On the Local Flatness of Spacetime

31 10/2014

Friday, 31 Oct. 2014, 14:00 - 15:00

Presenter: Samuel C. Fletcher, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)
Host: M. Aspelmeyer
Where: Schrödingerroom, 4th floor, Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Wien

Many discussions of the foundations of general relativity put a special emphasis on describing every relativistic spacetime as “locally flat,” or as “locally Minkowskian”. Without attempting a comprehensive survey, we note three common articulations of what it could mean for spacetime to be “locally flat” or “locally Minkowskian,” arguing that each of them is unsatisfactory. We then explore a different, but precise and coordinate-independent sense in which relativistic spacetimes might be described as (approximately) locally flat, drawing a connection with a new version of the notion of “minimal coupling.”