General Relativity

  • James J. Callahan
Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)


While gravitational and electric fields both have physical “sources” —masses on the one hand and electric charges on the other—there is a crucial distinction between them. In an electric field, objects accelerate differently, depending on their charge; in a gravitational field, all objects experience identical acceleration. So it is possible to “fall” along with those objects—in an orbiting spacecraft, for example—and if we do, the gravitational accelerations will seem to disappear. Conversely, in a spaceship far from other matter, where there is no perceptible gravitational field, we can create one in the spaceship simply by making it accelerate. In other words, with a coordinate change we can make a gravitational field appear or disappear—at least in a small region of space and time.


Field Equation Gravitational Field Gravitational Potential Inertial Frame Ricci Tensor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • James J. Callahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsSmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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