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Title: Conformal symmetries in special and general relativity : the derivation and interpretation of conformal symmetries and asymptotic conformal symmetries in Minkowski space-time and in some space-times of general relativity
Author: Griffin, G. K.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3519 4210
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 1976
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The central objective of this work is to present an analysis of the asymptotic conformal Killing vectors in asymptotically-flat space-times of general relativity. This problem has been examined by two different methods; in Chapter 5 the asymptotic expansion technique originated by Newman and Unti [31] leads to a solution for asymptotically-flat spacetimes which admit an asymptotically shear-free congruence of null geodesics, and in Chapter 6 the conformal rescaling technique of Penrose [54] is used both to support the findings of the previous chapter and to set out a procedure for solution in the general case. It is pointed out that Penrose's conformal technique is preferable to the use of asymptotic expansion methods, since it can be established in a rigorous manner without leading to the possible convergence difficulties associated with asymptotic expansions. Since the asymptotic conformal symmetry groups of asymptotically flat space-times Are generalisations of the conformal group of Minkowski space-time we devote Chapters 3 and 4 to a study of the flat space case so that the results of later chapters may receive an interpretation in terms of familiar concepts. These chapters fulfil a second, equally important, role in establishing local isomorphisms between the Minkowski-space conformal group, 90(2,4) and SU(2,2). The SO(2,4) representation has been used by Kastrup [61] to give a physical interpretation using space-time gauge transformations. This appears as part of the survey of interpretative work in Chapter 7. The SU(2,2) representation of the conformal group has assumed a theoretical prominence in recent years. through the work of Penrose [9-11] on twistors. In Chapter 4 we establish contact with twistor ideas by showing that points in Minkowski space-time correspond to certain complex skew-symmetric rank two tensors on the SU(2,2) carrier space. These objects are, in Penrose's terminology [91, simple skew-symmetric twistors of valence [J. A particularly interesting aspect of conformal objects in space-time is explored in Chapter 8, where we extend the work of Geroch [16] on multipole moments of the Laplace equation in 3-space to the consideration. of Q tý =0 in Minkowski space-time. This development hinges upon the fact that multipole moment fields are also conformal Killing tensors. In the final chapter some elementary applications of the results of Chapters 3 and 5 are made to cosmological models which have conformal flatness or asymptotic conformal flatness. In the first class here we have 'models of the Robertson-Walker type and in the second class we have the asymptotically-Friedmann universes considered by Hawking [73].
Supervisor: Robinson, W. J. Sponsor: University of Bradford Research Studenship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Asymptotic conformal Killing vectors ; Asymptotically-flat space-times ; General relativity ; Minkowski space-time