Physics 312: Relativity and Cosmology
Einstein and Beyond

Spring 2007

Prof. Mark Trodden

The first part of this course introduces the basic concepts of relativistic physics:
  • 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?
The second part of the course takes these concepts and tools and applies them to the largest physical system possible - the universe:
  • 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?
Corequisite: no previous physics required - but you do need some calculus (Mat 285 or Mat 295) or the permission of the instructor.

Important Information:

Useful/Interesting Links:


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.

Funding for the development of my parts of this course comes in part from the National Science Foundation and a Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation.