The study of the night sky instilled wonder in our ancestors. Modern astronomy extends the human view to previously unexplored regions of space and time. In this course, you will gain an understanding of these discoveries through a focus on relativity—Einstein's fascinating and non-intuitive description of the physical world. By studying relativity and astronomy together, you will develop physical insight and quantitative skills, and you’ll regain a profound sense of wonder for the universe we call home.
What topics will the course cover?
Section Two—3, 2, 1 … Launching the journey into spacetime
Section Three—Special relativity: from light to dark
Section Four—General relativity: from flat to curved
Is there a required textbook?
No textbook is required. Notes will be posted weekly. A list of supplemental resources, including textbooks, will be provided.
What are the learning outcomes of this course?
Explain the meaning and significance of the postulates of special and general relativity.
Discuss significant experimental tests of both special and general relativity.
Analyze paradoxes in special relativity.
Apply appropriate tools for problem solving in special relativity.
Describe astrophysical situations where the consequences of relativity qualitatively impact predictions and/or observations.
Describe daily situations where relativity makes a difference.