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The Motion of Point Particles in Curved Spacetime

Overview of attention for article published in Living Reviews in Relativity, May 2004
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#50 of 100)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (78th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 Wikipedia page
1 Q&A thread


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Readers on

1 Mendeley
The Motion of Point Particles in Curved Spacetime
Published in
Living Reviews in Relativity, May 2004
DOI 10.12942/lrr-2004-6
Pubmed ID

Eric Poisson


This review is concerned with the motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime. In each of the three cases the particle produces a field that behaves as outgoing radiation in the wave zone, and therefore removes energy from the particle. In the near zone the field acts on the particle and gives rise to a self-force that prevents the particle from moving on a geodesic of the background spacetime. The self-force contains both conservative and dissipative terms, and the latter are responsible for the radiation reaction. The work done by the self-force matches the energy radiated away by the particle. The field's action on the particle is difficult to calculate because of its singular nature: The field diverges at the position of the particle. But it is possible to isolate the field's singular part and show that it exerts no force on the particle - its only effect is to contribute to the particle's inertia. What remains after subtraction is a smooth field that is fully responsible for the self-force. Because this field satisfies a homogeneous wave equation, it can be thought of as a free (radiative) field that interacts with the particle; it is this interaction that gives rise to the self-force. The mathematical tools required to derive the equations of motion of a point scalar charge, a point electric charge, and a point mass in a specified background spacetime are developed here from scratch. The review begins with a discussion of the basic theory of bitensors (Section 2). It then applies the theory to the construction of convenient coordinate systems to chart a neighbourhood of the particle's word line (Section 3). It continues with a thorough discussion of Green's functions in curved spacetime (Section 4). The review concludes with a detailed derivation of each of the three equations of motion (Section 5).

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 1 Mendeley reader of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 18 1800%
India 8 800%
Spain 7 700%
France 7 700%
Germany 6 600%
Japan 6 600%
United Kingdom 6 600%
South Africa 4 400%
Brazil 3 300%
Other 38 3800%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 460 46000%
Researcher 207 20700%
Student > Master 167 16700%
Unspecified 87 8700%
Student > Doctoral Student 76 7600%
Other 257 25700%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Physics and Astronomy 353 35300%
Engineering 253 25300%
Unspecified 187 18700%
Computer Science 154 15400%
Chemistry 73 7300%
Other 234 23400%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 July 2011.
All research outputs
of 12,352,410 outputs
Outputs from Living Reviews in Relativity
of 100 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 264,224 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Living Reviews in Relativity
of 3 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,352,410 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 78th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 100 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 11.6. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 50% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 264,224 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 3 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one.