Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS April Meeting 2019
Volume 64, Number 3
Saturday–Tuesday, April 13–16, 2019; Denver, Colorado
Session E01: Poster Session I (5:45pm-7:45pm)
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Sheraton Room: Plaza Foyer
Abstract: E01.00059 : General Relativity for a Broad Range of Undergraduate Students
Parker W Troischt
Parker W Troischt
Since the direct detection of gravity waves at both LIGO, and later at Virgo, it has become more important than ever for undergraduate physics students to have some working knowledge of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. The theory is commonly applied to understand astrophysical phenomena, operate the Global Positioning System, is one of the gateways to Grand Unified Theories, and is the basis for an entire new “window” opening in astronomy through gravity waves. It has now been used to describe phenomena in the “strong field” regime and been tested to a high degree of precision. Despite these facts, a course in General Relativity is still not commonly taught at many smaller institutions. Here, we discuss the development of a new course in General Relativity being taught this semester at a Hartwick College. Significant effort has been made to present the course to a broad class of students, rather than just a select few of the highest performers. It was intentionally offered immediately following electricity and magnetism, so all students had recently used vector calculus. Introductory physics and calculus are the only other pre-requisites. We report on the development of the course, initial student impressions of the theory, and pedagogical lessons learned.
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