PHY413 Gravitation

S. G. Rajeev

First Class on Thursday Jan 19 2017

Class will meet Tue/Thurs at 11:05am-12:20pm in B&L 315 during Spring 2017 starting Jan. 19.

I will be using Blackboard to post Lecture Notes and Problems.

The only purpose of this website is to redirect you to Blackboard


This course will cover General Relativity: Einstein's theory of Gravitation. Black holes and gravitational radiation are the most remarkable predictions of this theory.


Students are expected to know linear algebra (eg., as used in quantum mechanics ) and the calculus of several variables (partial derivatives, multidimensional integration). Knowledge of Electrodynamics, Special Relativity and Classical Mechanics at the level of our junior level courses will also be assumed. Riemannian geometry and tensor calculus will be introduced as part of the course. If you have already learned it, you will see here a physicist's perspective. Previous Relativity or Geometry courses are not required: I will exempt you if you know Mechanics and E&M.


There will be no examinations in the course; instead, there will be some homework assignments. They will posted on blackboard, roughly every other week.

Office Hours

Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 pm


The first part of the course will be accessible to undergraduates and to experimental/observational/computational physics graduate students. The later parts will aim to bring the student up to the level of modern research papers in General Relativity: in particular, the recent advances in the understanding of gravitational waves and of black holes.


There is no required textbook. But any physicist must study the classics:

  1. The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein. Learn from the master himself.
  2. The last five chapters of The Classical Theory of Fields by Landau and Lifshitz. Perhaps the best introduction to the subject. Minimalist in style,yet has all you really need to know.
  3. Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity by Steven Weinberg. The best modern introduction by a pioneer in astro-particle physics.
  4. Parts of Gravitation by Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler

Old Lecture Notes from Fall 2010(Obsolete)

For new notes see Blackboard.

Sep 1 Lecture 1 Sep 8 Lecture 2 Sep 13 Lecture 3 Sep 15 Lecture 4 Sep 20 Lecture 5 Sep 22 Lecture 6 Sep 27 Lecture 7 Sep 29 Lecture 8
Oct 4 Lecture 9 Oct 6 Lecture 10 Oct 11 No Class; Fall Break Oct 13 Lecture 11 Oct 18 Lecture 12 Oct 20 Lecture 13 Oct 25 Lecture 14 Oct 27 Lecture 15
Nov 1 Lecture 16 Nov 3 Lecture 17 Nov 8 Lecture 18 Nov 10 Lecture 19 Nov 15 Lecture 20 Nov 17 Lecture 21 Nov 22 Lecture 22 Nov 24 No Class: Thanksgiving
Nov 29 Lecture 23 Dec1 Lecture 24 Dec 6 Lecture 25 Dec 8 Lecture 26 Dec 13 Lecture 27

Old Problem Sets from Fall 2010

Current Problem Sets will be posted on blackboard.

Due Sep 29 Problem Set 1 Due Oct 13 Problem Set 2 Due Oct 27 Problem Set 3 Solution Set 3 Due Nov 10 Problem Set 4 Due Dec 8 Problem Set 5