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Module

PHY3022 : Relativity and Cosmology (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Ian Moss
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

To introduce the concept of spacetime, the theory of special relativity and some preliminary ideas from general relativity. To introduce basic ideas from cosmology and the mathematical model of the expanding universe.

Module Summary

An introduction to spacetime in Special Relativity and Cosmology.

Outline Of Syllabus

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.

Lorentz transformations will be introduced and used to explain length contraction and time dilation. Definitions of energy and momentum will lead to the correct version of the famous formula E=mc^2 and Newtonian dynamics will be generalized to be consistent with Special Relativity. The module focuses on a four-dimensional description of special relativity based on spacetime and 4-vectors, and will be making use of the Minkowski line element. The concept of a line element describing geometry will be briefly introduced.

Special Relativity no longer applies in the presence of gravity which requires the theory of General Relativity. We will introduce the equivalence principle as the physical basis of General Relativity and study the line element of weak gravitational fields. The basic mathematical structure of General Relativity will be briefly described.

Cosmology: The aim of cosmology is to construct a mathematical model of the universe. Observational evidence suggests that the universe is an evolving system. General relativity allows the construction of models in the form of ordinary differential equations, which can describe the universe from its origin at the big bang to the present day. The module ends with an elementary exposition of these equations and their consequences.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable