Spring 2018

General Relativity

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-460


William A. Loinaz (Section 01)


The course is an elementary introduction to Einstein's theory of gravity.  After a brief review of the special theory of relativity, we will investigate vector and tensor fields in terms of their properties under changes of coordinates.  We will study geometric ideas such as geodesics, parallel transport, and covariant differentiation, and prsent the Principle of Equivalence as the central physical principle behind Einstein's theory of gravity.  After introducing the stress tensor, we will then state the field equations and obtain the simplest solutions to them, and derive the physical implications of the theory for the motion of planets and light in the vicinity of massive stars.  We will round out the discussion of the subject with classical cosmology and gravitational radiation.

Requisite: PHYS-225,  and either MATH-211 or PHYS-227; or consent of instructor. Spring semester. Professor Loinaz.


Quantitative Reasoning


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2023