Fall 2022

General Relativity

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-460

Moodle site: Course (Guest Accessible)


William A. Loinaz (Section 01)


The course is an elementary introduction to Einstein's theory of gravity and modern cosmology. After a brief review of the special theory of relativity, we will investigate vector and tensor fields in terms of their properties under changes of coordinates. We will study geometric ideas such as geodesics, parallel transport, and covariant differentiation, and present the Principle of Equivalence as the central physical principle behind Einstein's theory of gravity. After introducing the stress tensor, we will state the field equations and obtain the simplest solutions to them, and derive the physical implications of the theory for the motion of planets and light in the vicinity of massive stars. We will then discuss modern cosmology, including an introduction to the particle physics needed to describe the thermal history of the universe just after the Big Bang.

Requisite: PHYS 225 and MATH 211; or consent of the instructor. Fall Semester. Professor Loinaz.

How to handle overenrollment:

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Quantitative skills.


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022