Monday, May 8, 2023

Droste Discovered the Schwarzschild Metric

The Schwarzschild metric is famous for describing a black hole in general relativity. It was discovered in 1915 immediately after publication of the field equations by Einstein and Hilbert, although the significance of black holes was only figured out much later.

I recently learned that this metric was independently discovered by a student of Lorentz.

From a 2002 paper:

Johannes Droste’s “Field of a single center in Einstein’s theory of gravitation, and the motion of a particle in that field.” It is a remarkable paper, arguably one of the most remarkable in the annals of general relativity and yet, although the paper is known to historians of science, practitioners of relativity themselves have been almost universally unaware of its existence for nearly a century, and no mention of it appears in any standard text. ...

We know little about Johannes Droste. From what we do know (see the biographical note), Einstein’s theory of gravitation was the subject of his Ph.D. thesis. As he tells us in the introduction to the current paper, he had been working on the equations of motion in general relativity as early as 1913 after Einstein published a preliminary version of the field equations.

The birth of Newtonian gravity is considered to be the central force law, although the field equations came much later. For general relativity, the birth is considered to be the field equations, not the central force law.

I am not sure why. The Schwarzschild-Droste metric is the analog of the central force law. It is what you want for celestial orbits. Einstein and Grossmann published an "Entwurf" theory in 1913, saying Ricci = 0 in empty space. Einstein retracted this in subsequent papers, but it is apparently what Droste used to figure out the correct central force law.

If Einstein had never met Hilbert in 1915, and they never published their field equations, we still might have had the essence of the theory from Droste's work. Probably Lorentz contributed also.

1 comment:

  1. Roger,
    discussing black holes in general like playing 'whack a mole'. Any objection you logically make can be elided away from by ducking down some side alley variation. Just because you name something a black hole does not mean in any way you actually know what one is... much less be certain of describing or modeling its unknown internals accurately.

    Many of the terms used to describe black holes are only actually applicable to certain kinds of theoretical black holes, and many of the terms are entirely rubbish, much like the gem you mention where 'Ricci = 0', (a 'gravitational field outside a body' is sheer bullshittery on such a scale I can't even measure it) which is mathematically stating that you are removing all matter and energy from your field, so... by definition there is no source for your gravitational field despite the popular claim there is a gravitational presence still there there mathematically...well, prey tell, just how?? Magical circular wording? In reality math can not convey actual forces, or carry mass without a defined source...outside of fantasy and in physics apparently.

    Also, to add insult to injury, Ricci = 0 mathematically depends upon a little thing I like to call 'division by zero'. I can't divide by zero...and much less get infinity, and neither can you, and more importantly, neither can Hilbert of Einstein, or even little Sean Caroll and Kaku the Magnificant.