Conformal Infinity – Development and Applications
The notion of conformal infinity grew out of the desire to describe graviational waves in a coordinate independent way. In a sense it abstracts the notion of a far-field in electrodynamics in a geometric way. This contribution describes the development of this idea from the earliest attempts to geometrically capture the notion of gravitational radiation by Felix Pirani to the rigorous definition by Roger Penrose which is universally accepted today. The usefulness of the concept is demonstrated with some applications.
The author is very grateful to the organisers of the conference ‘Beyond Einstein’ for the opportunity to present the material of this contribution. Furthermore, it is a pleasure to thank Ted Newman, Roger Penrose and Engelbert Schücking for sharing their memories of the development of the subject.
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