Dynamical Structure and Definition of Energy in General Relativity
Abstract
The problem of the dynamical structure and definition of energy for the classical general theory of relativity is considered on a formal level. As in a previous paper, the technique used is the Schwinger action principle. Starting with the full Einstein Lagrangian in first order Palatini form, an action integral is derived in which the algebraic constraint variables have been eliminated. This action possesses a "Hamiltonian" density which, however, vanishes due to the differential constraints. If the differential constraints are then substituted into the action, the true, nonvanishing Hamiltonian of the theory emerges. From an analysis of the equations of motion and the constraint equations, the two pairs of dynamical variables which represent the two independent degrees of freedom of the gravitational field are explicitly exhibited. Four other variables remain in theory; these may be arbitrarily specified, any such specification representing a choice of coordinate frame. It is shown that it is possible to obtain truly canonical pairs of variables in terms of the dynamical and arbitrary variables. Thus a statement of the dynamics is meaningful only after a set of coordinate conditions have been chosen. In general, the true Hamiltonian will be time dependent even for an isolated gravitational field. There thus arises the notion of a preferred coordinate frame, i.e., that frame in which the Hamiltonian is conserved. In this special frame, on physical grounds, the Hamiltonian may be taken to define the energy of the field. In these respects the situation in general relativity is analogous to the parametric form of Hamilton's principle in particle mechanics.
 Publication:

Physical Review
 Pub Date:
 December 1959
 DOI:
 10.1103/PhysRev.116.1322
 Bibcode:
 1959PhRv..116.1322A