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 Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity & Astrop  posted by  member7_php   on 2/14/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Bertschinger, Edmund, and Edwin F. Taylor, 8.224 Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity , Spring 2003. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 09 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity & Astrophysics

Spring 2003

In this image taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, the bright dot near the center was seen to flicker and brighten dramatically for a few minutes. Many astronomers believe this provides additional evidence that a black hole does indeed reside at our Galaxy's center. (Image courtesy of F. Baganoff, MIT as presented on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.)

Course Highlights

Can I see a black hole at all? If I can see it, what does a black hole look like? Does it look black? What does it feel like to fall toward a black hole? 8.224 Exploring Black Holes investigates these and many other questions using elementary calculus. The website includes assignments, exams, lecture notes, videos, and a description of the end-of-term collaborative research project.

Course Description

Study of physical effects in the vicinity of a black hole as a basis for understanding general relativity, astrophysics, and elements of cosmology. Extension to current developments in theory and observation. Energy and momentum in flat spacetime; the metric; curvature of spacetime near rotating and nonrotating centers of attraction; trajectories and orbits of particles and light; elementary models of the Cosmos. Weekly meetings include an evening seminar and recitation. The last third of the semester is reserved for collaborative research projects on topics such as the Global Positioning System, solar system tests of relativity, descending into a black hole, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves, Gravity Probe B, and more advanced models of the Cosmos.

Special Features

  • Sample video lectures

Technical Requirements

RealOne™ Player software is required to run the .rm files found on this course site. Any number of development tools can be used to compile and run the .java files found on this course site. Please refer to the course materials for any specific instructions or recommendations. File decompression software, such as Winzip® or StuffIt®, is required to open the .zip files found on this course site. Java® Virtual Machine software (automatically installed in most major web browsers) is required to run the .class files found on this course site.

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  WEEK #       TOPICS       PRESENTER  
  1       Introduction to the Class       Edmund Bertschinger  
  2       The Universe: Questions You were Afraid to Ask       Edwin Taylor and Kristin Burgess  
  3       No Evening Seminar this Week, Just Recitation Section          
  4       Global Positioning System       Thomas Herring  
  5       Einstein's Field Equations       Edmund Bertschinger  
  6       Tracing Einstein's Development of the Special Relativity Theory       Gerald Holton  
  7       Supermassive Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy --Sagittarius A*       Frederick K. Baganoff  
  8       X-Ray Binaries and the Search for Black Holes       Jeffrey McClintock  
  9       Review Prepare for mid-term exam. The test covers: EBH, Thorne, Handouts, Homework, Weekly Seminars          
  10       The Universe and Three Examples       Alan Guth  
  11       No Evening Seminar this Week, Just Recitation Section          
  12       LIGO: Detecting Gravitational Waves       Nergis Mavalvala  
  13       Cosmic Structure Formation; From Inflation to Galaxies       Edmund Bertschinger  
  14       Project Reports in Seminar; Project Reports in Recitation Section     Tell A Friend