Homework Help: Timelike Geodesic and Christoffel Symbols

1. May 18, 2010

wam_mi

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

How do I show the following metric have time-like geodesics, if $$\theta$$ and $$R$$ are constants

$$ds^{2} = R^{2} (-dt^{2} + (cosh(t))^{2} d\theta^{2})$$

2. Relevant equations

$$v^{a}v_{a} = -1$$ for time-like geodesic, where $$v^{a}$$ is the tangent vector along the curve

3. The attempt at a solution

First, I write it as the Lagrangian

$$L = -R^{2}\dot{t}^{2} + (cosh(t))^{2} \dot{\theta}^{2} = -R^{2}\dot{t}^{2}$$

as $$\theta$$ is a constant.

How do I proceed to show that this indeed gives us a time-like geodesic.

Could someone also tell me if I have computed the Christoffel symbol components correctly? My result is

$$\Gamma^{t}_{\theta \theta} = 0-sinh(t) \times cosh(t)$$

$$\Gamma^{\theta}_{t \theta} = tanh(t)$$

and all other components vanish.

Cheers!

P.S. How do I type minus sign? It doesn't seem to work if I have left the 0 out at above.

Last edited: May 18, 2010
2. May 18, 2010

NanakiXIII

Maybe I'm not understanding the problem correctly, but if you're holding $\theta$ constant, couldn't you just use $d\theta = 0$?

3. May 18, 2010

diazona

$$\Gamma^{t}_{\theta \theta} = -sinh(t) \times cosh(t)$$
Works fine for me
Anyway, I get the same thing as you for the Christoffel symbols except without the minus sign. I could have made a mistake but you might want to recheck your calculations.

4. May 20, 2010

gabbagabbahey

I don't see the need to compute the Christoffel coefficients at all. The solution to the Euler-Lagrange equations will be a geodesic, so if $R$ and $\theta$ are constants, you want to solve

$$\frac{\partial L}{\partial t}-\frac{d}{d\tau}\frac{\partial L}{\partial \dot{t}}=0$$

(Where I'm using $\tau$ to represent your affine parameter...i.e. $$\dot{t}=\frac{dt}{d\tau}$$ )