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The energy-momentum tensor and the equivalence principle

  1. Apr 26, 2005 #1

    hellfire

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    Is it correct that the only way to have a theory of gravitation that fulfills the equivalence principle is to make use of a tensor as the source of gravity (and not a scalar or a vector, for example)? How can this be proven?
     
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  3. Apr 26, 2005 #2

    Garth

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    If gravity is to be described by the Einstein tensor Gab then its source must be a tensor as well.

    Most tests of GR to date are in vacuo, that is all they are testing is
    Gab = 0 ; it seems to work pretty well!

    Garth
     
  4. Apr 26, 2005 #3

    dextercioby

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    Dirac's short book gives a nice insight to this subject:couplings of gravity and matter.No wonder,Dirac was a field theorist,like Pauli,Feynman,Weinberg...

    Daniel.
     
  5. Apr 26, 2005 #4
    A scalar and a vector are both tensors. From what I recall there is a theory by Dicke (Brans too???) which is a relativistic theory of gravity which is consistent with the equivalence principle.

    Pete
     
  6. Apr 27, 2005 #5

    Garth

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    Yes, the Brans Dicke theory takes the Einstein field equation and adds a scalar field coupled to the (rest) mass density of the universe that endows particles with inertial mass. It retains the equivalence principle and so the effect of this scalar field is to vary the 'Gravitational 'constant''. Although many attempts to integrate QT with GR would like such a scalar field the BD theory is not verified observationally in solar system experiments; the scalar field perturbs space-time.

    For information SCC modifies this theory by allowing particle masses to vary (with gravitational potential energy) and G then becomes observationally constant. It breaks the equivalence principle but nevertheless is consistent with solar system tests.

    Garth
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  7. Apr 27, 2005 #6

    hellfire

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    As far as I know, scalar (rank 0 tensor) theories of gravity in which the source of gravity is the trace of the energy-momentum tensor do not fulfill the equivalence principle, since light does not couple to gravity (the trace of the electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor is zero). The question is whether a vector (rank 1 tensor) theory of gravity may fulfill the equivalence principle or whether only theories in which the source of gravity is at least a rank 2 tensor do.
     
  8. Apr 27, 2005 #7

    Chronos

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    There is no way to avoid a tensor description of gravity geometrically.
     
  9. Apr 27, 2005 #8

    hellfire

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    That's the kind of answer I am looking for… but with a proof.
     
  10. Apr 27, 2005 #9
    You're incorrectly expecting proof where there is only postulate. The principle of general covariance requires the laws of nature to be the same in all coordinate systems. We give the name "tensor" to those objects which satisfy this property of covariance.

    Pete
     
  11. Apr 27, 2005 #10

    hellfire

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    But a theory in which gravity couples to the trace of the energy-momentum tensor would be also covariant, as the trace is scalar (a rank 0 tensor). But it does not fulfill the equivalence principle.
     
  12. Apr 27, 2005 #11
    Since when????????????????????????????

    Pete
     
  13. Apr 27, 2005 #12

    hellfire

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    I am not aware of any error in what I wrote, but If I wrote something wrong, please correct me. That's the best way for me to learn.
     
  14. Apr 27, 2005 #13

    Chronos

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    What Pete said - GR treats spacetime as a four dimensional manifold. To describe the geometry of such a manifold without introducing frame dependence, you must use a rank 2 tensor.
     
  15. Apr 27, 2005 #14
    That is not true. The Branse Dicke theory treats spacetime as a 4-d manifold and the description of the geometry is not frame dependant. However the field equations need not be a second rank tensor (e.g. Brans Dicke).

    Pete
     
  16. Apr 27, 2005 #15

    Garth

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    Hmmm... The Brans Dicke theory has two separate field equations and an equation of state, The gravitational field equation certainly is an equation of second rank tensors, the scalar field equation is an equation in which each term is a scalar, as is the equation of state, however, that is no different to GR, which also requires a 'scalar' equation of state. [Though no scalar field equation]

    Garth
     
  17. Apr 27, 2005 #16
    What are these two seperate field equations you speak of??

    Note: I made an error above. The trace can't be the source of gravity because for a beam of directed light the trace is zero and since mass is equivalent to energy the trace can't be a source.

    I believe that in the Brans Dicke theory there is a scalar field but the field equation is second rank. The d'Lanbertian of the scalar field is proportional to the energy momentum tensor in that theory.

    Is that correct pervect? You seem to know more about it than I do.

    Pete
     
  18. Apr 27, 2005 #17

    dextercioby

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    I definitely know it's Jean le Rond d'Alembert and,consequently,the operator's name is "d'Alembertian".

    Daniel.
     
  19. Apr 27, 2005 #18

    selfAdjoint

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    Is that scalar, in the equation or the Lagrangian, multiplied by something (metric tensor?) to bring it up to second rank and make the whole thing homogeneous? As you know that is how the cosmological constant is brought into the field equation in GR.
     
  20. Apr 28, 2005 #19

    Garth

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    Pete - As I explained - (although obviously rather obscurely!) The two BD field equations are:
    1. The gravitational field equation; Einstein's with G replaced by Phi-1 and the stress-energy-momentum tensor of the scalar field TPhi ab added to that of normal matter-energy. The result is a homogeneous second rank tensor equation.

    2. The scalar field equation; The d'Alembertian of Phi coupled to the trace of the matter stress-energy-momentum tensor. In this equation each term is a scalar and therefore selfAdjoint homogeneous.

    Garth
     
  21. Apr 28, 2005 #20

    hellfire

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    I am sorry but I still don’t get it, so please be patient with me.

    A theory in which gravity would couple only to the trace of the energy-momentum tensor (such a theory was considered by Einstein before general relativity):

    [tex]\square \phi = - 4 \pi G T_{\mu}^{\mu}[/tex]

    With [tex]\inline g_{\mu \nu}[/tex] being diagonal with [tex]\inline \phi[/tex] or [tex]\inline - \phi[/tex] as diagonal elements...

    a)...is a covariant theory, isn’t it?

    b) but, however, it does not satisfy the equivalence principle, since light would not couple to a gravitational field. A photon would not be redshifted or blueshifted in a gravitational field, but it would be redshifted or blueshifted when emitted from an accelerated frame.

    If all above is correct, what are the reasons, if any, for the need of having a rank 2 tensor in order to satisfy the equivalence principle?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2005
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