ASP3051 - Relativity and cosmology - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy


Dr Duncan Galloway

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


Newtonian physics and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, the geometry of space-time, the Minkowski metric, Lorentz transformations, k-calculus, and four-vectors; the physics of space-time, 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.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the reasons for supplanting Newtonian physics with relativity theory;
  2. Use special relativity to predict the behaviour of relativistic particles;
  3. Discuss the relativistic paradoxes in an informed way;
  4. Display basic knowledge of our current understanding of the beginnings, nature, and fate of the Universe;
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of the current uncertainties in cosmology;
  6. Display skills in analysing physical problems geometrically, thinking logically in a theory at odds with common experience;
  7. Use mathematics to solve complex problems;
  8. Interpret complex mathematical results and communicate them in written form;
  9. Work in a team environment.


Examination (3 hours): 70%

Laboratory work and reports: 30%

Workload requirements

  • Three 1-hour lectures per week
  • One 2-hour workshop per week
  • Seven hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


One of MTH2010,MTH2015 or ENG2005

Recommended units: MTH2032 or MTH2040