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Lecture# Gravitational Field Equations

Description

This lecture covers the formulation of gravitational field equations, including the equivalence principle, action principles, and the motion of particles in gravitational fields. It also explores the Newtonian limit and the relation between the metric and the Newtonian potential.

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In physics, a gravitational field is a model used to explain the influences that a massive body extends into the space around itself, producing a force on another massive body. Thus, a gravitational field is used to explain gravitational phenomena, and is measured in newtons per kilogram (N/kg). Equivalently, it is measured in meters per second squared (m/s2). In its original concept, gravity was a force between point masses.

In classical mechanics, the gravitational potential at a point in space is equal to the work (energy transferred) per unit mass that would be needed to move an object to that point from a fixed reference point. It is analogous to the electric potential with mass playing the role of charge. The reference point, where the potential is zero, is by convention infinitely far away from any mass, resulting in a negative potential at any finite distance.

In physics and general relativity, gravitational redshift (known as Einstein shift in older literature) is the phenomenon that electromagnetic waves or photons travelling out of a gravitational well (seem to) lose energy. This loss of energy corresponds to a decrease in the wave frequency and increase in the wavelength, known more generally as a redshift. The opposite effect, in which photons (seem to) gain energy when travelling into a gravitational well, is known as a gravitational blueshift (a type of blueshift).

Gravitational waves are waves of the intensity of gravity that are generated by the accelerated masses of an orbital binary system, and propagate as waves outward from their source at the speed of light. They were first proposed by Oliver Heaviside in 1893 and then later by Henri Poincaré in 1905 as waves similar to electromagnetic waves but the gravitational equivalent. Gravitational waves were later predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his general theory of relativity as ripples in spacetime.

In physics, gravity () is a fundamental interaction which causes mutual attraction between all things that have mass. Gravity is, by far, the weakest of the four fundamental interactions, approximately 1038 times weaker than the strong interaction, 1036 times weaker than the electromagnetic force and 1029 times weaker than the weak interaction. As a result, it has no significant influence at the level of subatomic particles.

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