PHYM006 
Relativity and Cosmology 
201718 

Dr T.J. Harries 


Delivery Weeks: 
T2:0111 

Level: 
7 (NQF) 

Credits: 
15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS 

Enrolment: 
32 students (approx) 

Description
This module is an introduction to the special and general theories of relativity.
Although the course avoids the use of advanced mathematical topics and
emphasises the concepts behind the theory, students will require a good level
level of mathematical fluency and intuition in order to engage with material.
Module Aims
The module aims to develop an understanding of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. The General
Theory will also be introduced and applied to the standard cosmological model and
to the three historical tests of the theory: the precession of the perihelion of mercury,
the bending of light passing close to the sun and the gravitational red shift.
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 give coherent explanations of the principles associated with:
special relativity, general relativity, and cosmology;
 interpret observational data in terms of the Standard
Model of the evolution of the universe;
 describe experiments and observational evidence to test the
general theory of relativity, explain how these support the
general theory and can be used to criticise and ruleout
alternative possibilities;
 apply tensors to the description of curved spaces;
 solve problems by applying the principles of relativity;
 deduce the Friedmann equations describing the evolution of the Universe.
 explain what is meant by: intrinsic and extrinsic curvatures,
the curvature of space, local inertial reference frame, and
Riemannian coordinates/geometry.
 describe world lines of particles and photons in a curved spacetime;
 describe the Cosmological Principle and the RobertsonWalker metric;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 explain to nonspecialists the basis of one of the cornerstones
of 20th century Physics;

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:
 locate, retrieve and evaluate relevant information from the WWW.
 meet deadlines for completion of work to be discussed in
class by developing appropriate timemanagement strategies.
Syllabus Plan

Introduction

Key aspects of special relativity
 Galilean and Lorentz transformations
 Length contraction and time dilation
 Doppler effect
 Relativistic mechanics

Accelerated reference frames
 The person in the lift
 Inertial forces
 Tidal forces

Curved spaces
 Euclidean spaces
 Curvature in one and two dimensions
 Intrinsic and extrinsic curvature
 Riemannian curvature
 Introduction to tensors

Application to spacetime physics
 The equivalence principle
 Tidal forces and local inertial frames
 Equations for world lines of free particles and photons
 Schwarzschild metric
 Black holes

Experimental tests of general relativity
 Advance of perihelion of mercury
 Bending of light
 Gravitational red shift

Cosmology
 The cosmological principle
 RobertsonWalker metric
 Redshift distance relation
 The Friedmann equations
 Cosmic microwave background
 Helium production

Five Credits of Additional Material / Workload
 The coverage of the 'Relativity and Cosmology' module is
being increased from 10 credits in 2012/13 to 15 credits in 2013/14. As a
result the above syllabus will be expanded.
Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities and Teaching Methods
Description 
Study time 
KIS type 
20×1hour lectures 
20 hours

SLT 
2×1hour problems/revision classes 
2 hours

SLT 
5×6hour selfstudy packages 
30 hours

GIS 
4×4hour problem sets 
16 hours

GIS 
Reading, private study and revision 
82 hours

GIS 
Assessment
Weight 
Form 
Size 
When 
ILOS assessed 
Feedback 
0% 
Guided selfstudy 
5×6hour packages 
Fortnightly 
112 
Discussion in class 
0% 
4 × Problems sets 
4 hours per set 
Fortnightly 
112 
Solutions discussed in problems classes. 
100% 
Final Examination 
2 hours 30 minutes 
May/June 
112 
Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions. 
Resources
The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that
students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).
Core text:
Supplementary texts:
ELE:
Further Information
Prior Knowledge Requirements
Prerequisite Modules 
Vector Mechanics (PHY1021), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHY1022) and Mathematics with Physical Applications (PHY2025) 
Corequisite Modules 
none 
Reassessment
Reassessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.
Original form of assessment 
Form of reassessment 
ILOs reassessed 
Time scale for reassessment 
Whole module 
Written examination (100%) 
112 
August/September assessment period 
Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.
KIS Data Summary
Learning activities and teaching methods 
SLT  scheduled learning & teaching activities 
22 hrs 
GIS  guided independent study 
128 hrs 
PLS  placement/study abroad 
0 hrs 
Total 
150 hrs 


Summative assessment 
Coursework 
0% 
Written exams 
100% 
Practical exams 
0% 
Total 
100% 

Miscellaneous
IoP Accreditation Checklist 
 N/A this is an optional module

Availability 
MPhys and PGRS only 
Distance learning 
NO 
Keywords 
Physics; Theory; Spaces; Curvature; Time; Curves; General theory; Shifts; Cosmological; Equation; Inertial frame. 
Created 
01Oct10 
Revised 
N/A 