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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2011-12 >> abstracts

Tuesday, 11 October 2011
On the Status of the Geodesic Principle in Newtonian and Relativistic Physics
James Owen Weatherall, Department of Philosophy
University of California, Irvine
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning

Abstract: A theorem due to Bob Geroch and Pong Soo Jang ["Motion of a Body in General Relativity." Journal of Mathematical Physics 16(1), (1975)] provides a sense in which the geodesic principle has the status of a theorem in General Relativity (GR). I have recently shown that a similar theorem holds in the context of geometrized Newtonian gravitation (Newton-Cartan
theory) [Weatherall, J. O. "The Motion of a Body in Newtonian Theories."
Journal of Mathematical Physics 52(3), (2011)]. In this talk, I will compare the interpretations of these two theorems. I intend to argue that despite some apparent differences between the theorems, the status of the geodesic principle in geometrized Newtonian gravitation is, mutatis mutandis, strikingly similar to the relativistic case.

Revised 10/5/11 - Copyright 2009