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ASTR378 – General Relativity

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Daniel Terno
Contact via daniel.terno@mq.edu.au
E6B2.715
by appointment
Lecturer
Dominic Berry
Contact via dominic.berry@mq.edu.au
E6B 2.408
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
PHYS301
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit presents Einstein's theory of general relativity. The unit begins with a review of the ideas of geometry, and the presentation of special relativity from a geometric perspective, gravity as geometry, and the equivalence principle. Curved spacetime, metrics, geodesics, and Schwarzschild geometry, are then introduced. Only then is tensor analysis and the full description of spacetime curvature developed and used in the derivation of Einstein's field equations. Applications to classical tests of relativity, the Schwarzschild metric, black holes, and gravitational waves are considered.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  2. Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  3. Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  4. Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

General Assessment Information

 To pass this unit you must obtain a mark of at least:

- 50% in the unit overall

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assignments: approx weekly 30% approx weekly
1 mid-session test, 50 min 15% week 6
Final examination 55% TBA

Assignments: approx weekly

Due: approx weekly
Weighting: 30%

Assignments are intended primarily for your training as well as for the assessment purposes. They will be issued approximately once a week, covering the studied topics.  The best seven assignments [unless agreed otherwise] from the course will be selected to contribute to the assignment grade.

Submission: 1. Students should present their own solutions and should explicitly acknowledge those they have worked with on the assignment. 2. Assignments should be submitted by the due date, unless  agreed otherwise beforehand. Extensions can be given only until solutions are published.

Return: The marked assignments will be returned  within one-two weeks after the due date.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

1 mid-session test, 50 min

Due: week 6
Weighting: 15%

Lagrangian mechanic, mathematical techniques and physical content of special relativity are the foundation for the entire unit. These topics are examined in the in-class exam during week 6. It will allow for an early feedback and adjustments in teaching and learning.

The test is to be held during week 6 during the class time. The date/time to be  set in consultation with the students.

Students can prepare their own hand-written summary notes on the topic of the test to use during the test


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Final examination

Due: TBA
Weighting: 55%

Three hour final exam  during the exam period set by the University. It may cover any/all/ some of the topics studied in the unit. Allowed material are to be determined in consultation with the students

You are expected to present yourself for the final examination at the time and place designated in the University examination timetable (http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au/exam/). The timetable will be available in draft form approximately eight weeks before the commencement of examinations and in final form approximately four weeks before the commencement of examinations.

If you apply for Disruption to Study for your final examination, you must make yourself available for the week of December 11 – 15, 2017.  If you are not available at that time, there is no guarantee an additional examination time will be offered.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Delivery and Resources

Classes

All classes will be lectures or tutorials presented as white-board/black-board/computer-generated slides. 

Class times and locations

  • Mon 12:00 13:00 w6b 315
  • Mon 14:00-15:00 e6b218
  • Tue 10:00-12:00 e3b 212

Updates/changes will appear on https://timetables.mq.edu.au/2017/

Required and Recommended Texts and/or Materials

Required Text

The required textbook for this unit is

  • James Hartle: Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity.

Detailed reading guide will be posted on iLearn

Technology used and required

Unit web page

The web page for this unit can be found at http://ilearn.mq.edu.au

Please check this web page regularly for announcements and material available for downloading. Some learning resources for the unit will be provided in hardcopy rather on-line.

Teaching and Learning Strategy

This unit is taught through lectures and tutorials. We strongly encourage students to attend lectures because they provide a much more interactive and effective learning experience than studying a textbook. Even more so we encourage students to skim the suggested reading before classes and actually read the texts afterwards. Questions during and outside lectures are strongly encouraged in this unit - please do not be afraid to ask, as it is likely that your classmates will also want to know the answer.

You may wish to discuss your assignment problems with other students and the lecturers, but you are required to hand in your own work (see the note on plagiarism below). Assignments are provided as one of the key learning activities for this unit, they are not there just for assessment. It is by applying knowledge learned from lectures and textbooks to solve problems that you are best able to test and develop your skills and understanding of the material.

Unit Schedule

TBA at the first class & posted on iLearn

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Disruption to Studies

The University recognises that students may experience disruptions that adversely affect their academic performance in assessment activities.  Support Services are provided by the University to assist students through their studies.  Whilst advice and recommendations may be made to a student, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to access these services as appropriate. Further information is to be found at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/exams/disruption_to_studies/

Academic Honesty Policy

The University has developed an academic honesty policy whose key principles requires all students and staff to undertake their academic work honestly. Dishonest student behaviours by will be managed by

  1. communicating to students that any piece of academic work can be checked at any time using an appropriate process
  2. implementing a common remedial and penalty framework across the University
  3. establishing and applying appropriate, consistent procedures for detecting and investigating alleged academic dishonesty
  4. providing and communicating the appeal process This policy covers such dishonest academic behaviours as

Plagiarism: Using the work or ideas of another person and presenting this as your own without clear acknowledgement of the source of the work or ideas. This includes, but is not limited to, any of the following acts:

– copying out part(s) of any document or audio-visual material or computer code or website content without indicating their origins

– using or extracting another person’s concepts, experimental results, or conclusions

– summarising another person’s work

– submitting substantially the same final version of any material as another student in an assignment where there was collaborative preparatory work

– use of others (paid or otherwise) to conceive, research or write material submitted for assessment

– submitting the same or substantially the same piece of work for two different tasks (self-plagiarism).

Deception: includes, but is not limited to, false indication of group contribution, false in- dication of assignment submission, collusion, submission of a work previously submitted, creating a new article out of an existing article by rewriting/reusing it, using the same data to form the same arguments and conclusion, presenting collaborative work as one’s own without acknowledging others’ contributions, cheating in an examination or using others to write material for examination.

Fabrication: includes, but is not limited to, creating fictitious clinical data, citation(s), or referee reports.

Sabotage: includes, but is not limited to, theft of work, destruction of library materials. Full details of the academic honesty policy can be found on http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Extensions

Assignments: Extensions may be granted on case-by-case basis with requests made prior to the deadline.

 

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems

Assessment task

  • Assignments: approx weekly

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments: approx weekly
  • 1 mid-session test, 50 min
  • Final examination

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Assessment task

  • Assignments: approx weekly

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments: approx weekly
  • 1 mid-session test, 50 min
  • Final examination

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Assessment task

  • Final examination

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments: approx weekly
  • 1 mid-session test, 50 min
  • Final examination

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Have an appreciation of the impact of relativity theory on our understanding of the nature of space and time.
  • Minimal working knowledge of the Lagrangian mechanics, calculus of variations and differential geometric concepts, particularly in their application to relativistic physics and technology
  • Gain experience in relating abstract concepts that underline the special and general theories of relativity to the appropriate mathematical tools and their applications to concrete problems
  • Develop an appreciation of the astrophysical applications of special and general relativity and gain working knowledge of some of the standard techniques

Assessment tasks

  • Assignments: approx weekly
  • 1 mid-session test, 50 min
  • Final examination

Feedback

Student Liaison Committee

The Physics Department values quality teaching and engages in periodic student evaluations of its units, external reviews of its programs and course units, and seeks formal feedback from students via focus groups and the Student Liaison Committee. Please consider being a member of this committee, which meets once during the semester (lunch provided), with the purpose of improving teaching via student feedback. The class will be asked to nominate two students as representatives for the ASTR378 unit on the student liaison committee. This nomination process will be conducted during lectures and the lecturer will forward the names to the Head of Department. The SLC meetings are minuted and student representatives receive copies of the minutes from the two preceding SLC meetings prior to the meeting. An update on the responses that have been made by the department to the feedback obtained at the two preceding SLC meetings are reported by the Head of Department at the beginning of each SLC meeting. These responses are also minuted. The feedback is acted upon in a number of ways mostly initiated via Department of Physics and Astronomy meetings, where decisions on actions are taken. This is the first year of our new 3xx level program, so you feedback will be very important.

Standards Expectation

Grading

An aggregate standard number grade (SNG) corresponding to a pass (P) is required to pass this unit.

High Distinction (HD, 85-100%): provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application.

Distinction (D, 75-84%): provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience.

Credit (Cr, 66-74%): provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; plus communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline.

Pass (P, 50-65%): provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; and communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.

Fail (F, 0-49%): does not provide evidence of attainment of all learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; and incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.