Equation (33) is the result that was first derived by DeWitt and Brehme  and later corrected by Hobbs . (The original equation did not include the Ricci-tensor term.) In flat spacetime the Ricci tensor is zero, the tail integral disappears (because the Green’s function vanishes everywhere within the domain of integration), and Equation (33) reduces to Dirac’s result of Equation (5). In curved spacetime the self-force does not vanish even when the electric charge is moving freely, in the absence of an external force: It is then given by the tail integral, which represents radiation emitted earlier and coming back to the particle after interacting with the spacetime curvature. This delayed action implies that, in general, the self-force is nonlocal in time: It depends not only on the current state of motion of the particle, but also on its past history. Lest this behaviour should seem mysterious, it may help to keep in mind that the physical process that leads to Equation (33) is simply an interaction between the charge and a free electromagnetic field ; it is this field that carries the information about the charge’s past.
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