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ASP3051 - Relativity and cosmology

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Professor Paul Cally (School of Mathematical Sciences)


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


Newtonian physics and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, the geometry of spacetime, the Minkowski metric, Lorentz transformations, k-calculus, and four-vectors; the physics of spacetime, momentum and energy; classical paradoxes; other metrics, Black Holes; observation of the Universe relevant to Cosmology; the expansion of the Universe, the Cosmic Background Radiation; the evolution of the Universe, propagation of light; primordial elements and recent observations. Students may optionally choose to take part in the field trip.


On completion of this unit, students will be aware of the reasons for supplanting Newtonian physics with relativity theory; be able to use special relativity to predict the behaviour of relativistic particles; have gained the capacity to discuss the relativistic paradoxes in an informed way; have a basic knowledge of our current understanding of the beginnings, nature, and fate of the Universe; be aware of the current uncertainties in cosmology. Students will also have developed skills in: analysing physical problems geometrically; thinking logically in a theory at odds with common experience; communicating and interpreting complex results; the use of mathematics to solve complex problems; interpreting mathematical results and presenting them in written form; making verbal and visual presentations of their results; working in a team environment.


Examination (3 hours): 70%
Laboratory work and reports: 20%
Field-trip report: 10%

Contact hours

The equivalent of three 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour laboratory/support class per week


MTH2010; recommended MTH2032


ASP2052, ASP3042, ASP3052, ASP3121, MAT3061 or MAT3142