C7.6 General Relativity II - Material for the year 2020-2021

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Dr Jan Sbierski
General Prerequisites: 

C7.5 General Relativity I

Course Term: 
Course Lecture Information: 

16 lectures

Course Weight: 
1.00 unit(s)
Course Level: 

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

In this, the second course in General Relativity, we have two principal aims. We first aim to increase our mathematical understanding of the theory of relativity and our technical ability to solve problems in it. We apply the theory to a wider class of physical situations, including gravitational waves and black hole solutions. Orbits in the Schwarzschild solution are given a unified treatment which allows a simple account of the three classical tests of Einstein's theory. This leads to a greater understanding of the Schwarzschild solution and an introduction to its rotating counterpart, the Kerr solution. We analyse the extensions of the Schwarzschild solution show how the theory of black holes emerges and exposes the radical consequences of Einstein's theory for space-time structure.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to

  1. Carry out tensor computations on Lorentzian manifolds
  2. Use the linearised Einstein equations to solve problems in the weak gravitational regime
  3. Construct the Penrose diagrams of Minkowski space-time, Schwarzschild, and the other simple spherically symmetric space-times
  4. Explain the concept of the black hole and identify its mass and angular momentum
Course Synopsis: 

Mathematical background, the Lie derivative and isometries. The Einstein field equations with matter; the energy-momentum tensor for a perfect fluid; equations of motion from the conservation law. Linearised general relativity and the metric of an isolated body. Motion on a weak gravitational field and gravitational waves. The Schwarzschild solution and its extensions; Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates and the Kruskal extension. Penrose diagrams and the area theorem. Stationary, axisymmetric metrics and orthogonal transitivity; the Kerr solution and its properties; interpretation as rotating black hole.

Reading List: 
  1. S. Carroll, Space Time and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity (Addison Welsey, 2003)
  2. L. P. Hughston and K. P. Tod, An Introduction to General Relativity, LMS Student Text 5, CUP (1990), Chs.19, 20, 22-26.
  3. R. M. Wald, General Relativity, Univ of Chicago Press (1984).
Further Reading: 
  1. B. Schutz, A First Course in General Relativity (Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  2. R.M. Wald, General Relativity (Chicago, 1984).
  3. W. Rindler, Essential Relativity (Springer-Verlag, 2nd edition, 1990).
  4. S. Hawking and G. Ellis, The Large Scale of the Universe, (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics, 1973).