Torsion and gravitation: A new view

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World Scientific Publ Co Pte Ltd



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According to the teleparallel equivalent of general relativity, curvature and torsion are two equivalent ways of describing the same gravitational field. Though equivalent, they act differently: curvature yields a geometric description, in which the concept of gravitational force is absent whereas torsion acts as a true gravitational force, quite similar to the Lorentz force of electrodynamics. As a consequence, the right-hand side of a spinless-particle equation of motion (which would represent a gravitational force) is always zero in the geometric description, but not in the teleparallel case. This means that the gravitational coupling prescription can be minimal only in the geometric case. Relying on this property, a new gravitational coupling prescription in the presence of curvature and torsion is proposed. It is constructed in such a way to preserve the equivalence between curvature and torsion, and its basic property is to be equivalent to the usual coupling prescription of general relativity. According to this view, no new physics is connected with torsion, which is just an alternative to curvature in the description of gravitation. An application of this formulation to the equations of motion of both a spinless and a spinning particle is discussed.




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International Journal of Modern Physics D. Singapore: World Scientific Publ Co Pte Ltd, v. 13, n. 5, p. 807-818, 2004.

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