PHYS 418
Gravity Spring 2024
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

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: Format: lecture
Limit: none
Expected: 10
Class#: 3392
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 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, or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: none
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: All problem sets and exams will have a substantial quantitative component.

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