Introduction to General Relativity

LECTURER: N.T. Bishop

Prerequisites

The module is intended to be accessible to any student who has majored in mathematics, applied mathematics, or physics. The essential mathematical tool on which the subject is built is vector calculus.

Topics

The mathematical tools of general relativity: vectors and tensors in general coordinates, tensor calculus, the covariant derivative, Riemann curvature tensor, Ricci tensor, Einstein tensor (10 lectures).
Special relativity: equivalence of inertial observers, constancy of the speed of light, Lorentz transformation, Minkowski spacetime (4 lectures).
Physical foundations of general relativity: equivalence principle, spacetime is not flat, Einstein’s equations (“geometry = matter”), linearized static approximation, geodesic motion (6 lectures).
Schwarzschild vacuum metric: solution of Einstein equations under spherical symmetry, Birkhoff’s theorem, classical tests (bending of light, perihelion precession, spectral red-shift) (6 lectures).

Textbook

J. Foster & J.D. Nightingale “A short course in general relativity, 3rd Edition”, Springer 2006

Tutorials

One tutorial per week.

Tests/Exams

Two tests and one final examination.

Last Modified: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 14:57:09 SAST