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General Relativity (2nd half)

Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2218. The mass density in the cluster is high enough to distort the images of background galaxies by gravitational lensing, forming multiple arc-like images seen here. See press release.


Dr. Michael Drinkwater (tel. 3365 3428, mjd@physics.uq.edu.au)


Class Contact Hours and Venue: 2 units, 3L, 1T See SI-net for details.

Course Outline

First half: see Course Profile.

Second half: The mathematical tools developed in the first half of the course will be used to describe and understand several observable examples of General Relativity in the Universe.

  1. Summary of Special Relativity
  2. Outline of General Relativity
  3. Gravitational redshift and time dilation
  4. Planet orbits in the Suns's gravitational field
  5. Gravitational deflection of light
  6. Application to cosmology
  7. Gravitational radiation

Reference Books:

  1. C. Misner, K. Thorne and J. Wheeler ``Gravitation'' (QC178.M57 1973)
  2. B.F. Shutz, ``A First Course in General Relativity'' (QC173.6.S38 1985) (good)
  3. S. Weinberg, ``Gravitation and Cosmology'' (QC6.W47 1972)
  4. C.M. Will, ``Was Einstein Right?'' (QC173.6.W55 1986) (popular)
  5. Hans Stephani ``General relativity : an introduction to the theory of the gravitational field'' (QC178.S82 1990) (technical)
  6. Hans Stephani ``Relativity : an introduction to special and general relativity'' (Cambridge 2004)
  7. Malcolm Ludvigsen ``General Relativity : a geometric approach'' (Cambridge 1999)

Reference Articles:

  1. Walsh, Carswell, Weymann, 1979, Nature, 279, 381, "0957+561 A,B: twin quasistellar objects or gravitational lens?
  2. Weisberg, Taylor, Fowler, 1981, Scientific American, 245, No.4, 66-74 "Gravitational Waves from an Orbiting Pulsar"
  3. Huchra, et al., 1985, AJ, 90, 691, "2237+0305 - A new and unusual gravitational lens"
  4. Hewitt et al., 1988, Nature, 333, 537, "Unusual radio source MG1131+0456: a possible Einstein ring"
  5. Taylor, 1994, Rev.Mod.Phys., 66, 711, "Binary pulsars and relativistic gravity"

The background colour of this page is "Cosmic Latte", the average colour of the Universe.

Last modified: 2004 August 31; Created: 2002 July 25; Maintained by: Michael Drinkwater; Email: mjd @ physics uq edu au