[1105.0109] Studying null and time-like geodesics in the classroom

Authors: Thomas Müller, Jörg Frauendiener

Date: 30 Apr 2011

Abstract: In a first course of general relativity it is usually quite difficult for students to grasp the concept of a geodesic. It is supposed to be straight (auto-parallel) and yet it 'looks' curved. In these situations it is very useful to have some explicit examples available which show the different behaviour of geodesics. In this paper we present the GeodesicViewer, an interactive tool for studying the behaviour of geodesics in many different space-times. The geodesics can be represented in several ways, depending on the space-time in question. The use of a local reference frame and 'Cartesian-like' coordinates helps the students to develop some intuition in various situations. We present the various features of the GeodesicViewer in the form of readily formulated exercises for the students.

abs pdf

May 06, 2011

1105.0109 (/preprints)
2011-05-06, 22:19 [edit]

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Tantum in modicis, quantum in maximis