8. A Sampler of Reactions to Global Lorentzian Geometry
The first author has sometimes been tempted to sit down with a group of long-
time associates at a conference and ask them what aspects of the monograph Global
Lorentzian Geometry they found particularly helpful. However, he has never
done so. Nonetheless, to provide a lighter touch to the ending of his presentation
at the Beemfest, a sample of reactions was provided which have randomly reached
his attention over the years, and which prove that it is hard to predict what aspect
of a publication or book will be found to be of most interest by the readership.
The first thing which has amused us over the years is that around 1981, a
reviewer of the First Edition commented very enthusiastically on what a wonderful
proof had been given in Proposition 2.6 (which became Proposition 3.10 in the
Second Edition) of the basic fact that a compact space-time contains a closed
timelike curve and hence fails to be chronological. The first author, of course,
enjoyed the proof that Beem drafted for this result, using an open cover of future
chronological sets, but could hardly have imagined that such a standard type of
topological proof would have been greeted with such enthusiasm.
A second thing which caused us to smile was that a rather routine lemma on
totally vicious space-times (Lemma 3.2 (b) in the First Edition, which became
improved Lemma 4.2 in the Second Edition) inspired publications on two
continents offering improvements-first,
Ikawa and
in Japan,
and then
in Germany, commenting on their earlier paper. This
Lemma was chosen for the text solely because it provided an example of a causality
condition which had been given by the General Relativists themselves, for which
the Lorentzian. distance function always took on infinite values. Hence, it was
selected to highlight that this possibility did indeed occur for things which had
been formulated by the physicists.
At around that time, this same Professor
Wegner at TU Berlin had several
Ph.D. students who wrote interesting dissertations on the differential geometry of
space-times. In due course of time, we received copies of their works, and the first
author was flattered yet chagrined after receiving one of these dissertations to read
in it that if Beem and Ehrlich had studied two--dimensional space-times in Section
2.4 of the First Edition, then these things were legitimate objects of study. (This
was before physicists began writing about 1
1, 2
1, and 3
1 space-times as
a common notation, so one supposes that this researcher felt the need to justify
working in 2 dimensions rather than 4.)
For Figure 2.3 in the First Edition (which became Figure 3.3 in the Second
Edition), as decided non--experts in General Relativity, we just selected from the
many causality conditions considered in relativity those which seemed most appro-
priate and would fit on the table. We started with global hyperbolicity and ended
with chronology. (The first author was not keen on figures anyway, but Professor
Beem had told him that physicists enjoy figures, so he gave Beem his blessing to
produce some for the First Edition; Beem drew them by hand with Indian ink for
the First Edition, while the typists typed the accompanying captions.) We termed
this figure ourselves the "hierarchy" of causality conditions. When the first author
relocated to Florida and several years later began the study of the geometric prop-
erties of gravitational plane waves with Professor G. Emch, he found that Emch
was referring to these conditions, which we haphazardly selected, as "the ladder
of causality," and Emch told the first author that he wished to determine
Previous Page Next Page