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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: General Relativity (PHYS11010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionGeneral 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 Robertson-Walker metric of cosmology.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Symmetries of Classical Mechanics (PHYS10088)
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
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 11, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 61 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)General Relativity2:00
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 Euler-Lagrange equations; apply them to metrics such as the Schwarzschild & Robertson-Walker, 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 & Robertson-Walker 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
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
Course organiserProf Andy Taylor
Tel: (0131) 668 8386
Course secretaryMiss Paula Wilkie
Tel: (0131) 668 8403
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