Syllabus

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This syllabus may be updated: check regularly. (CP = coursepack)

Week 1, Sept 6: General Intro: Spacetime and the Origins of the Cosmos

Week 2, Sept 13: From Ancient Greek Cosmology to Copernicanism

Readings: Greene, chapter 1; Aristarchus and Hipparchus, from Albert van Helden, Measuring the Universe, pp. 1-14, Nicolaus Copernicus “On the revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” (CP). 

Week 3, Sept 20: Newton's Space and Time

Readings:  Greene, chapter 2; extracts from Descartes’s Principles of Philosophy; and from Newton’s De gravitatione and the Scholium to the Definitions (CP); Newton's proof of Proposition 1 from his Principia.

Week 4, Sept 27:  Relational Space and Time: Leibniz, Mach and Einstein

Readings: extracts from the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence and Mach’s History of Mechanics (CP). Wolfgang Rindler, Essential Relativity, pp. 1-22, "The Rise and Fall of Absolute Space" (CP).

Week 5, Oct 4: Einstein's Special Relativity; Minkowski and the introduction of Spacetime  (Problem set 1 due in class) 

ReadingsGreene, chapter 3; Albert Einstein, “Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?” (CP); Hermann Minkowski, “Space and Time” (CP); Arthur, Lecture Notes for Week 5.

Week 6, Oct 15: Elements of General Relativity

Readings: Albert Einstein, “The influence of gravitation on the propagation of light” (CP);  Wolfgang Rindler, Essential Relativity, 105-119 (CP). 

Lecture: Ralph Pudritz; guest lecturer: Rob DiSalle.

Week 7, Oct 18: Elements of General Relativity (continued)

Readings: Greene, chapters 5, 6, 8. Lecture: Ralph Pudritz  (slides)

Week 8, Oct 25:  Thermodynamics, Time, and Expanding Spacetime —in-class midterm exam

Readings: Greene, chapters 5, 6, 8 (continued).

Week 9, Nov 1: Quantum Physics and Time

ReadingsGreene, chapter 4, 7.

Week 10, Nov 8:  Quantum Theory, Particle Physics and Spacetime   (Problem set 2 due in class) 

ReadingsGreene, chapter 9; Cliff Burgess, Lecture Notes 1.

Week 11, Nov15: The Big Bang and Inflation

Readings:  Greene, chapters 10, 11; Cliff Burgess, Lecture Notes 2.

Week 11, Nov 22: Theories of the Early Universe

Readings: Greene, chapters 12, 13 and 14 (strings and branes; dark matter, dark energy). 

Guest lecture: Itay Yavin

Week 12, Nov 29: Time and Spacetime: Unresolved Issues

Readings: Greene, chapters 15 and 16. 

Student presentations.

Final exam—5th December, 19:30,  IWC 1 (1)

© Richard TW Arthur, 2012