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Physics and Astronomy

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Uniform fields are one of the simplest and most pedagogically useful examples in introductory courses on electrostatics or Newtonian gravity. In general relativity there have been several proposals as to what constitutes a uniform field. In this article we examine two metrics that can be considered the general relativistic version of the infinite plane with finite mass per unit area. The first metric is the 4D version of the 5D “brane” world models which are the starting point for many current research papers. The second case is the cosmological domain wall metric. We examine to what extent these different metrics match or deviate from our Newtonian intuition about the gravitational field of an infinite plane. These solutions provide the beginning student in general relativity both computational practice and conceptual insight into Einstein’s field equations. In addition they do this by introducing the student to material that is at the forefront of current research.

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American Journal of Physics



American Association of Physics Teachers

Additional Information

Dr. Jones was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.