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I Spacetime Metric: Which signature is better?

  1. Jan 22, 2017 #1

    referframe

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    It seems that, in general, mathematicians prefer the (-,+,+,+) signature for the Minkowski spacetime metric while most physicists prefer the (+,-,-,-) signature. Is there any evidence that Nature actually prefers one over the other?

    As usual, thanks in advance.
     
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  3. Jan 22, 2017 #2

    PAllen

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    Nature cannot have a preference since no physics is changed. The only possible answer, IMO, is the one that you will make fewer mistakes with.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2017 #3

    Meir Achuz

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    I think physicists prefer +--- for several reasons.
    Time goes forward, space can go in either direction.
    The four vector (E;p,p,p) has the length^2: E ^2-p^2=m^2. -m^2 would be awkward.
     
  5. Jan 22, 2017 #4

    Ben Niehoff

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    I think pretty much anyone who works in dimensions other than 4 prefers (-+++...). There is a great benefit to not having to remember exactly how many minus signs you have to think about when working with Levi-Cività tensors, for example.
     
  6. Jan 22, 2017 #5

    Orodruin

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    The question was what Nature prefers, not what physicists or mathematicians prefer. PAllen nailed it in the first sentence:
    The thread could have been locked at that point.
     
  7. Jan 22, 2017 #6

    PeterDonis

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    And now it is.
     
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