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HeLiXe

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In summary: GR is relevant to research in quantum gravity and string theory, but is not commonly taken up by physicists other than the few who specialize in it. GR is a full fundamental force of nature, gravity, and should be understood by any graduate physicist.

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HeLiXe

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Physics news on Phys.org

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demonelite123

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HeLiXe said:

depending on the schools, you may find an introduction to general relativity covered in an undergraduate differential geometry class from the math department. you can also check to see if your school offers a graduate general relativity course.

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ModusPwnd

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HeLiXe

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Modus...what research is it relevant to? You can give me a broad answer and I will look into it.

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Still for a graduate of physics, a course on and let's say decent knowledge of GR is a must, even if working at CERN attempting to find traces of SUSY.

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ZombieFeynman

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It's the study of a full fundamental force of nature, gravity! I think a PhD Physicist should be embarrassed if (s)he could not explain it lucidly to an undergraduate!

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WannabeNewton

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I think the textbook by Hartle was influential in bringing GR into the undegraduate curriculum.

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WannabeNewton

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Yeah it would seem so because most of the textbook listings for said undergraduate GR classes seem to be either Schutz or Hartle.bcrowell said:I think the textbook by Hartle was influential in bringing GR into the undegraduate curriculum.

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Jorriss

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It's not that uncommon, but it's still an elective at all institutions I've seen and many people get a PhD without ever seeing GR.WannabeNewton said:

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I like Serena

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HeLiXe said:

When I was studying physics, GR was only an upper level physics course that was optional.

It wasn't part of any real program.

I guess that was because it has a very limited application in real life.

I followed it myself because I was very much interested in it.

Differential geometry was an optional upper level math course.

I did not see any physicists there and it was only a handful of people attending the classes.

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Astronuc

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When I first attended university, GR was either upper level (4th year) or a graduate level course, and it was an elective. These days it seems to be a graduate level course because of the prerequisites.HeLiXe said:

Here is one example:

Rice University, PHYS 561 General Relativity

Prerequisites: Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Classical Electrodynamics, Tensor Calculus

or instructor consent

Text: Hans Stephani: Relativity: An Introduction to Special and General Relativity

(Cambridge Paperback, 2004)

Other Useful References:

Stephani (S): General Relativity (Cambridge 1990)

Lightman, Press, Price & Teukolsky (LPPT): Problem Book in Relativity &

Gravitation (Princeton 1975)

Hartle (H): Gravity (Addison-Wesley 2003)

Hobson, Efstathiou and Lasenby (HEL): General Relativity (Cambridge 2006)

Landau & Lifgarbagez (LL): Classical Theory of Fields (Pergamon 1989)

Weinberg (W): Gravitation & Cosmology (Wiley 1972)

Schutz (Sh): First Course in General Relativity (Cambridge 1985)

Misner, Thorne & Wheeler (MTW): Gravitation (Freeman 1973)

Rindler (R): Essential Relativity (Springer 1969)

Adler, Bazin & Schiffer (ABS): General Relativity (McGraw Hill 1965)

Course outline - http://physics.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=170

An introductory to GR course may be taught in undergraduate programs at some universities.

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I like Serena said:I guess that was because it has a very limited application in real life.

Except for every time you use a GPS.

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WannabeNewton

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Yes, quite unfortunately this is true.Jorriss said:It's not that uncommon, but it's still an elective at all institutions I've seen and many people get a PhD without ever seeing GR.

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Catria

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My school teaches it at the undergraduate level but it's an upper-division class.

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Lavabug

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GR is a mandatory 4th year course at my university (not in the US).

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VantagePoint72

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HeLiXe: as GR is a very involved subject, it is unlikely to be taught

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tahayassen

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None of these courses have general relativity or special relativity, right? That's a shame. :( I'll be forever stuck in classical physics and I won't ever touch quantum physics. =\

Introduction to Engineering

General Chemistry

Calculus I

Linear Algebra

Physics: Mechanics

Digital Computation and Programming

Principles of Engineering Economics

Electric Circuit Analysis

Calculus II

Physics: Waves and Fields

Software Systems

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Differential Equations and Vector Calculus

Solid State Physics

Communication in the Engineering Professions

Engineering Algorithms and Data Structures

Field Theory

Electronic Circuits I

Discrete Mathematics for Engineers

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VLSI Systems

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Intro to Digital Image Processing

Optical Communication Systems

Intelligent Systems

Introduction to Engineering

General Chemistry

Calculus I

Linear Algebra

Physics: Mechanics

Digital Computation and Programming

Principles of Engineering Economics

Electric Circuit Analysis

Calculus II

Physics: Waves and Fields

Software Systems

Digital Systems

Electric Networks

Differential Equations and Vector Calculus

Solid State Physics

Communication in the Engineering Professions

Engineering Algorithms and Data Structures

Field Theory

Electronic Circuits I

Discrete Mathematics for Engineers

Operating Systems

Microprocessor Systems

Electronic Circuits II

Signals and Systems I

Probability and Stochastic Processes

Computer Organization and Architecture

Object Oriented Eng Analysis and Design

Communication Systems

Control Systems

Basic Thermodynamics and Fluids

Engineering Design

Digital Systems Engineering

Computer Networks

Hardware/Software Codesign of Embed Sys

Electromagnetics

CMOS Analog Integrated Circuits

Low Power Digital Integrated Circuits

Digital Communication Systems

Biomedical Signal Analysis

Digital Control System Design

System Identification

Law and Ethics in Engineering Practice

Design Project

Programming Language

Advanced Computer Architecture

Digital System Design Automation

Advanced Computer Networks

Compilers

Software Engineering

Electronic Sensors and Measurement

Signals and Systems II

Real-Time Computer Control Systems

VLSI Circuit Testing

Cellular Mobile Communications

VLSI Systems

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Intro to Digital Image Processing

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HeLiXe

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tahayassen said:None of these courses have general relativity or special relativity, right? That's a shame. :( I'll be forever stuck in classical phyiscs and I won't ever touch quantum physics. =\

not from the looks of it >_>

usually after physics with calculus I and II you can take Modern Physics or some other variant which is an upper level course...usually 3000 level. An introduction to special relativity and quantum physics is there...specifically quantum mechanics. Modern physics is usually a prequisite for Quantum Mechanics, so if you have some free electives and really want to learn quantum mechanics, you can take modern physics and then quantum mechanics.

Thanks for your replies everyone. I am reading through them now.

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HeLiXe

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This book?bcrowell said:I think the textbook by Hartle was influential in bringing GR into the undegraduate curriculum.

Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity...ISBN 978-0805386622

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HeLiXe

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I thought that research was not yet accepted by mainstream. Thanks for the info. I plan to go for my graduates in physics once I finish undergrad.dextercioby said:

Still for a graduate of physics, a course on and let's say decent knowledge of GR is a must, even if working at CERN attempting to find traces of SUSY.

Thanks WannabeNewton. I do not see any such class at my university which is why I asked. I am majoring in physics.WannabeNewton said:

Thanks Zombie FeynmanZombieFeynman said:

It's the study of a full fundamental force of nature, gravity! I think a PhD Physicist should be embarrassed if (s)he could not explain it lucidly to an undergraduate!

Thanks ILS. My school does not seem to offer differential geometry either. I also checked the courses listed for math and statistics majors and found a course called advanced geometryI like Serena said:When I was studying physics, GR was only an upper level physics course that was optional.

It wasn't part of any real program.

I guess that was because it has a very limited application in real life.

I followed it myself because I was very much interested in it.

Differential geometry was an optional upper level math course.

I did not see any physicists there and it was only a handful of people attending the classes.

Thanks so much for this Astronuc. Great info. The physics department chair at my university told me we do not have tensor calculus and it is usually a graduate course...maybe this is why I do not see any general relativity classes for undergrad...and my school does not offer grad degrees in physics. I wonder now what math is required for tensor analysisAstronuc said:When I first attended university, GR was either upper level (4th year) or a graduate level course, and it was an elective. These days it seems to be a graduate level course because of the prerequisites.

Here is one example:

Rice University, PHYS 561 General Relativity

Prerequisites: Special Relativity, Classical Mechanics, Classical Electrodynamics, Tensor Calculus

or instructor consent

Text: Hans Stephani: Relativity: An Introduction to Special and General Relativity

(Cambridge Paperback, 2004)

Thanks CatriaCatria said:My school teaches it at the undergraduate level but it's an upper-division class.

Thanks lavabug.Lavabug said:GR is a mandatory 4th year course at my university (not in the US).

Thanks so much last one standing. I have taken calc I through III and differential equations so far. I plan to take pde, number theory, statistics and probability, and numerical analysis...still undecided on vector analysis. However because I am a double major with physics and a non-math subject, a few of those courses will be taken after I graduate. I am hoping to do research in nuclear astrophysics and thought that general relativity would be of particular importance in this area.LastOneStanding said:

HeLiXe: as GR is a very involved subject, it is unlikely to be taughtwithinanother course—with the possible exception of averyextensive differential geometry class, as someone else mentioned. Unless you are mathematician, attempting such a rigorous course as your first look at GR is probably too ambitious. If your university offers it to undergraduates, it will likely be an upper level class (possibly cross listed from the list of first year graduate courses) simply called "General Relativity" (or some variant). Such undergraduate courses are usually pretty self-contained mathematically, and so the instructor would spend roughly the first half of the course developing the necessary differential geometry before introducing the physics.

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tahayassen

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HeLiXe said:not from the looks of it >_>

usually after physics with calculus I and II you can take Modern Physics or some other variant which is an upper level course...usually 3000 level. An introduction to special relativity and quantum physics is there...specifically quantum mechanics. Modern physics is usually a prequisite for Quantum Mechanics, so if you have some free electives and really want to learn quantum mechanics, you can take modern physics and then quantum mechanics.

Thanks for your replies everyone. I am reading through them now.

I attend Ryerson University and I have 3 types of courses I can choose from:

1) Mandatory courses (I need these or else I won't graduate)

2) Professional courses (I need these skills to actually work in my career)

3) Liberal studies (history, geography, psychology, etc)

I've listed my mandatory courses and professional courses already. Since general/special relativity and quantum physics aren't in the list, that pretty much means I'm boned. Is this normal for a computer engineering degree? I'm starting to regret going to Ryerson University.

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dipole

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GR it's self isn't useful for much to most people, but the skills you learn are. Understanding how to build up a relativistic field theory, getting comfortable with tensor calculus, and learning to apply a theory to physical situations which you can't humanly visualize or understand and still get the right answer are all invaluable to someone who wants to go into theoretical physics.

I plan on doing computational condensed matter physics, I'll never use GR for the rest of my life most likely, but I'm still really glad I took it (and I'd have taken a second course if I had had the chance!).

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George Jones

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ModusPwnd said:Most people even with PhDs in physics have never taken a course in general relativity

Jorriss said:many people get a PhD without ever seeing GR.

Including me.

ZombieFeynman said:I think a PhD Physicist should be embarrassed if (s)he could not explain it lucidly to an undergraduate!

The above notwithstanding, I think I could have a go at this. I once taught a course (to students with a wide variety of backgrounds) that used Exploring Black Holes by Taylor and Wheeler as a text.

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jtbell

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tahayassen said:that pretty much means I'm boned

Don't you have any room in your schedule for elective courses?

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WannabeNewton

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HeLiXe

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Thanks so much for this valuable info dipole :)dipole said:

GR it's self isn't useful for much to most people, but the skills you learn are. Understanding how to build up a relativistic field theory, getting comfortable with tensor calculus, and learning to apply a theory to physical situations which you can't humanly visualize or understand and still get the right answer are all invaluable to someone who wants to go into theoretical physics.

I plan on doing computational condensed matter physics, I'll never use GR for the rest of my life most likely, but I'm still really glad I took it (and I'd have taken a second course if I had had the chance!).

Thanks WannabeNewton and thanks for the link, I'll check it out :)WannabeNewton said:

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ahsanxr

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HeLiXe

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HeLiXe

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WannabeNewton

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You forgot me in one day :[

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Astronuc

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I think one should have a background in vector calculus and linear algebra/analysis as prerequisites to tensor calculus.HeLiXe said:

This book seems interesting - Introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology (Dover Books on Physics) [Paperback]

D. F. Lawden (Author), https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486425401/?tag=pfamazon01-20

and it's inexpensive. I can't vouch for the quality.

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VantagePoint72

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Some will swear by the book by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, but personally I think MTW are best for people who already have a solid grounding in GR, not those just starting out. You might prefer to use their book in place of Wald's after reading the introductory texts.

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HeLiXe

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Who are you again? Just kidding! Thanks so much WannabeNewton :) I could not remember if it was you or PhysKidWannabeNewton said:You forgot me in one day :[

Thank you so much once again Astronuc! I checked out these classes and their prereqs at my school. I will also have a look at this book.Astronuc said:I think one should have a background in vector calculus and linear algebra/analysis as prerequisites to tensor calculus.

This book seems interesting - Introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology (Dover Books on Physics) [Paperback]

D. F. Lawden (Author), https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486425401/?tag=pfamazon01-20

and it's inexpensive. I can't vouch for the quality.

LastOneStanding I cannot thank you enough for all of this valuable information. Thank you for taking the time to answer me in regards to this.LastOneStanding said:tooinformal and—for me, at least—can leave the reader unconvinced by some of the mathematical statements. If you find this is the case, I'd suggest just taking it at face-value and plowing on so that you get a reasonably comprehensive overview; then grab a more rigorous book. I find that having an informal introduction to something makes later formal study much easier to swallow. I'd suggest that a good sequence would to read Schutz' book, then "Spacetime and Geometry" by Sean Carroll (my favourite GR text—covers essentially the same ground as Schutz but more formally), and then "General Relativity" by Robert Wald. By the end of Wald, you could expect to have a very comprehensive and rigorous understanding of GR.

Some will swear by the book by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, but personally I think MTW are best for people who already have a solid grounding in GR, not those just starting out. You might prefer to use their book in place of Wald's after reading the introductory texts.

I would like to thank everyone who replied because you have all given me so much perspective. I now have a few questions in regards to my math sequence, but I think I will start a new thread for that as it is a little off of this topic.

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ahsanxr

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<h2>1. What is general relativity?</h2><p>General relativity is a theory of gravity developed by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century. It describes how massive objects, such as planets and stars, interact with each other and how this interaction affects the fabric of space and time.</p><h2>2. What class is general relativity typically taught in?</h2><p>General relativity is typically taught in advanced physics courses at the undergraduate or graduate level. It may also be offered as an elective in some engineering or astronomy programs.</p><h2>3. Do I need a strong background in math to understand general relativity?</h2><p>Yes, a strong understanding of calculus and linear algebra is necessary to fully comprehend general relativity. It is also helpful to have a basic understanding of differential equations and tensor calculus.</p><h2>4. Are there any prerequisites for taking a class on general relativity?</h2><p>Yes, most courses on general relativity require students to have a strong foundation in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and special relativity. Some courses may also require knowledge of quantum mechanics.</p><h2>5. What are some real-world applications of general relativity?</h2><p>General relativity has many practical applications, including the prediction of the existence of black holes and the use of gravitational lensing in astronomy. It is also used in GPS technology and in the study of the expansion of the universe.</p>

General relativity is a theory of gravity developed by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century. It describes how massive objects, such as planets and stars, interact with each other and how this interaction affects the fabric of space and time.

General relativity is typically taught in advanced physics courses at the undergraduate or graduate level. It may also be offered as an elective in some engineering or astronomy programs.

Yes, a strong understanding of calculus and linear algebra is necessary to fully comprehend general relativity. It is also helpful to have a basic understanding of differential equations and tensor calculus.

Yes, most courses on general relativity require students to have a strong foundation in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and special relativity. Some courses may also require knowledge of quantum mechanics.

General relativity has many practical applications, including the prediction of the existence of black holes and the use of gravitational lensing in astronomy. It is also used in GPS technology and in the study of the expansion of the universe.

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