Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Physics and Astronomy
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Duncan Galloway


Newtonian physics and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, the geometry of space-time, the Minkowski metric, Lorentz transformations, k-calculus, and four-vectors; the physics of space-time, momentum and energy; classical paradoxes; other metrics, Black Holes; observation of the Universe relevant to Cosmology; the expansion of the Universe, the Cosmic Background Radiation; the evolution of the Universe, propagation of light; primordial elements and recent observations.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the reasons for supplanting Newtonian physics with relativity theory;

  1. Use special relativity to predict the behaviour of relativistic particles;

  1. Discuss the relativistic paradoxes in an informed way;

  1. Display basic knowledge of our current understanding of the beginnings, nature, and fate of the Universe;

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of the current uncertainties in cosmology;

  1. Display skills in analysing physical problems geometrically, thinking logically in a theory at odds with common experience;

  1. Use mathematics to solve complex problems;

  1. Interpret complex mathematical results and communicate them in written form;

  1. Work in a team environment.


Examination (3 hours): 70%
Laboratory work and reports: 30%

Workload requirements

The equivalent of three 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour laboratory/support class per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


MTH2010 or MTH2015. Recommended: MTH2032