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Living Reviews in Relativity: article updates by Winicour and Adamo et al.

Living Reviews in Relativity has published major updates of the reviews on “Characteristic Evolution and Matching” by Jeffrey Winicour and on “Null Geodesic Congruences, Asymptotically-Flat Spacetimes and Their Physical Interpretation” by Timothy A. Adamo, Ezra T. Newman, and Carlos Kozameh in January 2012.

Please find the abstract and further details below.

PUB.NO. lrr-2012-2
Winicour, Jeffrey
“Characteristic Evolution and Matching”

ACCEPTED: 2012-01-04
PUBLISHED: 2012-01-25


I review the development of numerical evolution codes for general relativity based upon the characteristic initial value problem. Progress in characteristic evolution is traced from the early stage of 1D feasibility studies to 2D axisymmetric codes that accurately simulate the oscillations and gravitational collapse of relativistic stars and to current 3D codes that provide pieces of a binary black hole spacetime. Cauchy codes have now been successful at simulating all aspects of the binary black hole problem inside an artificially constructed outer boundary. A prime application of characteristic evolution is to extend such simulations to null infinity where the waveform from the binary inspiral and merger can be unambiguously computed. This has now been accomplished by Cauchy-characteristic extraction, where data for the characteristic evolution is supplied by Cauchy data on an extraction worldtube inside the artificial outer boundary. The ultimate application of characteristic evolution is to eliminate the role of this outer boundary by constructing a global solution via Cauchy-characteristic matching. Progress in this direction is discussed.

PUB.NO. lrr-2012-1
Newman, Ezra Ted and Kozameh, Carlos and Adamo, Timothy M.
“Null Geodesic Congruences, Asymptotically-Flat Spacetimes and Their Physical Interpretation”

ACCEPTED: 2012-01-16
PUBLISHED: 2012-01-24


A priori, there is nothing very special about shear-free or asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences. Surprisingly, however, they turn out to possess a large number of fascinating geometric properties and to be closely related, in the context of general relativity, to a variety of physically significant effects. It is the purpose of this paper to try to fully develop these issues.

This work starts with a detailed exposition of the theory of shear-free and asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences, i.e., congruences with shear that vanishes at future conformal null infinity. A major portion of the exposition lies in the analysis of the space of regular shear-free and asymptotically shear-free null geodesic congruences. This analysis leads to the space of complex analytic curves in an auxiliary four-complex dimensional space, H-space. They in turn play a dominant role in the applications.

The applications center around the problem of extracting interior physical properties of an asymptotically-flat spacetime directly from the asymptotic gravitational (and Maxwell) field itself, in analogy with the determination of total charge by an integral over the Maxwell field at infinity or the identification of the interior mass (and its loss) by (Bondi’s) integrals of the Weyl tensor, also at infinity.

More specifically, we will see that the asymptotically shear-free congruences lead us to an asymptotic definition of the center-of-mass and its equations of motion. This includes a kinematic meaning, in terms of the center-of-mass motion, for the Bondi three-momentum. In addition, we obtain insights into intrinsic spin and, in general, angular momentum, including an angular-momentum–conservation law with well-defined flux terms. When a Maxwell field is present, the asymptotically shear-free congruences allow us to determine/define at infinity a center-of-charge world line and intrinsic magnetic dipole moment.