Fermi coordinates

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In the mathematical theory of Riemannian geometry, Fermi coordinates are local coordinates that are adapted to a geodesic.[1]

More formally, suppose M is an n-dimensional Riemannian manifold, \gamma is a geodesic on M, and p is a point on \gamma. Then there exists local coordinates (t,x^2, \ldots, x^n) around p such that:

  • For small t, (t,0,\ldots, 0) represents the geodesic near p,
  • On \gamma, the metric tensor is the Euclidean metric,
  • On \gamma, all Christoffel symbols vanish.

Such coordinates are called Fermi coordinates and are named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. The above properties are only valid on the geodesic. For example, if all Christoffel symbols vanish near p, then the manifold is flat near p.

  1. ^ Manasse and Misner [1], Fermi Normal Coordinates and Some Basic Concepts in Differential Geometry. Journal of Mathematical Physics 4:6, 1963.

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