Gravitational Waves in General Relativity. III. Exact Plane Waves
Abstract
Plane gravitational waves are here defined to be nonflat solutions of Einstein's empty spacetime field equations which admit as much symmetry as do plane electromagnetic waves, namely, a 5parameter group of motions. A general planewave metric is written down and the properties of plane wave spacetimes are studied in detail. In particular, their characterization as 'plane' is justified further by the construction of 'sandwich waves' bounded on both sides by (null) hyperplanes in flat spacetime. It is shown that the passing of a sandwich wave produces a relative acceleration in free test particles, and inferred from this that such waves transport energy.
 Publication:

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series A
 Pub Date:
 June 1959
 DOI:
 10.1098/rspa.1959.0124
 Bibcode:
 1959RSPSA.251..519B