The many weapons of general relativity

There are many objects used in either thought experiments or actual ones in general relativity, such as stars, spaceships, clocks, etc. For some reason, there seems to be a variety of weapons as well, mostly related to the weirder topics on the matter.

One of the only one that isn't a particularly odd topic is in John Synge's 1960 book, "Relativity : The general theory", which contains the so-called ballistic suicide problem :

The usual problem of ballistics is to aim a projectile so that it hits someone else. Here we consider the ballistic suicide problem : the projectile is to hit the projector himself!
However perverse such a problem may be sociologically, it is a neat problem in relativity, because there are only two observations and both are made by the same observer. Moreover it forces us to realize that although the trajectory of a projectile fired straight upward seems sharply curved at the top, from a spacetime standpoint it is as straight as possible (geodesic).

Ballistic problems in general relativity are fairly rare, but this one has the merit to exist.

Further on, there are many gun-related problems dealing with the notion of causality and closed timelike curves, faster-than-light propagation and advanced waves, all related to the famous grandfather paradox. While the grandfather paradox itself goes back in science fiction all the way back to the 1930's, its appearance in physics in a gun-related manner seems to be in Feynman and Wheeler's 1949 paper, "Classical electrodynamics in terms of direct interparticle action", which involved Feynman and Wheeler's emitter-absorber theory with advanced waves.

As advanced waves can produce causality violations, an example to illustrate the possible inconsistency problems is given :

To formulate the paradox acceptably, we have to eliminate human intervention. We therefore introduce a mechanism which saves charge $a$ from a blow at 6 p.m only if this particle performs the expected movement at 8 a.m. (Fig. 1). Our dilemma now is this: Is $a$ hit in the evening or is it not. If it is, then it suffered a premonitory displacement at 8 a.m. which cut off the blow, so $a$ is not struck at 6 p.m.! If it is not bumped at 6 p.m. there is no morning movement to cut off the blow and so in the evening $a$ is jolted!
Fig. 1. The paradox of advanced effects. Does the pellet strike $X$ at 6 p.m.? If so, the advanced field from $A$ sets $B$ in motion at 1 p.m., and $B$ moves $A$ at 8 a.m. Thereby the shutter $TS$ is set in motion and the path of the pellet is blocked, so it cannot strike $X$ at 6 p.m. If it does not strike $X$ at 6 p.m., then its path is not blocked at 5.59 p.m. via this chain of actions, and therefore the pellet ought to strike $X$

To resolve, we divide the problem into two parts: effect of past of $a$ upon its future, and of future upon past. The two corresponding curves in Fig. 2 do not cross. We have no solution, because the action of the shutter on the pellet, of the future on the past, has been assumed discontinuous in character.
Fig. 2. Analysis and resolution of the paradox of advanced eftects. The action of the shutter on the pellet—the interaction of past and future — is continuous (dashed line in diagram) and the curves of action and reaction cross. See text for physical description of solution.

While this paper does not deal directly with general relativity, it was an inspiration for further examples dealing with closed timelike curves, such as Clarke's paper "Time in general relativity" :

To see how this is so, consider the case already cited of a person who meets his former self in circumstances in which, if physics were normal, he would be able to shoot him. Then, as a preliminary step in the analysis, let us replace the complex human being by a simple automaton which nonetheless exhibits the abnormal physics referred to. This apparatus is to consist of a gun, a target, and a shutter so arranged that the impact of a bullet on the target will trigger the shutter so as to move in front of the gun. It pursues a causality-violating curve in spacetime in such a way that two points on the object's world line $A$ and $B$, with $B$ later in the object's history than $A$, are physically contemporaneous and disposed as in Figure 1 so that the gun at $B$ is aimed at the target at $A$ and the shutter is initially up at $A$.

Figure 1

Suppose now that the machine "shoots its former self" : the gun at $B$ is fired, either by an automatic timing mechanism or by the intervention of a human being making a conscious decision. If the shutter in $B$ were still up, the bullet would strike the target at $A$, which would cause the shutter in $B$ to be down, a contradiction. But if the shutter were down in $B$, then the bullet would be stopped, the target $A$ would not be hit, and the shutter in $B$ should still be up: the shutter is up if, and only if, it is down; the situation is logically impossible.

The though experiment is later found in Kriele's "Spacetime : Foundations of general relativity and differential geometry" :

At a first glance, the possibility of "free will" seems to be at the center of the issue. However, following (Wheeler and Feynman 1949) Clarke (1977) has re-formulated the thought experiment in terms of a simple machine and has argued that the thought experiment is fallacious : Assume that there is a gun directed at a target in spacetime. This target is connected with a shutter which, if closed, blocks off the path between the gun and the target : If the gun is triggered, the bullet will hit the target which in turn will cause the shutter to fall. A second shot will now be blocked by the shutter and therefore cannot hit the target (c.f. Fig. 8.1.3). Now assume that the configuration is located in a region with causality violation such that the shutter falls along a closed timelike curve so that it blocks the bullet before the gun has been triggered. Again we seem to arrive at a contradiction : If the shutter is open the bullet can hit the target. But the target closes the shutter which in turn blocks the path of the bullet.
A gedanken experiment to disprove causality violation

A slightly more radical version of this paradox was made in Novikov's paper "Time machine and self-consistent evolution in problems with self-interaction", in which a ball containing a bomb (exploding upon contact) is sent through a wormhole.

The initial data are arranged in such a way that the ball enters mouth $B$, emerges from mouth $A$ in the past, continues the motion and arrives at the point $Z$ just in time to collide with the "younger" version itself. This encounter leads to the explosion. We did not take into account the influence of the future on the past before the ball entered the mouth $B$, and this is the reason for the "paradox."

But there is a self-consistent evolution, as shown in Fig. 6. The initial data are the same as in Fig. 5, but before reaching the point Z it meets the fragment of the explosion of itself. This fragment hits the ball and it is the cause of the explosion, the fragments of the ball fly in all directions with velocities much larger than the velocity of the ball. Some of them fly into mouth Band emerge from mouth $A$ in the past. One can show that they will continue to fly in practically all directions from mouth A, because they have different impact parameters when they few into mouth $B$. One of the fragments from mouth $A$ crosses the trajectory of the ball at the point $Z'$ exactly at that moment when the ball arrives at the same point $Z'$. This fragment is the cause of the explosion of the ball. The consequence of the explosion (the fragment) is the cause of the explosion.

Fig. 5. The self-inconsistent evolution in the problem of a ball with a bomb.
Fig. 6. The self-consistent evolution in the same problem as Fig. 5.

A variation on this experiment follows as

Now let us consider the problem which is a more complicated version of the problem of the preceding section. The problem is the following (see Figs. 7—9). Let us suppose that there is the ball with a bomb and a radio transmitter (see Fig. 7), which gives a directed beam. The fuse explodes the bomb if, and only if, it is irradiated by the beam of such a radio transmitter from a distance of, say, $30\ m$ (see Fig. 7).

The self-inconsistent evolution is shown in Fig. 8. The "younger" ball explodes, on being irradiated by the radio transmitter of the "older" ball after it comes from the future.

Fig. 7. A billard ball with a bomb and a radio transmitter.

Now a fragment of the explosion cannot be the cause of the explosion and at first glance, the problem of constructing a self-consistent evolution looks insoluble, but that is not the case.

In Fig. 9 one can see the self-consistent evolution. Before reaching the mouth $B$ the "younger" ball encounters its "older" self from the future but with a change orientation of the radio transmitter (in fact the "younger" ball with the radio transmitter rotates after the point $Z$, and the "older" one rotates also). Now the fuse is not irradiated by the radio transmitter and there is no reason for the explosion. The inelastic collision of the "older" and the "younger" versions of the ball leads to a change in the orientation of the radio transmitters of both balls (rotation of the balls ) and drives both of them into slightly altered trajectories. Self-consistent evolution without an explosion is possible.

Fig. 8. The self-inconsistent evolution in the problem of a ball with a bomb and a radio transmitter.
Fig. 8. The self-consistent evolution in the same problem as in Fig. 8.

There are many such occurences of the grandfather paradox here and there in the literature, but those are some of the most famous instances. Some more cases can be found for instance in Earman's "Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers and Shrieks".

Beyond thought experiments, they also do pop up in proposals of actual experiments. Eric Davies, while investigating the Bertotti-Robinson spacetime in his paper "Interstellar Travel Through Magnetic Wormholes" (or as they reference it, the Levi-Civitta spacetime), which was suspected to be a wormhole-like solution by Claudio Maccone (this was later shown to be incorrect). As the Bertotti-Robinson spacetime corresponds to a homogeneous electric or magnetic field, the experimental proposal for the largest effect was to use a nuclear weapon to produce the largest possible magnetic field.

It will be necessary to consider advancing the state-of-art of magnetic induction technologies in order to reach static field strengths that are $> 10^9 - 10^{10}$ Tesla. Extremely sensitive measurements of $c$ at the one part in $10^6$ or $10^7$ level may be necessary for laboratory experiments involving field strengths of $\approx 10^9$ Tesla. Magnetic induction technologies based on nuclear explosives/implosives may need to be seriously considered in order to achieve large magnitude results. An order of magnitude calculation indicates that magnetic fields generated by nuclear pulsed energy methods could be magnified to (brief) static values of $\approx 10^9$ Tesla by factors of the nuclear-to-chemical binding energy ratio ($\approx 10^6$).
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How many index can you cram into an equation

Index notation, where a summation over some set is indicated by subscripts and superscripts, can be a curse in physics, as things can go crazy pretty fast for some systems. This usually occurs either when the equations require a large amount of them due to the sheer number of terms or just their variety, in the case of the most esoteric physics.

For instance, he's an example from my own master thesis, where some calculation required me to compute Taylor terms up to the 4th order :

\begin{align} \psi (x_2,t + \epsilon ) &=\sqrt{\frac{m}{2\hbar\pi i\varepsilon}} \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} d\eta\ e^{\frac{im}{2\hbar} g_{ab}(x_2) \frac{\eta^a\eta^b}{\varepsilon}}\nonumber\\ &(1 - \frac{im}{2\hbar\varepsilon}(\lambda \eta^\mu \eta^\nu \eta^\rho g_{\mu\nu,\rho})- \frac{m^2}{8\hbar^2\varepsilon^2}(\lambda^2 \eta^\mu \eta^\nu \eta^\rho \eta^\sigma ( g_{\mu\nu,\rho\sigma}+ \eta^\tau \eta^\chi g_{\sigma\tau,\chi}g_{\mu\nu,\rho})) +\mathcal{O}(\eta^7))\nonumber\\ &(1 +\frac{im}{2\hbar\epsilon} g_{ab}(\tilde{x}) C^{ab}- \frac{m^2}{8\hbar^2\epsilon^2} g_{ab}(\tilde{x})g_{pq}(\tilde{x})C^{ab}C^{pq}+\mathcal{O}(C^3)) \nonumber\\ &(\psi(x_2,t)+ \eta^\alpha \psi(x_2,t)_{,\alpha}+ \frac 12 \eta^\alpha \eta^\beta \psi(x_2,t)_{,\alpha\beta} +\mathcal{O}(\eta^3)) \nonumber\\ &(\sqrt{g(x_2)} + \eta^\aleph \sqrt{g(x_2)}_{,\aleph}+ \frac 12 \eta^\aleph \eta^\beth \sqrt{g(x_2)}_{,\aleph\beth}+ \mathcal{O}(\eta^3)) \end{align}

with some hebrew letters added for fun. Index notation is a topic of some humor, for instance from this parody paper :

We use the following notation: Greek letters for vile spinor indices, Roman letters for isospin indices, Cyrillic letters for vector indices, Hebrew letters for 10-dimensional vector indices, Roman numerals for Dirac spinor indices, and radiation therapy for Hodgkin's disease.

Due to this, indexes tend to be dropped, assumed to be implicit by the choice of objects used in the equation. This happens a lot for spinors, in particular.

Let's now see what we could do with the opposite approach, to use as many indexes as possible. Take for example the Dirac equation, in pure unindexed form :

$$(i\hbar \partial\!\!\!/ - mc) \psi = 0$$

The Feynman slash notation $\partial\!\!\!/$ implies here a summation over two spacetime indexes with Dirac's gamma matrices, $\gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$ (this isn't strictly speaking two spacetime indexes since $\gamma$ isn't a tensor but a soldering form, but it is close enough to it). The equation then becomes

$$(i\hbar \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu - mc) \psi = 0$$

For a total of a single index. From there, we'll have to add the actual spinor indices. There are four types of spinor indices, all noted with upper case letters : the basic spinor $\psi^A$, the dual space spinor $\psi_A$, the complex conjugate spinor $\psi^{\dot A}$ and the complex conjugate dual spinor $\psi_{\dot A}$. The spinor of the Dirac equation is actually none of those, but a vector of spinors called the Dirac bispinor.

$$\psi = \begin{pmatrix}\xi^{A}\\\chi^{\dot A}\end{pmatrix}$$

$\xi$ is the left-handed spinor while $\chi$ is the right-handed spinor. In that notation, the gamma matrices become a matrix of the solder forms on those spinors.

$$\gamma^\mu = \begin{pmatrix} 0 && \sigma^\mu_{A\dot A}\\ \bar \sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} && 0 \end{pmatrix}$$

This allows for instance the usual formula to map a spinor to a vector via $\psi^{\dot A} \sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} \psi^A$. The Dirac equation then becomes

\begin{eqnarray} i\hbar (\sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} \partial_\mu - mc I_{A\dot A})\chi^A &=& 0\\ i\hbar (\bar \sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} \partial_\mu - mc I_{A\dot A}) \xi^A &=& 0 \end{eqnarray}

$I$ simply being the identity matrix. We can set the mass to $0$ and end up with the Weyl equation for a single right-handed spinor with no loss of indexes.

$$i\hbar (\sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} \partial_\mu - mc I_{A\dot A})\chi^A = 0$$

Up to three indexes. Now we go onto gauge fields : we replace the partial derivative $\partial_\mu$ with the gauge derivative $\nabla_\mu$. Gauge derivatives are Kozsul connection on a principal bundle and as such are fairly complicated, something of the form (up to some physical factors)

$$\nabla_\mu = \partial_\mu + \tau_\alpha^{ij} A_\mu^\alpha$$

Where $A$ is the gauge field and $\tau$ is the representation of the gauge group. In our case, we'll want to see the gauge derivative of a product of gauge groups, such as $\mathrm{SU}(3) \times \mathrm{SU}(2) \times \mathrm{U}(1)$, for which it will be a sum of the form

$$\nabla_\mu = \mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} \partial_\mu + \tau_\alpha^{ij} G_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \sigma_\alpha^{kl} W_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} u^{mn}_\alpha B_\mu^\alpha $$

$G$ is the gluon field, with $\tau$ the Gell-Mann matrices, $W$ is the weak isospin field, with $\sigma$ the Pauli matrices, and $B$ is the weak hypercharge field, with $u$ simply being some one dimensional matrix (we could remove its indices but let's keep it). The spinor field itself is a product of the original spinor space $\mathbb C^2$, $\chi^A_{ikm}$, each index corresponding to a different charge of the standard model. If we drop the mass term (to avoid getting too long), the new equation then becomes something like

$$i\hbar (\sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} (\mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} \partial_\mu + \tau_\alpha^{ij} G_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \sigma_\alpha^{kl} W_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} u^{mn}_\alpha B_\mu^\alpha) ) \chi^A_{ikm} = 0$$

Although we could have arbitrarily many indexes here, for a reasonable theory we are up to 10. We can then add the various flavors of particles. Considering every particle as a variation of the triplet, doublet and singlet of the standard model, there are six of them : the three couples of leptons and their neutrinos $(e, \nu_e)$, $(\mu, \nu_\mu)$ and $(\tau, \nu_\tau)$, and the three generations of quarks, $(u,d)$, $(c,s)$ and $(b,t)$. Without the mass term, we can simply add the flavor index (otherwise, the mass term would depend on both the flavor and the charges)

$$i\hbar (\sigma^\mu_{A\dot A} (\mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} \partial_\mu + \tau_\alpha^{ij} G_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \sigma_\alpha^{kl} W_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} u^{mn}_\alpha B_\mu^\alpha) ) \chi^A_{ikmf} = 0$$

Now we can add curved spacetime to the mix. This changes two things : we replace spacetime indices with frame indices (and add the frame field), and we also need another connection, this time the $\mathrm{SO}(1,3)$ connection of the frame bundle. $$i\hbar (e^\mu_a \sigma^a_{A\dot A} (\mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} \partial_\mu + \tau_\alpha^{ij} G_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{kl} \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \sigma_\alpha^{kl} W_\mu^\alpha \mathrm{I}^{mn} + \mathrm{I}^{ij} \mathrm{I}^{kl} u^{mn}_\alpha B_\mu^\alpha) ) \chi^A_{ikmf} = 0$$ [...]

While rarely done, it is entirely possible to write quantum states in index notation, since they are vectors themselves. For instance, take the two wavefunctions $\Psi$ and $\Phi$. We can write their product as

$$\langle \Psi, \Phi \rangle = \Psi_{\alpha} \Phi^\alpha$$

We can then add the wavefunction to the equation of motion via the Schwinger-Dyson equation

$$\left\langle \frac{\delta S}{\delta \phi(x)} \right\rangle = \Psi_\alpha \left(\frac{\delta S}{\delta \phi(x)}\right)^\alpha_\beta \Psi^\beta = 0$$
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What's going on at Black Mesa

The original Half-Life had rather low resolution whiteboards, making it difficult to fit much legible text on it. All the whiteboards at Black Mesa were the same texture

Fig 1. Whiteboards in Half Life 1

With the same formulas, which were mostly easily recognizable equations, such as $E = mc^2$ and the Newtonian gravity

$$F_g = G\frac{Mm}{r^2}$$

For the fanmade recreation of Half-Life 1 in the Source engine, Black Mesa, the whiteboards were spruced up by making them higher resolution, with relevant content and unique for each room, although still fairly unrealistic in how well-written and small the text is on a laboratory whiteboard. A good compilation of all the whiteboards is available here. I'll look into the content of the theoretical physics-related ones, as I'm not particularly good with chemistry, crystallography or alien biology.

The first few whiteboards are about wormholes and faster-than-light travel, as befits Black Mesa's research on teleportation (although they appear in Sector C, which is more material science, not in Sector F, the Lambda Complex, where the actual teleportation research happens). The first one is on wormholes :

Black Mesa whiteboard 1

Let's break this down a bit. The first important line is this

$$ds^2 = -e^{2\Phi} dt^2 + \frac{1}{1 + \frac{b}{r}} dr^2 + r^2 \left[ d\theta^2 + \sin^2 \theta d\varphi^2 \right]$$

This is the metric tensor of the Morris-Thorne wormhole, expressed in the Schwarzdchild coordinates. From then on, the rest of the whiteboard roughly follows the same procedure as Morris and Thorne's original paper, Wormholes in spacetime and their use for interstellar travel: A tool for teaching general relativity. To the right are the properties of the functions making up the metric tensor.

Defining $\Phi$ as the redshift function, and putting the throat of the wormhole as the minimum value [of the shape function $b(r)$]. A drawing of the embedding of the surface defined by $(t= \text{const}, r, \theta = \pi/2, \varphi)$ is done, embedded in the three-dimensional space with cylindrical coordinates $(r, \varphi, z)$.

The proper radial distance $l$ is then defined with

$$l(r) = \pm \int_{r_0}^r \frac{dr'}{\sqrt{1 - \frac{b(r)}{r}}}$$

It's a bit hard to make out exactly what they ask but from context it seems to be the usual requirement that $dr/dl = 0$ at the throat, or equivalently $dl/dr \to \infty$ [this implies that at the throat ($r = r_0$), we have $b(r_0) = r_0$].

Once the metric is dealt with, they define a tetrad (a set of orthonormal basis vectors)

\begin{eqnarray} e_{\hat{t}} &=& e^{-\Phi} e_t\\ e_{\hat{r}} &=& (1 - \frac{b}{r}) e_r\\ e_{\hat{\theta}} &=& \frac{1}{r} e_\theta\\ e_{\hat{\varphi}} &=& \frac{1}{r\sin \theta} e_\varphi \end{eqnarray}

Then they compute the Einstein tensor along that tetrad

\begin{eqnarray} G_{\hat{t}\hat{t}} &=& \frac{b'}{r^2}\\ G_{\hat{r}\hat{r}} &=& - \frac{b}{r^3} + 2 (1 - \frac{b}{r}) \frac{\Phi'}{r}\\ G_{\hat{\theta}\hat{\theta}} &=& G_{\hat{\varphi}\hat{\varphi}} = \left[ 1 - \frac{b}{r} \right] \left[ \Phi'' + \Phi' (\Phi' + \frac{1}{r}) \right] - \frac{1}{2 r^2} \left[ b'r - b\right] \left[ \Phi' + \frac{1}{r} \right] \end{eqnarray}

And from there, using the Einstein field equations $G_{\hat{\alpha}\hat{\beta}} = 8\pi G T_{\hat{\alpha}\hat{\beta}}$, they compute the stress-energy tensor, and associated to it, the energy density $\rho$, the radial tension $\tau$ and the tangential pressure $p$.

\begin{eqnarray} T_{\hat{t}\hat{t}} &=& \rho = \frac{b'}{8 \pi G r^2}\\ - T_{\hat{r}\hat{r}} &=& \tau =\frac{1}{8 \pi G} \left[ - \frac{b}{r^3} + 2 (1 - \frac{b}{r}) \frac{\Phi'}{r}\right]\\ T_{\hat{\theta}\hat{\theta}} &=& T_{\hat{\varphi}\hat{\varphi}} = p = \frac{1}{8\pi G} \left\{ \left[ 1 - \frac{b}{r} \right] \left[ \Phi'' + \Phi' (\Phi' + \frac{1}{r}) \right] - \frac{1}{2 r^2} \left[ b'r - b\right] \left[ \Phi' + \frac{1}{r} \right] \right \} \end{eqnarray}

They then compute the quantity $\rho - \tau$, which is the product of the stress-energy tensor with a null curve of tangent $k^{\hat{\mu}} = (1, 1, 0, 0)$ in the tetrad basis, that is

$$T_{\hat{\alpha}\hat{\beta}} k^{\hat{\alpha}} k^{\hat{\beta}} = \rho - \tau$$

$ 8 \pi G(\rho - \tau)$ corresponding to the Einstein tensor $G_{\hat{\alpha}\hat{\beta}} k^{\hat{\alpha}} k^{\hat{\beta}}$. This quantity is then found to be equal to

$$ 8 \pi G(\rho - \tau) = - \frac{e^{2\Phi}}{r} \left[ e^{-2\Phi} (1 - \frac{b}{r}) \right]' $$

Since $b(r)$ has a minima at the throat of the wormhole ($r = r_0$) where $b(r_0) = r_0$, and any point beyond the throat will have $b(r) < r$, this leads to

$$e^{-2\Phi} (1 - \frac{b}{r}) > 0$$

Meaning that there is at least one point superior to $r_0$ where the derivative is positive, in particular this will be true at the throat itself, hence

$$ 8 \pi G(\rho(r_0) - \tau(r_0)) \leq 0$$

which means that the throat requires exotic matter, as the comment indicates. The details of why this is so is in the following section

This starts first with writing the stress-energy tensor in matrix form. Since the metric leads to a Type I stress energy tensor, it is of the form

$$T_{\hat{\alpha}\hat{\beta}} = \begin{bmatrix} \rho &0&0&0 \\ 0 & p_1 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & p_2 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & p_3 \end{bmatrix}$$

Then the Null Energy Condition (or NEC) is written down. The NEC states that given any null vector, the product of the stress-energy tensor with those vectors is positive or null,

$$T_{\alpha \beta} k^{\alpha} k^{\beta} \geq 0$$

For Type I stress-energy tensors, this will correspond to the following condition

$$\forall j, \rho + p_j \geq 0$$

that is, the sum of the energy density and momentum density in any direction is positive or zero, which is precisely the condition violated by the metric, for the radial momentum. The next equations concern other energy conditions, starting with the Weak Energy Condition (or WEC), which states that for any timelike vector $V$, we have

$$T_{\alpha \beta} V^{\alpha} V^{\beta} \geq 0$$

meaning that, for a Type 1 stress-energy tensor, we get

$$\rho \geq 0 \wedge \forall j, \rho + p_j \geq 0$$

The energy density is positive or zero, as well as its sum with the momentum density in any direction, which is also rewritten as $p_i \in [-\rho, \rho]$ later.

Then there is the Strong Energy Condition (or SEC)

$$(T_{\alpha \beta} + \frac{T}{2} g_{\alpha \beta}) V^{\alpha} V^{\beta} \geq 0$$

with $T = T_{\alpha \beta} g^{\alpha \beta}$, which can once again be rewritten as

$$\forall j, \rho + p_j \geq 0 \wedge \rho + \sum_j p_j \geq 0$$

The next three lines are the averaged versions of those energy conditions, the averaged null energy condition (ANEC), averaged weak energy condition (AWEC) and averaged strong energy condition (ASEC). For any curve $\gamma$ with tangent vector $k$ or $V$,

\begin{eqnarray} \int T_{\alpha \beta} k^\alpha k^\beta d\lambda &\geq& 0\\ \int T_{\alpha \beta} V^\alpha V^\beta d\tau &\geq& 0\\ \int (T_{\alpha \beta} k^\alpha k^\beta + \frac{1}{2} T) d\tau&\geq& 0 \end{eqnarray}

For a tangent vector $k^\alpha = \xi (1; \cos \psi_i)$ and $V^\alpha = \gamma (1; \beta \cos \varphi_i)$, this gives the relations \begin{eqnarray} \int (\rho + \sum_j \cos^2 \psi_j p_j) \xi^2 d\lambda &\geq& 0\\ \int (\rho + \beta^2 \sum_j \cos^2 \varphi_j p_j) \gamma^2 &\geq& 0\\ \int \left[ \gamma^2 (\rho + \beta^2 \sum_j \cos^2 \varphi_j p_j) \frac{1}{2} \rho + \frac{1}{2} \sum_j p_j \right] d\tau&\geq& 0 \end{eqnarray}

The follow-up isn't too clear, outside of the bit of text saying that violation of the WEC, SEC and DEC implies a violation of the ANEC (which is true).

Another whiteboard contains a few different things concerning faster-than-light travel.

First there is this metric tensor

$$ds^2 = -c^2 dt^2 + dl^2 + (k^2 + l^2) (d\theta^2 + \sin^2 \theta d\varphi^2)$$

This is actually the same metric as previously, except that it is in the proper distance coordinate system, using the relation $l(r)$ seen above, giving the metric $$ds^2 = -c^2 dt^2 + dl^2 + r^2(l) (d\theta^2 + \sin^2 \theta d\varphi^2)$$

with the radius function $r = \sqrt{l^2 + k^2}$, corresponding to the Ellis-Bronnikov wormhole.

The diagram

isn't actually the corresponding spacetime, but it is the diagram of the Kranikov tube, showing the light cones at various points, $c^2 dt^2 > dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2$ simply indicating timelike curves.

The final part of the whiteboard concerns the Casimir effect

While realistically not ideal for propping up wormholes or Krasnikov tubes, the Casimir effect is a simple example of violation of most energy conditions, which wormholes do require. It's a fairly standard treatment (once again seemingly taken from the wikipedia article on the topic), first defining the eigenfunctions of a scalar field between two conducting plates separated by a length $a$ along the $z$ axis

$$\psi_n(x,y,z;t) = e^{-i\omega_n t} e^{ik_x x + i k_y y} \sin(k_n z)$$

with the momentum in the $z$ direction quantized as $k_n = \pi n / a$, and correspondingly the dispersion relation for the frequency

$$\omega_n = c \sqrt{k_x^2 + k_y^2 + \frac{\pi^2 n^2}{a^2}}$$

The expectation value of the energy of that field being

$$\langle E \rangle = \frac{\hbar}{2} 2 \int \frac{dk_x dk_y}{(2\pi)^2} \sum_{i= 1}^\infty A \omega_n$$

If we define $q^2 = k_x^2 + k_y^2$ and switch to polar coordinates, the integral becomes

$$\langle E \rangle = \frac{\hbar}{2} 2 \int \frac{1}{(2\pi)} r dr \sum_{i= 1}^\infty A \omega_n$$


$$\langle E \rangle = \frac{\hbar}{2} 2 \int \frac{1}{(2\pi)} r dr \sum_{i= 1}^\infty A c \sqrt{q^2 + \frac{\pi^2 n^2}{a^2}}$$

This quantity is fairly divergent, just being an integral of an unbounded positive function over $\mathbb R$, as well as an infinite sum of a strictly increasing function, so we need to perform a regularization, in this case with the use of a zeta regulator. Instead of summing the quantity $\omega_n$, we'll sum $\omega_n |\omega_n|^{-s}$, with the limit $s \to 0$. This gives the appropriate forumla

$$\frac{\langle E(s) \rangle}{A} = \frac{\hbar c^{1 - s}}{4\pi^{2}} \sum_n \int_0^\infty 2\pi q dq |q^2 + \frac{\pi^2 n^2}{a^2}|^{\frac{1-s}{2}} $$

with the integral evaluating to

$$\frac{\langle E(s) \rangle}{A} = - \frac{\hbar c^{1 - s} \pi^{2 - s}}{2 a^{3-s}} \frac{1}{3-s} \sum_n |n|^{3-s}$$

Which is obviously divergent for $s = 0$. This corresponds to the limit of $s \to 0$ of the Riemann zeta function $\zeta(s - 3)$. While the Riemann zeta function isn't well-defined around that point, it is possible to analytically continue it in that region. We can then obtain

$$\frac{\langle E \rangle}{A} = \lim_{s \to 0} \frac{\langle E(s) \rangle}{A} = - \frac{\hbar c \pi^2}{6 a^3} \zeta(-3)$$

And the analytical continuation of $\zeta$ gives

$$\zeta(-3) = \frac{1}{120}$$

For a total energy of

$$\frac{\langle E \rangle}{A} = -\frac{\hbar c \pi^2}{720 a^3}$$

It is followed by a simple calculation of the Casimir force generated by moving the plates,

$$\frac{F_c}{A} = - \frac{d}{da} \frac{\langle E \rangle}{A} = -\frac{\hbar c \pi^2}{240a^4}$$

The following whiteboard is a calculation of evaporation time for Schwarzschild black holes via Hawking radiation (the derivation of which is possibly taken from the wikipedia article on the topic) :

Consider a black hole of mass $M$, corresponding to a total energy of $E = Mc^2$. The total power radiated will be equal to the change in its energy

$$P = -\frac{dE}{dt} = -c^2 \frac{dM}{dt}$$

The power radiated $P$ is known from the Hawking derivation of the radiation

$$P = \frac{\hbar c^6}{15360 \pi G^2 M^2}$$

of which we will split out the mass to obtain

$$P = \frac{K_{ev}}{M^2},\ K_{ev} = \frac{\hbar c^6}{15360 \pi G^2}$$

Then we can simply solve the evaporation time as a simple ordinary differential equation of the mass, via

$$-c^2 \frac{dM}{dt} = \frac{K_{ev}}{M^2}$$

meaning that the energy radiated away is lost to the total mass. Using the common physicist trick of treating differentials as real objects, we get

$$M^2 dM= -\frac{K_{ev}}{c^2} dt$$

The black hole starts at time $t = 0$ at mass $M = M_0$ and finishes at time $t = t_{ev}$ at mass $M = 0$, with the solution

$$\int_{M_0}^0 M^2 dM= -\frac{K_{ev}}{c^2} \int_{0}^{t_ev} dt \Rightarrow - \frac{M_0^3}{3} = -\frac{K_{ev}}{c^2} t_{ev}$$

which gives us the evaporation time as

\begin{eqnarray} t_{ev} &=& \frac{c^2 M_0^3}{3 K_{ev}} = (\frac{c^2 M_0^3}{3} ) (\frac{15360 \pi G^2}{\hbar c^6})\\ &=& \frac{5120 \pi G^2 M_0^3}{\hbar c^4} \end{eqnarray}

The rest of the calculations are just the evaporation times for two masses : the Planck mass and one solar mass. For the Planck mass

$$M_P = \sqrt{\frac{\hbar c}{G}}$$

the corresponding evaporation time is

$$t_{ev} = \frac{5120 \pi G^2 M_p^3}{\hbar c^4} = 5120 \pi t_p = 5120 \pi \sqrt{\hbar G}{c^5} \approx 8.671 \times 10^{-40} s$$

while for one solar mass,

$$t_{ev} = \frac{5120 \pi G^2 M_\odot^3}{\hbar c^4} = 6.617 \times 10^{74} s$$

While the first part is some sort of mix of chemical and alchemical notation, the second is related to radioactive decay. The diagram is the Feynman diagram of a beta netative ($\beta^-$) decay, as seen from the perspective of quantum chromodynamics

with a neutron (composed of three quarks $udd$) emitting a $W^-$ boson, via the process $d \to u + W^-$, turning it into a proton ($uud$). The $W^-$ boson then decays into an electron and anti-electronic neutrino, $W^- \to e^- + \bar \nu_e$.

The text itself is a standard derivation of the eponymous half life formula for radioactive decay. First they define the half-life in terms of the decay constant

$$t_{1/2} = \frac{\ln(2)}{\lambda} = \tau \ln(2)$$ $$N_t = N_0 (\frac{1}{2})^{\frac{t}{t_{\frac{1}{2}}}}$$
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