312: Relativity and Cosmology
The first part of this course introduces the basic concepts of relativistic physics:
The second part of the course takes these concepts and tools and applies them to the largest physical system possible - the universe:
- What can't you travel faster than the speed of light?
- What does it mean to say that matter warps space-time?
- What does relativity explain and predict?
- What is a black hole?
Corequisite: no previous physics required - but you do need some calculus (Mat 285 or Mat 295) or the permission of the instructor.
- How do we know that the universe is expanding and what does this mean?
- What are dark matter and dark energy?
- What is the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation?
- What were the earliest times in the universe like?
Acknowledgements: This course was first created and taught by Prof. Donald Marolf. My version of it will inevitably have a somewhat different emphasis, with more cosmology and a number of topics added, and others removed. However, I owe many thanks to Don for the large amounts of material and structure that he so carefully assembled and left behind for me to use.