Maxwell's Equations in Curved Spacetime


In physics, Maxwell's equations in curved spacetime govern the dynamics of the electromagnetic field in curved spacetime (where the metric may not be the Minkowski metric) or where one uses an arbitrary (not necessarily Cartesian) coordinate system. These equations can be viewed as a generalization of the vacuum Maxwell's equations which are normally formulated in the local coordinates of flat spacetime. But because general relativity dictates that the presence of electromagnetic fields (or energy/matter in general) induce curvature in spacetime, Maxwell's equations in flat spacetime should be viewed as a convenient approximation.

When working in the presence of bulk matter, it is preferable to distinguish between free and bound electric charges. Without that distinction, the vacuum Maxwell's equations are called the "microscopic" Maxwell's equations. When the distinction is made, they are called the macroscopic Maxwell's equations.

The electromagnetic field also admits a coordinate-independent geometric description, and Maxwell's equations expressed in terms of these geometric objects are the same in any spacetime, curved or not. Also, the same modifications are made to the equations of flat Minkowski space when using local coordinates that are not Cartesian. For example, the equations in this article can be used to write Maxwell's equations in spherical coordinates. For these reasons, it may be useful to think of Maxwell's equations in Minkowski space as a special case, rather than Maxwell's equations in curved spacetimes as a generalization.

Read more about Maxwell's Equations In Curved Spacetime:  Summary, The Electromagnetic Potential, Electromagnetic Field, Electromagnetic Displacement, Electric Current, Lorentz Force Density, Lagrangian, Electromagnetic Stress-energy Tensor, Electromagnetic Wave Equation, Nonlinearity of Maxwell's Equations in A Dynamic Spacetime, Geometric Formulation

Famous quotes containing the words curved and/or maxwell:

    By constant dripping, water hollows stone,
    A signet-ring from use alone grows thin,
    And the curved plowshare by soft earth is worn.
    Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)

    They give me goose pimples on top of my goose pimples.
    Griffin Jay, Maxwell Shane (1905–1983)