**General Relativity For
Tellytubbys**

**Geodesic Deviation and
Potbellied Mr. Riemann **

**Sir Kevin Aylward B.Sc.,
Warden of the Kings Ale**

**Back
to the Contents section**

__Overview__

This section attempts to
give a handle on the Riemann curvature tensor. I have had a bit of bother with
this one as I could not find a really decent web site to steal the derivations
from. They all missed out the bits, which I consider are crucial. For example, *the* fundamental point of the Riemann
tensor, as far as G.R. is concerned, is that it describes the *acceleration* of geodesics with respect
to one another. Some sites noted this fact, but did not show in their
derivations how that particular derivation *actually*
related to this acceleration. Taking vectors on round trips with talks of
parallel transportation don’t immediately explain what's happening, although
very impressive sounding it is, indeed. Of course it's probably that I'm just
too thick to see it. In addition, of course, all derivations left most of the
details to one's futile imagination. I am led to believe that many people don’t
have a bleeding clue what's going on, although they can apply the formulas in a
sleepwalking sense.

Further point. It is what
are called, *tidal* forces that are
equivalent to the acceleration of geodesics (geodesic deviation). If you
consider the Newtonian, inverse square force law, at different radiuses, there
is an effective differential force that tries to pull apart objects.

Consider Tinky-Winky and Dipsy orbiting the earth with some velocity, in what are assumed to be geodesics. Since they are not the same geodesics, Tinky-Winky and Dipsy may or may not move closer or further away from each other. The Riemann curvature tensor is what tells one what that acceleration between the Tellytubbys will be. This is expressed by

or, equivalently

or equivalently, in posher notation

where D is the covariant
derivative operator, **w** is the
separation vector between the Tellytubbys geodesic, and **V **is the parameterized velocity of the Tellytubbys as they travel
on their geodesics. The last form is the second covariant derivative of the
connecting vector w in the direction of v, the gist of this will be shown

__Calculation
of Riemann__

This section calculates what the Riemann tensor is, it is then shown afterwards how this is related to the concept of acceleration described above.

First, lets note some prior results,

For a normal second order partial derivative, we have

For the covariant derivative of a vector this is not true in general. i.e.

So, lets calculate what the
difference on a vector **A** is

oh, and the first term above is called a commentator, and this does get rather messy, but there you go that’s G.R. for you, and I dropped the A on the LHS just to keep things unclutted.

You might have to think a
bit about the above, but its just treat the first derivative as one big 2^{nd}
rank tensor, contravariant one, covariant one sort of thing.

That one above, I thought quite neat when I first worked it out. Once again, see what dummy index's are swapped here

Now swap all the alphas and betas, but note that the Christoffel symbols are symmetric, so we can swap those ones back again.

Now to subtract and collect terms, note the first and last term obviously cancels

And with more index swapping

So, now the bit in brackets is, as you might have guessed is the Riemann tensor

and just to make it agree with the top of the page, renaming indexes using the negative Christoffel term as a base gives

Right, now a result needs to be derived

By inspection, it can be seen that Riemann is antisymmetric in the last two indexes d and c

By cyclic rotation of the last 3 indexes of Riemann we get

swap some index's in the last two, due to symmetry of the Christoffels

and adding these to our first Riemann gives

but forget about this just for now

Back to our commentator, with the index names realigned to our Riemann definition

We need to expand on this formula a bit in order to derive our acceleration of geodesics i.e. geodesic deviation.

Going back to our geodesic page, we noted

So now to work out the commentator of the above directional derivative

and swapping gamma with
alpha in the 2^{nd} product term

but for

i.e. **w **is an affine parametized connecting vector and **v** is our velocity, the last term is
zero, via

where alpha and beta has been swapped in the last r term

where epsilon and alpha has been swapped in the last r term, thus the commentator of w and v is zero, therefor

__Acceleration
or Geodesic Deviation__

The next task, is to show why the Riemann tensor determines the acceleration of the geodesics, i.e. why

or equivalently

To do this we need to show
the following results, where D is the covariant derivative operator and λ is a
fine parameter indeed, e.g. **x**=**x**(λ),
t=t(λ).,

If we go back to our geodesic equation for acceleration, which sort of defines what is meant by acceleration in generalized co-ordinates.

which can be written as

So we can obviously write, actually this seems to pick something out of nothing, almost.

but, from up above, the last term is zero so finally then, using our extended commentator formula

and we seem to have lost a minus sign, so we'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

__Bianchi
Identity and the Einstein Tensor__

We have from above:

or

Which means that taking the
covariant 2^{nd} derivative, in different orders, does not give the
same result, as do ordinary derivatives.

It should be no surprise that, in the same manner as the covariant derivative itself, that

This can be seen from inspection from the initial derivation equation, and that again, just as in the covariant derivative case, where each tensor order index generates its own Christoffel symbol term, higher order tensors generate additional Riemann terms thus:

Now differentiate

Now set

And replace into our 2^{nd}
term Riemann expression.

or

`

and bringing down from above

Now a little bit of index swapping on the above two equations:

Now, if these last two equations are cycled in the last 3 index of Riemann and the 6 added together:

Hence:

But the 2^{nd} term
is zero from the result up the page, somewhere…

Hence:

This is the Bianchi identity
that is needed in the construction of the Einstein Tensor.

© Kevin Aylward 2000 - 2015

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Website last modified 31^{st} May
2015

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