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General RelativityA Concise Introduction$
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Steven Carlip

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198822158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198822158.001.0001

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(p.4) 2 Geodesics
General Relativity

Steven Carlip

Oxford University Press

The generalization of a “straight line” in Euclidean geometry is a geodesic, the shortest distance between two points in a (possibly curved) space or spacetime. This chapter introduces geodesics, starting with examples and leading up to the general geodesic equation. Along the way, the metric and the notion of causal structure are explained, and it is shown that the geodesic equation can reproduce the equations for motion of an object in Newtonian gravity.

Keywords:   causal structure, geodesic equation, geodesics, light cone, metric, Minkowski space, Newtonian limit, spacetime

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