Course Syllabus

Final Project Handout

Back to the Future Handout

Required Books

- Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
- Richard Feynman, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry and Space-Time
- George Gamow, Mr. Tompkins in paperback

- The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences
- Murray Gell Mann on beauty in physics
- Inertial reference frame: ball's motion on a moving cart
- Non-inertial reference frames: The Foucault pendulum in action, plus a useful animation
- Mechanical Universe video 41 (Michelson-Morley experiment)
- Berlin cloud chamber
- Wilson Cloud Chamber and build your own
- Gravitational lensing and hands-on lab
- Dancing in a time shear (an almost, kinda-Lorentz transformation)
- Mechanical Universe video 42 (Lorentz Transformation)
- Time travel in Back to the Future II and some thoughts on it here and here (A good starting point for a thoughtful analysis, what do you think?)
- Lack of simultaneity
- Ladder paradox
- Velocity raptor, a relativistic video game with dinosaurs
- Visualization of the Godel universe
- Brian Green's introduction to general relativity
- measuring the "twisting" of space with gravity probe B
- Travel towards a blackhole and then finally plunge into one
- Spacetime of blackholes, astrophysical blackholes, and caustic echoes
- Great resource on blackholes here including what a gravitational wave sounds like and blackhole collisions
- Fractal Black Holes on Strings
- Interview with John Wheeler on the coining of the term "black hole"
- Time dilation in your living room
- Traveling through space with an Alcubierre (warp) drive (here and here) and wormholes (???)
- Brian Greene's TED talk on string theory
- John Conway's Free Will Lectures
- Joanne Hewett's Hidden Dimensions and String Theory (includes an excellent introduction to Kaluza-Klein theory).

- Homework 1 and Solutions
- Homework 2 and Solutions
- Homework 3 and Solutions
- Homework 4 and Solutions
- Homework 5 and Solutions