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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 5 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryGeneral 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.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Methods of Theoretical Physics (PHYS10105) OR Electromagnetism and Relativity (PHYS10093)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
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 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Degree Examination, 100%
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Discuss the role of mass in Newtonian physics and inertial forces; state and justify the Principle of Equivalence; define a local inertial frame; define the metric tensor and interpret as gravitational potentials.
  2. Derive the Geodesic Equation from the Principle of Equivalence; derive the affine connections; derive gravitational time dilation & redshift, precession of Mercury's perihelion, light bending, radar time delays, cosmological redshift, and horizons.
  3. Show the equivalence of the variational formulation of GR and the Geodesic Equation; derive the Euler-Lagrange equations; apply them to curved spacetimes to equations of motion; derive and sketch effective potentials and orbits in GR and Newtonian physics.
  4. State the Correspondence Principle and the Principle of General Covariance; calculate the special relativistic and Newtonian limits of GR equations; define a tensor and use appropriate tensor operations; discuss the need for a covariant derivative and derive it; define parallel transport, curvature tensor; discuss the relation of curvature to gravity and tidal forces; derive the curvature tensor; derive Einstein's equations and justify them in empty space and with matter; discuss and justify the inclusion of a Cosmological Constant.
  5. Derive the Schwarzschild and Robertson-Walker metrics; solve Einstein's equations to derive the Friedman equations; discuss gravitational waves; derive their wave equation; discuss metric singularities and relate to Black Holes, event horizons and infinite redshift surfaces; apply the general techniques to solve unseen problems, which may include analysis of previously unseen metrics.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf John Peacock
Tel: (0131) 668 8390
Course secretaryMrs Jo Thorpe
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