On conserved quantities in general relativity

Abhay Ashtekarar, Anne Magnon-Ashtekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Recently, definitions of total 4-momentum and angular momentum of isolated gravitating systems have been introduced in terms of the asymptotic behavior of the Weyl curvature (of the underlying space-time) at spatial infinity. Given a space-time equipped with isometries, on the other hand, one can also construct conserved quantities using the presence of the Killing fields. Thus, for example, for stationary space-times, the Komar integral can be used to define the total mass, and, the asymptotic value of the twist of the Killing field, to introduce the dipole angular momentum moment. Similarly, for axisymmetric space-times, one can obtain the ("z-component" of the) total angular momentum in terms of the Komar integral. It is shown that, in spite of their apparently distinct origin, in the presence of isometries, quantities defined at spatial infinity reduce to the ones constructed from Killing fields. This agreement reflects one of the many subtle aspects of Einstein's (vacuum) equation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-800
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mathematical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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