On Gravitational Energy in Newtonian Theories

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Dewar, Neil; Weatherall, James Owen
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preprint description
There are well-known problems associated with the idea of (local) gravitational energy in general relativity. We offer a new perspective on those problems by comparison with Newtonian gravitation, and particularly geometrized Newtonian gravitation (i.e., Newton-Cartan theory). We show that there is a natural candidate for the energy density of a Newtonian gravitational field. But we observe that this quantity is gauge dependent, and that it cannot be defined in the geometrized (gauge-free) theory without introducing further structure. We then address a potential response by showing that there is an analogue to the Weyl tensor in geometrized Newtonian gravitation.