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PX436 - General Relativity

  • Module code: PX436
  • Module name: General Relativity
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The module presents Einstein's general theory of relativity and its applications in modern astrophysics. It is a follow-on to the third year module PX389 Cosmology. It aims to present the theory of General Relativity and its applications in modern astronomy, and to give an understanding of black-holes.

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of this module you should: understand the metric nature of special and general relativity, how the metric determines the motion of particles; be able to undertake elementary calculations involving the Schwarzschild metric; be able to describe the key features of black-holes; be able to demonstrate knowledge of current attempts to detect gravitational waves.

Timetabled teaching activities

25 Lectures (and 5 problems classes)

Departmental link

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/physics/teach/syllabi/year4/px436

Other essential notes

Einstein's general theory of relativity is the basis for our understanding of black holes and the Universe on its largest scales. In general relativity the Newtonian concept of a gravitational force is abolished, to be replaced by a new notion, that of the curvature of space-time. This leads in turn to predictions of phenomena such as the bending of light and gravitational time dilation that are well tested, and others, such as gravitational waves, which are now coming into the regime of direct detection. The module starts with a recap of Special Relativity, emphasizing its geometrical significance. The formalism of curved coordinate systems is then developed. Einstein's equivalence principle is used to link the two to arrive at the field equations of GR. The remainder of the module looks at the application of general relativity to stellar collapse, neutron stars and black-holes, gravitational waves, including their detection, and finally to cosmology where the origin of the "cosmological constant" -- nowadays called "dark energy" - becomes apparent.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PX436-15)
B (Examination only) 2 hour examination (April) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

Core

N/A

Optional Core

N/A

Optional
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc) (G100) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year (G101) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) (G103) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) (G103) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 5
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe (G106) - Year 4