Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;
This is not the current course catalog
This course is an introduction Einstein’s theory of 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.
The Class: Type: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on weekly problem sets, a midterm exam, and a final exam, all of which have a substantial quantitative component
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
Distributions: Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;