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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

Geodesics

Geodesics

Chapter:
(p.4) 2 Geodesics
Source:
General Relativity
Author(s):

Steven Carlip

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198822158.003.0002

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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