Physics 387N: Relativity Theory II (Spring 1998)
Schedule: Tue, Thu 12:30 - 2:00 PM --- RLM 5.116 --- Unique #
Instructor: M.W. Choptuik
Office: RLM 9.208A --- Office Hours: Mon, Wed
10:00-11:30 and by appointment
Phone: 471-1541 --- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Instructor's Home Page:
Course Home Page: http://wwwrel.ph.utexas.edu/Members/matt/Teaching/98Spring/Phy387N/Syllabus.html
- News (last updated, Monday, Apr. 21,
- Scanned Course Notes
Other Course Notes
PHY381C (Comp. Physics)
including links to
- Lagrangian Formulation of GR [PDF]
- Hamiltonian Formulation of Classical Field Theory [PDF]
- The 3+1 Formulation of General Relativity [PDF]
- Solving the 3+1 Equations: Overview [PDF]
- The Initial Value Problem [PDF]
- Spherical Symmetry [PDF]
- Gravitational Collapse in the Einstein-Massless-Klein-Gordon
- Adaptive Mesh Refinement [PDF]
- Black Hole Excising Techniques [PDF]
Recommended Text: General Relativity by R. M.
Wald, The University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Course Overview: This course will focus on providing
students with an understanding of the formalisms and computational
approaches which are currently of most use in studying
strong-field aspects of classical general relativity. Lecture
topics will include
(numbers in parentheses indicate roughly how many lectures will be
devoted to each topic). Class work will consist primarily of three
assigned projects and a term project, all of which will be performed
in the context of 3-person teams, whose composition will be
determined by the instructor. This work will have a significant
computational component, and although computational techniques will
be discussed in class from time to time, you may have to ``osmose''
certain skills from the instructor or other members of your team
during non-class hours. Computational topics which will be
encountered in the course include:
As with all of the instructor's current computationally-oriented
courses, the preferred course language is Fortran 77.
Teams are not prohibited from using other languages, but the
instructor will not necessarily provide the same level of support
for those languages as for Fortran 77. Please follow the
hyperlinks for some basic on-line material on the above topics.
- The Lagrangian formulation of general relativity and other
classical field theories (3)
- The 3+1 (ADM/Hamiltonian) formulation of GR (3)
- The initial-value problem for GR (2)
- The evolution problem & coordinate (``gauge'') choices (3)
- Spherically symmetric collapse, black hole formation and
critical phenomena (7)
- Black hole excision (3)
- Adaptive mesh refinement techniques(3)
- Class presentations (2)
Other References: As the course proceeds, a number of
additional references will be used, and will be noted here.
Grades: Projects and Exam:
Course grades will be determined on the basis of performance on
three assigned group projects, one term group project, and an
open-book final exam, with the following weighting:
As mentioned above, teams will consist of three (possibly four)
students and will be chosen by the instructor. Note: Due to
the nature of this course, the effort required for a CR (credit) is
unlikely to be significantly different than the effort required for
a good grade---students who have registered CR/NOCR for this course
will probably want to take this into account.
- Assigned projects: 50%
- Term projects: 40% (35% write-up, 5% oral presentation)
- Final Examination (open book): 10% (Friday, May 15,
Assigned projects should be treated much like regular homework
assignments except that team members must work together to
complete the projects. For the most part, the instructor will leave
it to the individual teams to ensure that a reasonable balance of
work is achieved within each team. Unlike previous courses you may
have taken from the instructor, late projects are unlikely to be
accepted without an extremely good excuse.
On or before Thurs., March 12, 1998 (the last class day
before spring break), each team must present the instructor with a
one page summary of their term project, whose topic must have
previously been cleared with the instructor. The instructor
will be happy to suggest term-project topics, but also encourages
the teams to pursue, if possible, specific computations of mutual
interest. Term-project write-ups will be graded on the basis of a
written report (estimated length 20-30 pages including figures and
other results), and on an in-class oral presentation (roughly 30
minutes). The written report must be prepared in LaTeX
(or TeX) and must be submitted to the instructor on or
before the last class day, Thurs., May 7, 1998 (no
exceptions!) The oral presentation per se may be given
by any number of group members, although all members should
contribute to the preparation of the presentation. Presentation
order will be chosen randomly.
The final exam consists of the single question: Write a short
(1000-1500 word) essay on a subject in general relativity of your
own choosing. All topics must be cleared before the time of
the final, which is tentatively Friday, May 15, 2:00-5:00 pm.
Essays may be completed in the official exam period or at any
previous time, but completed essays must be personally
handed to the instructor during the official exam (i.e. you must
officially show up for the exam). Again, if need be, the instructor
will assist you in choosing a topic. Note that a particularly good
time to complete the essay is early in the term before the other
course work starts piling up! Essays need not be typed or
word-processed, but must be legible.
All students should have an account on the Physics Dept.
public Unix systems located in the Graduate Computer Lab, RLM
3.118. More importantly, you will be given access to the Center for Relativity Unix machines.
and will be expected to use these machines extensively for your
group work. Note that most of these machines are in grad student and
post-doc offices so you should not expect to be able to use any
given machine on demand. However, I do not anticipate access to
machines being particularly problematic in the context of completion
of group work: if you do encounter such difficulties, contact the
instructor immediately. Teams will also be provided with access to
high-performance machines operated by the Texas Advanced Computing
Miscellaneous Administrative Notes:
Please note the following cut-off dates. See the UT
Austin Spring 1998 Course Schedule for more information.
- Feb 16, 1998: Last day to drop a course without a
possible academic penalty.
- May 8, 1998: Last day a graduate student may, with the
approval of the instructor, the graduate adviser, and the
graduate dean, drop a course.
Introduction (GR15 talk)
Initial Value Problem
Evolution & Coordinates
Collapse & BH formation
Collapse & BH formation
Presentations & Class Evaluation