Physics 411: General Relativity

General Relativity is the theory of gravity developed in the early 20th century. It is often said to be the most beautiful physical theory constructed and its consequences are still being tested today. This class is an introduction to this topic and its application to understanding cosmological phenomena. Topics that will be covered include black holes, early universe cosmology, gravitational waves, and Hawking radiation.

The course materials are provided below. The textbook for the class is Sean Carroll's "Spacetime and Geometry". This book is available from the Reed bookstore and at online booksellers. A link to Carroll's website for the book is provided below.

Textbook Link

Link to Carroll's lecture notes

Course Syllabus

Final Exam

The final exam is due at 10 am on December 12 to my office or the box outside my office door. More details are provided in the pdf for the exam.

Lecture Notes

August 27 Introduction and review of Newtonian gravity
August 29 Special Relativity
August 31 Special Relativity
September 5 Manifolds
September 10 Manifolds
September 12 EM with Forms
September 17 Curvature
September 19 Curvature
September 24 Symmetries
September 26 Gravitation
October 1 Einstein's Equations
October 3 Schwarzschild
October 8 More Schwarzschild
October 10 Even More Schwarzschild
October 22 Black Holes
October 24 Charged Black Holes
October 29 Rotating Black Holes
October 31 Gravitational Radiation
November 5 More Gravitational Radiation
November 7 Detection of Gravitational Waves
November 12 Cosmology
November 14 Friedmann Equations
November 19 Our Universe
November 21 Quantum Mechanics and Gravity
November 26 Black Hole Thermodynamics

Homework Assignments

Homework 1 Due September 7
Homework 2 Due September 14
Homework 3 Due September 21
Homework 4 Due September 28
Homework 5 Due October 5
Homework 6 Due October 12
Homework 7 Due October 26
Homework 8 Due November 2
Homework 9 Due November 9
Homework 10 Due November 16

Example Final Presentation Topics

(1) AdS/CFT Correspondence
(2) Randall/Sundrum
(3) LIGO Neutron Star Binary
(4) Star Orbits about Sag A*
(5) 2+1 Dimensional Black Hole
(6) Event Horizon Firewalls
(7) Loop Quantum Gravity
(8) Event Horizon Telescope
(9) Mistaken Announcement of B-Modes in the CMB
(10) Gravitational Lensing
(11) Relativity in GPS

Talk Tips

3 Tips for Giving a Talk