more convenient in some cases (for example.

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