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# Levi-Civita Connection

On a Riemannian manifold , there is a canonical connection called the Levi-Civita connection (pronounced lē-vē shi-vit-e), sometimes also known as the Riemannian connection or covariant derivative. As a connection on the tangent bundle, it provides a well-defined method for differentiating vector fields, forms, or any other kind of tensor. The theorem asserting the existence of the Levi-Civita connection, which is the unique torsion-free connection on the tangent bundle compatible with the metric, is called the fundamental theorem of Riemannian geometry.

These properties can be described as follows. Let , , and be any vector fields, and denote the metric. Recall that vector fields act as derivation algebras on the ring of smooth functions by the directional derivative, and that this action extends to an action on vector fields. The notation is the commutator of vector fields, . The Levi-Civita connection is torsion-free, meaning

 (1)

and is compatible with the metric

 (2)

In coordinates, the Levi-Civita connection can be described using the Christoffel symbols of the second kind . In particular, if , then

 (3)

or in other words,

 (4)

As a connection on the tangent bundle , it induces a connection on the dual bundle and on all their module tensor products . Also, given a submanifold it restricts to to give the Levi-Civita connection from the restriction of the metric to .

The Levi-Civita connection can be used to describe many intrinsic geometric objects. For instance, a path is a geodesic iff where is the path's tangent vector. On a more general path , the equation defines parallel transport for a vector field along . The second fundamental form of a submanifold is given by where is the tangent bundle of and is projection onto the normal bundle . The curvature of is given by .

Christoffel Symbol, Connection, Covariant Derivative, Curvature, Fundamental Theorem of Riemannian Geometry, Geodesic, Principal Bundle, Riemannian Manifold, Riemannian Metric

This entry contributed by Todd Rowland

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Rowland, Todd. "Levi-Civita Connection." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource, created by Eric W. Weisstein. https://mathworld.wolfram.com/Levi-CivitaConnection.html