The zero active mass condition in Friedmann–Robertson–Walker cosmologies

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35 Scopus citations


Many cosmological measurements today suggest that the Universe is expanding at a constant rate. This is inferred from the observed age versus redshift relationship and various distance indicators, all of which point to a cosmic equation of state (EoS) p = -ρ/3, where ρ and p are, respectively, the total energy density and pressure of the cosmic fluid. It has recently been shown that this result is not a coincidence and simply confirms the fact that the symmetries in the Friedmann–Robertson–Walker (FRW) metric appear to be viable only for a medium with zero active mass, i.e., ρ + 3p = 0. In their latest paper, however, Kim, Lasenby and Hobson (2016) have provided what they believe to be a counter argument to this conclusion. Here, we show that these authors are merely repeating the conventional mistake of incorrectly placing the observer simultaneously in a comoving frame, where the lapse function gtt is coordinate dependent when ρ + 3p ≠ 0, and a supposedly different, freefalling frame, in which gtt = 1, implying no time dilation. We demonstrate that the Hubble flow is not inertial when ρ + 3p ≠ 0, so the comoving frame is generally not in free fall, even though in FRW, the comoving and free-falling frames are supposed to be identical at every spacetime point. So this confusion of frames not only constitutes an inconsistency with the fundamental tenets of general relativity but, additionally, there is no possibility of using a gauge transformation to select a set of coordinates for which gtt = 1 when ρ + 3p ≠ 0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number129802
JournalFrontiers of Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • cosmology
  • gravitation
  • spacetime metric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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