PHYS 418 Gravity (Q)

Last offered Spring 2014

This course is an introduction to the currently accepted theory of gravity, Einstein's general relativity. We begin with a review of special relativity, emphasizing geometrical aspects of Minkowski spacetime. Working from the equivalence principle, we then motivate gravity as spacetime curvature, and study in detail the Schwarzschild geometry around a spherically symmetric mass. After this application, we use tensors to develop Einstein's equation, which describes how energy density curves spacetime. With this equation in hand we study the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker geometries for an expanding universe, and finally, we linearize Einstein's equation to develop the theory of gravitational waves.
Class Format: lecture, three hours per week
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on weekly problem sets, a midterm exam, and a final exam, all with a substantial quantitative component
Additional Info: not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: PHYS 301 or PHYS 405 or PHYS 411; students with strong math backgrounds are invited to consult with the instructor about a possible waiving of the prerequisites
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Divisional Attributes: Division III,Quantitative and Formal Reasoning
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: none
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3852
PHYS 418 LEC Gravity (Q) Division 3: Science and MathematicsQuantitative and Formal Reasoning David R. Tucker-Smith
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