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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity & Astrophysics

Materials for a Spring 2003 undergraduate course in general relativity using the text Exploring Black Holes.

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.