National Research University Higher School of Economics

Introduction into General Theory of Relativity

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General Theory of Relativity or the theory of relativistic gravitation is the one which describes black holes, gravitational waves and expanding Universe. The goal of the course is to introduce you into this theory. The introduction is based on the consideration of many practical generic examples in various scopes of the General Relativity. After the completion of the course you will be able to solve basic standard problems of this theory. We assume that you are familiar with the Special Theory of Relativity and Classical Electrodynamics. However, as an aid we have recorded several complementary materials which are supposed to help you understand some of the aspects of the Special Theory of Relativity and Classical Electrodynamics and some of the calculational tools that are used in our course. Also as a complementary material we provide the written form of the lectures at the website: https://math.hse.ru/generalrelativity2015

From the lesson

General Covariance

To start with, we recall the basic notions of the Special Theory of Relativity. We explain that Minkwoskian coordinates in flat space-time correspond to inertial observers. Then we continue with transformations to non-inertial reference systems in flat space-time. We show that non-inertial observers correspond to curved coordinate systems in flat space-time. In particular, we describe in grate details Rindler coordinates that correspond to eternally homogeneously accelerating observers. This shows that our Nature allows many different types of metrics, not necessarily coincident with the Euclidian or Minkwoskain ones. We explain what means general covariance. We end up this module with the derivation of the geodesic equation for a general metric from the least action principle. In this equation we define the Christoffel symbols.