General Relativity I (2016-17) -- PHY483F/1483F
This course will introduce General Relativity from a physics point of view, emphasizing a modern perspective.
We will begin with a review of special relativity, including the case of constant acceleration. Then we will motivate curved spacetime, the covariant derivative, and the Christoffel connection. We will derive the equation for a geodesic, the analogue of a straight line in curved spacetime. From there, we will develop the Riemann curvature tensor, and show how it encodes useful physics like tidal forces and geodesic deviation. Then we will introduce the famous Einstein equations and show how they can be used to study equations for stars and black holes. We will showcase some of the experimental successes of GR, before finishing up with a description of the origin of Einstein's equations starting from an action principle. (For more details, please see the syllabus.)
Classes are MR11 in MP134, and tutorials are F1 in MP137. Prof. Peet's office hour is W4-5:45pm in MP1118.
These will be posted in reverse chronological order, to make the latest ones easiest to find.
- Dec.12: Just a reminder: the TA is holding his exam-related office hour
tomorrow Tue.13.Dec. at 16:30-17:30 in MP1104A. You may also ask the professor for exam-related help whenever you need to (in MP1118, or via email or Skype video).
- Dec.07: Thanks to everyone for a great semester. It was a true pleasure being your teacher. Here are some practice exam questions to try.
- Nov.30: Don't forget that HW4 is due with the TA at 11am tomorrow Thu.01.Dec. I look forward to seeing you at 11am for our third-to-last lecture, which will be about showing that Einstein gravity has the correct Newtonian limit. On Mon.05.Dec, I will finally get to show you how to derive Einstein's equations from an action principle. Then on Wed.07.Dec (also at 11am in MP134), I will give a very brief introduction to cosmology.
- Nov.19: A big raspberry to everyone who didn't remind me to upload Homework 4 while I was stuck at home in my sick bed. It is still due on December 1st, regardless. :P
- Nov.16: My Wednesday office hours 4-5:45pm this week will be held by your heroic TA. I am home sick in bed. Best wishes, all.
- Nov.15: I (the professor) am sick with laryngitis. The only way to heal is to rest the voice. Accordingly, the TA will give a guest lecture on gravitational waves on Thu.17.Nov., and I will continue with the other experimental test topics on Mon.21.Nov. When you see the TA then, you can hand in your HW3s to him directly.
- Nov.09: Thank you to the alert student who noticed a typo in the perfect fluid problem on HW3. Click here for the corrected assignment.
- Nov.04: Homework 3 is posted. It will be due on Thu.17.Nov. at 11:00am with the TA.
- Oct.26: Please note: when you are asked to use Maxima in a homework assignment, you must (a) use Maxima, not some other app of your choice, (b)
actually do the Maxima work requested to get the marks, (c) show your Maxima worksheet, in order to prove that you did the work yourself. We cannot just take your word for it that you did the requested work. Thank you for your cooperation on this.
- Oct.21: Homework 2 is posted. There are only two problems this time, in order to recognize the burden of studying for the midterm and the GRE.
- Oct.20: Thank you to everyone for making the midterm so orderly today: the next class using the room really appreciated it. I was seriously impressed with the brainpower being exerted during the exam: the heat generated was enough to run a small power station! Only one student forgot to turn in their exam paper with their exam book: if this was you, please hand it back to me (or the under/graduate office) at your earliest convenience. Overall I am proud of how hard you worked. You all put in your best effort, and in return the TA and I will put in our best effort to give scrupulously fair grades. If the exam turns out to have been harder than I expected, I will curve scores upwards.
- Oct.17: I would like to reassure you all that you will be able to do the midterm exam. :-) Just make sure that you sleep properly beforehand! High-quality studies have proven that students who stay up to cram rather than sleep get markedly worse grades. Almost half the midterm questions will be qualitative, and the rest will be calculation based. Everyone will get a chance to display their understanding of tensors and their physical relevance. I have confidence in every one of you. Do your best and I will respond to that. Make sure to explain your reasoning, to allow the TA the maximum opportunity to give you partial credit.
- Oct.14: If you plan to hand in HW1 late on the weekend, please note that neither I nor the TA nor teaching staff will be available in MP building to accept it. Instead, you should scan your late homework and email it to me (Prof. Peet) before 11:00 on Sun.16.Oct, if you want it graded. You can then physically deliver the paper version to the TA at your earliest opportunity on Monday morning.
- Oct.13d: Please note: I will not be a jerk about those who handed in HW1 a few minutes late. Those who hand in hours late will have the advertised lateness penalty (5% per day up to 3 days) applied, in fairness to other students who did meet the deadline. If you need to hand in your homework late but the TA is not in his office, during business hours you can hand it in to our Physics Undergraduate Wizard, Ms Teresa Baptista in MP301.
- Oct.13c: Here are a few practice problems from last year's midterm to help you study for the Thu.20.Oct midterm. As stated in class today and previously, the midterm will cover the lecture notes from the beginning up to the end of subsection 5.2 on tidal forces.
- Oct.13b: Pre-midterm office hours next week will be a little different than normal. On Tue.18.Oct, I (the prof.) will hold office hours from 16:00-18:00, and on Wed.19.Oct, the TA will hold office hours from 17:00-18:00. If you need a brief chat during other times, my available Skype timeslots will be in the evenings 19:00-21:00 and on weekend afternoons 12:00-19:00. Please feel free to book a half-hour Skype timeslot by email, but make sure to give me 24 hours' notice so I can make room in my schedule for you.
- Oct.13: Don't forget to hand in your signed Academic Integrity Checklist for Homework 1 ASAP. Quoting directly from the syllabus,
To remind you of these expectations, and help you avoid accidental offences, I will ask you to include a signed Academic Integrity Checklist with every assignment. If you do not include the statement, your work will not be graded.
- Oct.04: This is just a friendly reminder that the TA is holding office hours associated to HW1 today at 16:30-17:30h. Make good use of it! I (the prof.) will be holding my office hour tomorrow from 16:00-17:45. Please feel free to ask either of us for guidance. (We don't provide solutions, but we give good hints.)
- Sep.28b: I recommend that you try to finish HW1 by Oct.06, so that you have two clear weeks to spend on studying for the midterm. HW1 will still be accepted as Not Late up to 11:00am on Oct.13.
- Sep.28: The TA will hold office hours before HW1 on Tue.04.Oct from 4:30-5:30pm. Before the midterm (Oct.20), Prof. Peet will hold office hours on Tue.18.Oct from 4-5:45pm (note: different day than usual, because medical specialist appointment), and the TA will his on Wed.19.Oct from 4:30-5:30pm.
- Sep.27: the midterm spacetime coordinates have been confirmed. It will be held as promised on Thu.20.Oct, from 17:00-19:00pm (5-7pm) in EX320 (Exam Centre building).
- Sep.24: I have revised Homework 1 slightly, to make it easier to do.
Re-download it here.
- Sep.23: here is a sample Maxima file for computing Christoffel symbols to help you with Q3 on HW1.
- Sep.22: Homework 1 has been posted, and it will be due by 11:00am on Thu.13.Oct. It is designed to be doable, so if it isn't, please let me know ASAP. Please note: you must hand in your homeworks in handwritten form, or in electronic form by email, directly to the TA. If you wish to have the possibility of a regrade, make sure you write in unerasable pen, not pencil. Crossouts are fine, as long as they are clearly marked.
- Sep.19: The midterm will be on Thu.20.Oct in the early evening. Precise spacetime coordinates will be announced soon.
- Sep.12: Prof. Peet's office hours will be on Wednesdays from 4-5:45pm in MP1118. We also discussed scheduling the midterm exam.
- Aug.09: The first day of class will be Monday 12th September at 11am in MP134, and I look forward to meeting you all.