MAS3804 : Relativity and Cosmology
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Professor Ian Moss
- Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value:
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.
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.
|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|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||25||1:00||25:00||Formal lectures|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Drop-in/surgery||12||0:10||2:00||Office hours|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||1||25:00||25:00||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: a typical student might spend a total of one or two hours over the course of the module, either individually or as part of a group.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Written Examination||40||1||M||5||Class test|
|PHY3022||Relativity and Cosmology||1||N/A|
|MAS8804||Relativity and Cosmology||1||N/A|
|Prob solv exercises||1||M||5||Written assignments|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. Two written assignments of equal weight and one class test allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practice the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; this assessment has a secondary formative purpose as well as a primary summative purpose.