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Black Holes and Gravitational Waves


Admission Requirements

TGR (Theory of General Relativity)


This course provides an introduction to 2 important themes in the physics of gravity:
1) the dynamical aspects of the space-time geometry as represented by gravitational waves;
2) the properties of the gravitationally collapsed objects (black holes).
Both topics are part of intensive present research activities in physics and astronomy.

The material is described in a syllabus, and will be explained in classroom lectures. A list of complementary literature will be provided. Home work exercises are included in the syllabus.

Specific subtopics discussed are:
topic 1:
Linearized Einstein equations
Quadrupole radiation
Radiation loss of binary stars
Detection of gravitational waves
Schwarzschild and Kerr geometry
Geodesics and conservation laws
Gravitational collapse

Course objectives

A basic understanding of the physical characteristics of gravitational waves and black holes, and their theoretical description in the framework of General Relativity. The ability to derive basic results from first principles and to perform computations of the most important effects open to experimental and observational verification.


Physics Schedule
For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

Mode of instruction

Classroom lectures based on lecture notes with exercises for self study.

Assessment method

Two-part examination, on the topics of gravitational waves and black holes separately,
with equal weight.


Registration for Brightspace occurs via uSis

Reading list

S. Carroll: Spacetime and geometry. An introduction to General Relativity, Addison Wesley (2004)

James B Hartle: Gravity – An introduction to Einstein’s General Relativity, Addison Wesley (2003)


Contactgegevens Docent:Prof.dr.Jan Willem van Holten