Physics and astronomy

General Relativity

Module code: 881F3
Level 7 (Masters)
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

This module provides an introduction to the general theory of relativity, including:

  • Brief review of special relativity
  • Scalars, vectors and tensors
  • Principles of equivalence and covariance
  • Space-time curvature
  • The concept of space-time and its metric
  • Tensors and curved space-time; covariant differentiation
  • The energy-momentum tensor
  • Einstein's equations
  • The Schwarzschild solution and black holes
  • Tests of general relativity
  • Weak field gravity and gravitational waves
  • Relativity in cosmology and astrophysics.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand and give an account of the physical motivation for and the underlying principles of general relativity.
  • Understand sufficiently the mathematical machinery underlying general relativity (Tensor algebra) to undertake the solution of simple quantitative problems.
  • Qualitatively describe aspects of the application of general relativity to astrophysical and cosmological settings (stars, black holes and Friedmann universes)