physics 879

special topic in general relativity: gravitational-wave physics


 spring 2013 schedule


contact info 



the required textbook is "gravitational waves volume 1: theory and experiments"
by michele maggiore


to follow the classes, students should have already mastered the material covered
in an introductory general relativity course. By contrast it is not necessary to have
followed a course in astrophysics and/or cosmology.




the course grade will be based on the homeworks (1/3) and final project (2/3).

homework rules

academic integrity

the university has approved a code of academic integrity available on the web. the code
prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting the same paper
for credit in two courses without authorization, buying papers, submitting fraudulent
documents, and forging signatures.  the university senate requires that students include
the following signed statement on each examination or assignment: “i pledge on my
honor that i have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination
(or assignment).”  compliance with the code is administered by a student honor council,
which strives to promote a “community of trust” on the college park campus.  allegations
of academic dishonesty can be reported directly to the honor council (314-9154) by any
member  of the campus community.

course description

Tentative course plan - will be adjusted during semester.

The course also had guest lectures from Dr. Cole Miller, Dr. John Baker and Dr. Yi Pan.

Date Tuesday
Jan 24

Jan 29, 31
Linearization of Einstein equations, Lorenz gauge, transverse-traceless gauge
Interaction of GWs with freely-falling test particles, key ideas underlying GW detectors
Feb 5, 7
Effective EMT of GWs, GW energy and linear-momentum fluxes
Propagation of GWs in curved spacetime, geometric optics approximation
Feb 12, 14
Interaction of GWs with matter, gravitational lensing, absorption and scattering
Leading-order generation of GWs in the slow-motion approximation for self-gravitating sources
Feb 19, 21
Quadrupole formula
GWs from binary systems
Feb 26, 28
Astrophysical predictions for binary coalescing rates
Binaries on elliptic orbits
March 5, 7
Basics of PN formalism
Basics of PN formalism
March 12,14
Numerical relativity Numerical relativity
March 26, 28
Perturbation theory and black hole quasi-normal modes Effective-one-body formalism
April 2, 4
Effective-one-body formalism Inspiraling templates in GR and
alternative theories
April 9, 11
Spin effects/tidal effects/EM counterparts GWs from rotating rigid bodies (pulsars)
April 16, 18
GWs from core-collapse supernovae GWs from the early Universe
April 23, 25
Data analysis
Data analysis
April 30, 2
GWs from the early Universe GWs from the early Universe
May 7, 9
How LIGO works Quantum-optical noise in GW detectors
May 14 (?)
students' presentations

Video course at Caltech by Kip Thorne

references on week 1-2:

slides of first class

homeworks on week 1:
(assigned on Jan 23, due on Jan 31)

references on week 3:

homeworks on week 2:
(assigned on Feb 5, due on Feb 12)

references on week 4:

references on week 5:

homeworks on weeks 3 & 4:
(assigned on Feb 19, due on Feb 26)

references on week 6:

homeworks on weeks 5 & 6:
(assigned on March 5, due on March 12)

references on week 7:

homeworks on week 7:
(assigned on March 14, due on March 26)

references on week 8:

references on week 9:

references on week 10:

homeworks on weeks 9 & 10:
(assigned on April 2, due on April 11)

references on week 11:

references on week 12:

references on week 13:

references on week 14:

references on week 15:

questions and comments may be sent to
last modified on 5/7/2013