MAS3804 : Relativity and Cosmology
- Offered for Year: 2017/18
- Module Leader(s): Dr Gerasimos Rigopoulos
- Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value:
To introduce the concept of spacetime and the theory of special relativity. Some preliminary ideas from general relativity will also be introduced and applied to produce a mathematical model of the expanding universe.
This is an introductory course in special relativity with preliminary elements of general relativity and relativistic cosmology.
Outline Of Syllabus
Preliminary concepts: Starting from situations, such as GPS navigation, where the velocity of light plays an important role, we explore ideas on the fundamental nature of space and time which form the basis of the theory of special relativity.
Consequences of basic postulates: Lorentz transformations will be introduced and used to explain length contraction and time dilation. Definitions of relativistic energy and momentum will lead among others to the famous formula E=mc^2. A four-dimensional description of special relativity will be constructed from spacetime and 4-vectors.
General relativity: The next step up from special relativity is general relativity. Elementary mathematical techniques of curved space(time) will be introduced by looking at vector calculus in curvilinear coordinate systems. This leads to an examination of the concepts of distance and curvature.
Cosmology: The aim of cosmology is to construct a mathematical model of the universe. Observations have convincingly shown that the universe is an evolving system. General relativity will be used to construct cosmological models of a homogeneous universe in the form of ordinary differential equations for the scale factor. These equations can describe the universe from its origin at the big bang to the present day.
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||25||1:00||25:00||Formal lectures|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||6:00||6:00||Revision for class test|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||13:00||13:00||Revision for unseen exam|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||2:00||2:00||Unseen exam|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||1||1:00||1:00||Class test|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||3||1:00||3:00||Problem classes|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||2||1:00||2:00||Revision lectures|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||1||27:00||27:00||Studying, practising, and gaining understanding of course material|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||3||3:00||9:00||Review of coursework assignments and course test|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||2||6:00||12:00||Preparation for coursework assignments|
Jointly Taught With
|PHY3022||Relativity and Cosmology|
|MAS8804||Relativity and Cosmology|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Tutorials are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. In addition, office hours (two per week) will provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|PHY3022||Relativity and Cosmology||1||N/A|
|MAS8804||Relativity and Cosmology||1||N/A|
|Prob solv exercises||1||M||5||Coursework assignments|
|Prob solv exercises||1||M||5||Course test|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The written exercises are expected to consist of two assignments of equal weight: the exact nature of assessment will be explained at the start of the module. The coursework assignments and the (in class) coursework test allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these are thus formative as well as summative assessments.