Relativity Theory I (2018-19) -- PHY483F/1483F
This course will introduce General Relativity from a physics point of view, emphasizing a modern perspective. I will begin with a review and a rephrasing of Special Relativity, including the case of constant relativistic acceleration. Then I will motivate curved spacetime, the affine connection, and the covariant derivative. I will derive the equation for a geodesic, the analogue of a straight line in curved spacetime. From there, I will develop the Riemann curvature tensor, and show how it encodes useful physics like geodesic deviation and tidal forces. Then I will introduce the famous Einstein equations and show how they can be used to study equations for stars and black holes. I will then showcase several of the experimental successes of GR, finishing up with the recent discovery of gravitational waves. (For more details, please see the syllabus.)
Classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 11:10-12:00 and tutorials are held on Fridays from 13:10-14:00, both in MP137. My regular weekly office hours are held on Wednesdays from 16:10-18:00 in MP1118.
These will be posted in reverse chronological order, to make the latest ones easiest to find.
- F09Nov: midterm grades have been posted to Quercus. The average score was 80% and the standard deviation was 14%. [more details]
- R08Nov: an eagle-eyed student has noticed that equations (14.15) on page 73 of the lecture notes had a sign error in the Ricci components. I have corrected this as soon as I learned of it because it is pertinent to solving HW3 Q3.
- R01Nov: Homework 3 is posted, and it is due by 11:00h on Thu.15.Nov. Please note: yes, I will be holding office hours during Reading Week.
- W31Oct: The final exam date has been posted. Please refer to the December exam timetable -- regulations forbid re-posting exam spacetime coordinates elsewhere on the web. This year we got allocated a pretty good date: not too early, not right at the end.
- T16Oct: As promised, here are some snippets from past midterm questions for you to practice on.
- R11Oct:I announced in class today that the midterm will cover the first 13 lectures. Material from 25.Oct and 29.Oct will not be on the 30.Oct midterm.
- R04Oct: Homework 2 is posted.
It will be due in two weeks, by 11:00h on R18Oct.
- W03Oct: Jesse (my TA) will be teaching tomorrow's lecture introducing the Riemann tensor in my stead while I am at an all-day meeting at York U. Please also note that the lecture notes have been updated, correcting a few typos.
- R20Sep: Homework 1 is posted, and it will be due by 11:00h on R04Oct. You already have the background to do Q1.1, and today's lecture will give you the background to do Q1.2. I will cover background material needed for Q1.3 next week.
- T18Sep: I have updated the lecture notes. Please keep an eye out for further updates in future, which will typically occur at least once a week. Please also recall that I will be giving the first homework assignment on R20Sep, which will be due by 11:00h on R04Oct.
- T11Sep: UofT has confirmed that our midterm exam (2 hours, out of class) will be held on Tuesday 30th October from 18:00-20:00h in WI 1017, Wilson Hall, New College.
- R06Sep: It was great to meet you all in the first class today. We agreed that my office hours will be on Wednesdays from 16:10-18:00h in my office, MP1118. Tutorials start tomorrow, with pertinent review material.
- T24Jul: The first day of class will be Thursday 6th September at 11am in MP137, and I look forward to meeting you all. Bring your calendars: we will decide on my office hours and the midterm date together.