The topic of this course is the classical relativistic theory of gravity, General Relativity. This is a geometric theory: the key idea is that gravity is a manifestation of the curvature of space-time.
The course will consist of a brief review/introduction of special relativity, followed by a discussion of the differential geometry which provides the mathematical underpinning to the description of gravity as the curvature of spacetime. We will then discuss the field equations of general relativity, and explore the physical properties of interesting simple solutions, describing black holes, cosmology, and gravitational waves.
If you have questions about the course, e-mail me, or come and see me in my office, CM214/OC112. (Suggestions for the web page are also welcome.)
LECTURES: See Graduate Lectures information.
There are many good books, a selection of which are listed below. There are also many texts available on-line (see below); you may find it useful to look at relevant chapters of the lecture notes by Carroll.
Be aware that different authors use different conventions; in this course, the conventions are as follows. Space-time coordinate indices are (lower-case) Greek, vierbein indices lower case roman (mostly); the metric signature is + -- -- --.
Useful web links
A good place to start is Relativity on the WWW. This contains plenty of movies etc, and a long list of on-line texts.
All the relativity-related links one could ever want are at the Syracuse relativity bookmarks. Carroll's lecture notes were already mentioned above. There's also an excellent guide to black holes with loads of movies and useful diagrams.
For further reading once you've learned the basics, I recommend the journal Living reviews in relativity, which publishes web-based reviews of current fields of interest in relativity.
Problem Sheet 1: (pdf) Solutions: (pdf)
Problem Sheet 2: (pdf) Solutions: (pdf)
Problem Sheet 3: (pdf) Solutions: (pdf)
Problem Sheet 4: (pdf) Solutions: (pdf)Ruth Gregory (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last modified on 21 December 2012