Undergraduate Course: General Relativity (PHYS11010)
Course Outline
School  School of Physics and Astronomy 
College  College of Science and Engineering 
Course type  Standard 
Availability  Available to all students 
Credit level (Normal year taken)  SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) 
Credits  10 
Home subject area  Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) 
Other subject area  None 
Course website 
None 
Taught in Gaelic?  No 
Course description  General Relativity presents one of the most interesting intellectual challenges of an undergraduate physics degree, but its study can be a daunting prospect. This course treats the subject in a way which should be accessible not just to Mathematical Physicists, by making the subject as simple as possible (but not simpler). The classic results such as light bending and precession of the perihelion of Mercury are obtained from the Schwarzschild metric by variational means. Einstein's equations are developed, and are used to obtain the Schwarzschild metric and the RobertsonWalker metric of cosmology. 
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Prerequisites 
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed
Tensors and Fields (PHYS10016)

Corequisites  
Prohibited Combinations  
Other requirements  At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q. 
Additional Costs  None 
Information for Visiting Students
Prerequisites  None 
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?  Yes 
Course Delivery Information

Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1)

WebCT enabled: No 
Quota: None 
Location 
Activity 
Description 
Weeks 
Monday 
Tuesday 
Wednesday 
Thursday 
Friday 
Other  Lecture  ROE Lecture Theatre  111  17:10  18:00      Other  Lecture  ROE Lecture Theatre  111     17:10  18:00  
First Class 
Week 1, Monday, 17:10  18:00, Zone: Other. ROE Lecture Theatre 
Exam Information 
Exam Diet 
Paper Name 
Hours:Minutes 


Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)  General Relativity  2:00   
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
1)Discuss the role of mass in Newtonian physics, & inertial forces, & state and justify the principle of equivalence; define a local inertial frame
2)Define the metric tensor (& inverse), & interpret as gravitational potentials
3)Derive the geodesic equation from the principle of equivalence; derive the affine connections
4)State the Correspondence Principle & the Principle of General Covariance; calculate the special relativistic & Newtonian limits of GR equations; Derive Einstein's equations & justify them in empty space, & with matter; Discuss & justify the inclusion of a cosmological constant
5)Define a tensor; define & use appropriate tensor operations, including contraction, differentiation; Discuss the need for a covariant derivative & derive it; Define parallel transport, curvature tensor; Discuss the relation of curvature to gravity & tidal forces; derive the curvature tensor
6)Derive gravitational time dilation & redshift, precession of Mercury's perihelion, light bending, radar time delays, cosmological redshift, horizons; Discuss & apply the concept of proper times
7)Show the equivalence of the variational formulation of GR & the geodesic equation; derive the EulerLagrange equations; apply them to metrics such as the Schwarzschild & RobertsonWalker, to obtain affine connections, conserved quantities & equations of motion
8)Derive & sketch effective potentials in GR & Newtonian physics; examine qualitative behaviour; analyse to find features such as the minimum stable orbit
9)Write down the Schwarzschild & RobertsonWalker metrics; describe the meaning of all terms; Solve Einstein's equations to derive both metrics & the Friedman equation
10)Discuss gravitational waves; derive their wave equation
11)Discuss metric singularities (& relate to Black Holes), event horizons & infinite redshift surfaces
12)Apply the general techniques to solve unseen problems, which may include analysis of previously unseen metrics 
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 100% 
Special Arrangements
None 
Additional Information
Academic description 
Not entered 
Syllabus 
Not entered 
Transferable skills 
Not entered 
Reading list 
Not entered 
Study Abroad 
Not entered 
Study Pattern 
Not entered 
Keywords  GenRe 
Contacts
Course organiser  Prof Andy Taylor
Tel: (0131) 668 8386
Email: ant@roe.ac.uk 
Course secretary  Miss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
Email: paw@roe.ac.uk 

