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In the general theory of relativity, the fundamental metric tensor plays a special role, which has its physical basis in the peculiar aspects of gravitation. The fundamental property of gravitational fields provides the possibility of establishing an analogy between the motion in a gravitational field and the motion in any external field considered as a noninertial system of reference. Thus, the properties of the motion in a noninertial frame are the same as those in an inertial system in the presence of a gravitational field. In other words, a noninertial frame of reference is equivalent to a certain gravitational field. This is known as the principle of equivalence. From the mathematical viewpoint, the same special role can be played by the small deformation strain tensor, which describes the geometrical properties of any region deformed because of the effect of some external agent. It can be proved that, from that tensor, all the mathematical structures needed in the general theory of relativity can be constructed.