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Assistante: Lavinia Heisenberg

Printemps 2010

Claudia de Rham
claudia.deRham@unige.ch

Relativit
e G
en
erale
Notes on transformation laws of the connection and the Christoffel symbols

1. Show that the covariant derivative of a contravariant vector results in a tensor if the connection transform in a
particulary way
x
a 2 xi
a xj xi
a
k x
bc
+

= ji
xk x
b x
c
xi x
b x
c

(1)

As motivated during the lecture, the covariant derivative is a modification of the partial derivative since the
partial derivative applied on a contravariant vector does not deliver a tensor. The covariant derivative is required
to be linear and of the form
a c
Db U a = b U a + bc
U

(2)

a = b U
a +
aU
c
Db U
bc

(3)

Now consider a change of coordinates

a = U d xad . Putting
a = V a is a tensor then it transforms as V a = V k xak xjb and U a transforms as U
if Db U
j x x
b
b

x
this tranformations into the transformation equation of the covariant derivative gives

a = V ba = Vjk
Db U

x
a xj
=
xk x
b

 a xj
k c x
j U k + jc
U
k b
x

 x
j
a
x

c
i x
a d x
bc
=
U
+

U
x
b xj
xi
xd
 2 a

j
c

x
x
a x
bc
= Ui
+
xj xi x
b
xi
a
xj U i x
+ b
x
xj xi

After bringing the right hand side over and cancelling out the U i since this is valid for any kind of U i


xj 2 x
a
a xj
c
i a x
k x
U bc i +
ji k b = 0
x
x
b xj xi
x x

(4)
(5)
(6)

(7)

Thus, the covariant derivative of a contravariant vector delivers a tensor only if the Christoffel symbols transform
according to
a xj xi
a
k x
bc

= ji

k x
b x
c}
| x {z
normal transformation law

xi xj 2 x
a
.
c
b
j
x
{zx xi}
| x

(8)

not a tensor

Finally, the last term can be expressed as


 a
xi xj 2 x
a
xi
x

=
c
b
j
i
c
b
x
x
x x
x
x

xi
 i a

x x

x
a 2 xi
=

x
b x
c xi
xi x
c x
b
|
{z
}

(9)
(10)

=ca

x
a 2 xi
,
xi x
c x
b

(11)

so that the transformation law for the connection can also be expressed as
a xj xi
a
k x
bc
+

= ji
k x
b x
c}
| x {z
normal transformation law

x
a 2 xi
.
i c x
b}
|x {zx

(12)

not a tensor

2. Show that the Christoffel symbols of 2nd kind, defined from the metric as
abc =

1 ad
g (gdb,c + gdc,b gbc,d ) ,
2

(13)

satisfies the same transformation law as the connection, i.e. under a change of coordinates
(x1 , , xn ) (
x1 , , x
n ), transforms as:
a xj xk i
x
a 2 xi
a = x
abc

+
bc
xi x
b x
c jk xi x
b x
c

(14)

Using the notation


Aai =

x
a
,
xi

Bai = (A1 )ia =

xi
x
a

and

i
i
Bbc
= Bcb
= xc Bbi =

2x
i
c
x
x
b

(15)

and knowing that Aai Bbi = ba , we have


abc =

1 ad
g (xc gdb + xb gdc xd gbc )
2

abc = 1 gad (xc gdb + xb gdc xd gbc )

2





1 a d 
= A A g
xc Bd Bb g + xb Bd Bc g xd Bc Bb g
2

1 a d


Bdc
Bb g + Bd Bbc
g + Bc Bd Bb g
= A A g
:::::::::
2


+ Bdb
B g + Bd Bbc
g + Bb Bd Bc g
. . . . . .c. . ..


Bcd
Bb g

:::::::::

Bc Bbd
g

..........

Bd Bc Bb g

1 a 

A B B g ( g + g g ) + Aa Bbc
2 c b
x
a 2 x
x
a x x
=

+
.
x x
b x
c x x
b x
c
=

The Christoffel symbols of second kind therefore satisfy the appropriate transformation law to be a connection.