The Equivalence Principle, the Covariance Principle and the
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The Equivalence Principle, the Covariance Principle
the Question of Self-Consistency in General Relativity
C. Y. Lo
Applied and Pure Research Institute
17 Newcastle Drive, Nashua, NH 03060, USA
September 2001

The equivalence principle, which states the local equivalence between acceleration and gravity, requires that a free falling observer must result in a co-moving local Minkowski space. On the other hand, covariance principle assumes any Gaussian system to be valid as a space-time coordinate system. Given the mathematical existence of the co-moving local Minkowski space along a time-like geodesic in a Lorentz manifold, a crucial question for a satisfaction of the equivalence principle is whether the geodesic represents a physical free fall. For instance, a geodesic of a non-constant metric is unphysical if the acceleration on a resting observer does not exist. This analysis is modeled after Einstein? illustration of the equivalence principle with the calculation of light bending. To justify his calculation rigorously, it is necessary to derive the Maxwell-Newton Approximation with physical principles that lead to general relativity. It is shown, as expected, that the Galilean transformation is incompatible with the equivalence principle. Thus, general mathematical covariance must be restricted by physical requirements. Moreover, it is shown through an example that a Lorentz manifold may not necessarily be diffeomorphic to a physical space-time. Also observation supports that a spacetime coordinate system has meaning in physics. On the other hand, Pauli? version leads to the incorrect speculation that in general relativity space-time coordinates have no physical meaning
1. Introduction.
Currently, a major problem in general relativity is that any Riemannian geometry with the proper metric signature would be accepted as a valid solution of Einstein? equation of 1915, and many unphysical solutions were accepted [1]. This is, in part, due to the fact that the nature of the source term has been obscure since the beginning [2,3]. Moreover, the mathematical existence of a solution is often not accompanied with understanding in terms of physics [1,4,5]. Consequently, the adequacy of a source term, for a given physical situation, is often not clear [6-9]. Pauli [10] considered that ?he theory of relativity to be an example showing how a fundamental scientific discovery, sometimes even against the resistance of its creator, gives birth to further fruitful developments, following its own autonomous course." Thus, in spite of observational confirmations of Einstein? predictions, one should examine whether theoretical self-consistency is satisfied. To this end, one may first examine the consistency among physical ?rinciples" which lead to general relativity.
The foundation of general relativity consists of a) the covariance principle, b) the equivalence principle, and c) the field equation whose source term is subjected to modification [3,7,8]. Einstein? equivalence principle is the most crucial for general relativity [10-13]. In this paper, the consistency between the equivalence principle and the covariance principle will be examined theoretically, in particular through examples. Moreover, the consistency between the equivalence principle and Einstein? field equation of 1915 is also discussed.

The principle of covariance [2] states that ?he general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of coordinates, that is, are covariant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally covariant)." The covariance principle can be considered as consisting of two features: 1) the mathematical formulation in terms of Riemannian geometry and 2) the general validity of any Gaussian coordinate system as a space-time coordinate system in physics. Feature 1) was eloquently established by Einstein, but feature 2) remains an unverified conjecture. In disagreement with Einstein [2], Eddington [11] pointed out that ?pace is not a lot of points close together; it is a lot of distances interlocked." Einstein accepted Eddington? criticism and no longer advocated the invalid arguments in his book, ?he Meaning of Relativity" of 1921. Einstein also praised Eddington? book of 1923 to be the finest presentation of the subject ever written
Moreover, in contrast to the belief of some theorists [14,15], it has never been established that the equivalence of all frames of reference requires the equivalence of all coordinate systems [9]. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that, because of the equivalence principle, the mathematical covariance must be restricted [8,9,16].
Moreover, Kretschmann [17] pointed out that the postulate of general covariance does not make any assertions about the physical content of the physical laws, but only about their mathematical formulation, and Einstein entirely concurred with his view. Pauli [10] pointed out further, ?he generally covariant formulation of the physical laws acquires a physical content only through the principle of equivalence...." Nevertheless, Einstein [2] argued that "... there is no immediate reason for preferring certain systems of coordinates to others, that is to say, we arrive at the requirement of general co-variance."
Thus, Einstein? covariance principle is only an interim conjecture. Apparently, he could mean only to a mathematical coordinate system for calculation since his equivalence principle, among others, is an immediate reason for preferring certain systems of coordinates in physics (壯 5 & 6). Note that a mathematical general covariance requires, as Hawking declared [18], the indistinguishability between the time-coordinate and a space-coordinate. On the other hand, the equivalence principle is related to the Minkowski space, which requires a distinction between the time-coordinate and a space-coordinate. Hence, the mathematical general covariance is inherently inconsistent with the equivalence pr
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