AST 2060F / PHY 1483F
Introduction to General Relativity
Charles C. Dyer
Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto
Tel: (all 416) 946-3044, 287-7206, 261-1998, 712-4695 (cell & messages)
AB-209, 2 Russell Street or 50 St. George Street (the Old Nursing Building)
dyer at astro dot utoronto dot ca
This course provides an introduction to General Relativity, including a brief review of
Special Relativity and some required mathematical topics. An introduction to astrophysical
applications, such as black holes and cosmology, will be discussed in the later part of the
The course concentrates on the basis for Einstein’s theory through an introduction to
diﬀerential geometry and curvature, tensor analysis, and related topics, followed by the ap-
plication of these ideas to gravitational physics, to lead to General Relativity. The theory
is then studied from a number of points of view, starting from the simple exact solutions
of Schwarzschild, Kerr, etc. to the study of various classes of solutions, with particular at-
tention to the mathematical and physical basis for their existence. This involves signiﬁcant
emphasis on the groups of symmetries and conformal symmetries that underlie almost all
the known solutions. There is some consideration of ‘alternate’ theories of gravity, but this
has to be cursory, due to time limitations.
There is no speciﬁc text required for this course, but a reading list and references to
speciﬁc texts and journal articles are referred to as appropriate. Refer to the course web-site
for a listing of other relevant texts.
A set of notes is provided on the course web-site, in PDF and PostScript formats. These
are meant to support the material presented in lectures, but they do not cover all material
presented in lectures, and thus do not deﬁne the full extent of the curriculum of the course.
Further, they are likely to change from time-to-time as the course progresses, and it is
likely that new notes will be added as well. While reading notes ahead of lectures may be
useful, do not depend solely on the notes for the content, or developing your understanding
of the actual course material. Participation in classes is important for a full understanding.
Access to the notes requires a password, which will provided in class and on the Blackboard
There will be two lectures of one hour per week on Wednesday 1:00 - 2:00 pm and
Friday 1:00 - 2:00 pm in Room MP-137. There will also be a tutorial hour on Wednesday
2:00 - 3:00 pm each week.
Evaluation will be as follows: (This remains subject to ﬁnal conﬁrmation)
1. Problem Set 1, worth 15%, tentatively due in second week of October.
2. Written in-class mid-term exam, 2 hours duration, worth 25%, tentatively scheduled
fourth week of October. This will be written on a Wednesday, from 1 to 3 pm.
3. Problem Set 2, worth 25%, tentatively due in third week of November.
4. Oral ﬁnal exam in December exam period, worth 35%, of one half hour duration.
Course web-site: odarragh.astro.utoronto.ca/GR-I.html. Course announcements will
also be made on the course Blackboard site relevant to the course code for which you are
registered, at portal.utoronto.ca