Fall 2017 - PHYS 490 D100

General Relativity and Gravitation (3)

Class Number: 1635

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    AQ 5030, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 8, 2017
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 5018, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 285 or MATH 471; PHYS 384, with a minimum grade of C-.



Gravity and space-time, Einstein's equations and their solution, tests of relativity, black holes, stellar equilibrium and collapse, and cosmological models. Quantitative.


• Reviewofspecialrelativityandflatspacetime

• Manifolds,tensors,covariantderivatives,andcurvature

• Gravityasgeometry,geodesicmotion

• Einstein’sequations,Newtonianlimit,gravitationalwaves

• Blackholes:Schwarzschildsolution,horizons,gravitationalcollapse

• Cosmology:HomogeneousexpandingUniversemodel,largescalestructure

• EarlyUniverse:inflation,reheating,nucleosynthesis,microwavebackground

• Quantumeffects:evaporationofblackholes,primordialfluctuations

• Coolbutesotericstuff:Extradimensions,wormholes,warpdrives,timemachines



Your progress will be marked on absolute scale. At the end of the course, assignment and exam marks will be combined in a weighted average, from which the final grade will be derived (with thresholds to be determined by me).

The relative weights are:
Assignments 45%
Mid-term (take-home)15%
Final exam (open-book) 40%

Assignments are to be handed in on a due day by beginning of the class. Late assignments are accepted, but will be penalized at 5% of the mark per day late. Late exams will not be accepted. Failure to submit an assignment or attend an exam will result in zero marks. Attendance of lectures is at your discretion, but no notes will be provided.



Recommended Textbooks:

Carroll Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity
Hartle Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students who cannot write their exam during the course's scheduled exam time must request accommodation from their instructor in writing, clearly stating the reason for this request, before the end of the first week of classes.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html