## Hopf-Rinow II and an applicationNovember 15, 2009

Posted by Akhil Mathew in differential geometry, MaBloWriMo.
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Now, let’s finish the proof of the Hopf-Rinow theorem (the first one) started yesterday. We need to show that given a Riemannian manifold ${(M,g)}$ which is a metric space ${d}$, the existence of arbitrary geodesics from ${p}$ implies that ${M}$ is complete with respect to ${d}$. Actually, this is slightly stronger than what H-R states: geodesic completeness at one point ${p}$ implies completeness.

The first thing to notice is that ${\exp: T_p(M) \rightarrow M}$ is smooth by the global smoothness theorem and the assumption that arbitrary geodesics from ${p}$ exist. Moreover, it is surjective by the second Hopf-Rinow theorem.

Now fix a ${d}$-Cauchy sequence ${q_n \in M}$. We will show that it converges. Draw minimal geodesics ${\gamma_n}$ travelling at unit speed with

$\displaystyle \gamma_n(0)=p, \quad \gamma_n( d(p,q_n)) = q_n.$  (more…)

## The Hopf-Rinow theorems and geodesic completenessNovember 14, 2009

Posted by Akhil Mathew in differential geometry, MaBloWriMo.
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Ok, yesterday I covered the basic fact that given a Riemannian manifold ${(M,g)}$, the geodesics on ${M}$ (with respect to the Levi-Civita connection) locally minimize length. Today I will talk about the phenomenon of “geodesic completeness.”

Henceforth, all manifolds are assumed connected.

The first basic remark to make is the following. If ${c: I \rightarrow M}$ is a piecewise ${C^1}$-path between ${p,q}$ and has the smallest length among piecewise ${C^1}$ paths, then ${c}$ is, up to reparametrization, a geodesic (in particular smooth). The way to see this is to pick ${a,b \in I}$ very close to each other, so that ${c([a,b])}$ is contained in a neighborhood of ${c\left( \frac{a+b}{2}\right)}$ satisfying the conditions of yesterday’s theorem; then ${c|_{[a,b]}}$ must be length-minimizing, so it is a geodesic. We thus see that ${c}$ is locally a geodesic, hence globally.

Say that ${M}$ is geodesically complete if ${\exp}$ can be defined on all of ${TM}$; in other words, a geodesic ${\gamma}$ can be continued to ${(-\infty,\infty)}$. The name is justified by the following theorem:

Theorem 1 (Hopf-Rinow)

The following are equivalent:

• ${M}$ is geodesically complete.
• In the metric ${d}$ on ${M}$ induced by ${g}$ (see here), ${M}$ is a complete metric space (more…)

## Geodesics are locally length-minimizingNovember 13, 2009

Posted by Akhil Mathew in differential geometry, MaBloWriMo.
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Fix a Riemannian manifold with metric ${g}$ and Levi-Civita connection ${\nabla}$. Then we can talk about geodesics on ${M}$ with respect to ${\nabla}$. We can also talk about the length of a piecewise smooth curve ${c: I \rightarrow M}$ as

$\displaystyle l(c) := \int g(c'(t),c'(t))^{1/2} dt .$

Our main goal today is:

Theorem 1 Given ${p \in M}$, there is a neighborhood ${U}$ containing ${p}$ such that geodesics from ${p}$ to every point of ${U}$ exist and also such that given a path ${c}$ inside ${U}$ from ${p}$ to ${q}$, we have

$\displaystyle l(\gamma_{pq}) \leq l(c)$

with equality holding if and only if ${c}$ is a reparametrization of ${\gamma_{pq}}$.

In other words, geodesics are locally path-minimizing.   Not necessarily globally–a great circle is a geodesic on a sphere with the Riemannian metric coming from the embedding in $\mathbb{R}^3$, but it need not be the shortest path between two points. (more…)