General Relativity

Instructor: Mahbub Majumdar

BRACU ClassDateTimeRoom
PHY 413: General RelativitySu, Tu3:30-4:50UB-1-02-05


This is a physics of spacetime course. Specifically, we see how the geometry of spacetime, and its Einstein Field equations emerge from a unified point of view of high energy physics.  Our vantage point will be string theory a quantum approach to the physics of spacetime.  We will see what a quantum gravity theory has to say about the classical nature of our spacetime.

Because of the unusual nature of the course, the syllabus will evolve with the course.


Anybody who does the homework, and comes to class very regularly, should get a very good grade.  The marking has to be according to BRACU rules, as far as I know.  This means

  • Attendance: 5%,
  • Homework & Quizzes: 25%,
  • Midterm 20%,
  • Final 50%.

This is an unfortunate grading scale.  The most important part of this course is homework and attendance.  The quizzes and exam questions will come from the homework problems.  Anybody who does the homework, will be able to obtain full marks on the quizzes and do well on the exams.  Because, this is a non-standard course, and without a good a teacher, is a rather hard course, you need to attend EVERY lecture.  I will be very unhappy with students with students who miss lectures.  I will be very happy with students who attend all the lectures and are not late.

Class structure

There will be a weekly problem set. You are expected to submit the homework within a week.

The two main textbooks are:

Another pure GR book, that I tell everybody to read is:

Some very useful lectures online are:

A wonderful popular science introduction covering some of our topics is:

Lecture Notes

  1. Lightcone coordinates


  1. Lecture 1:  Spacetime
    1. Reading: Chapter 1, Zwiebach 
    2. Homework: Odd problems, Zwiebach Chap 1
  2. Lecture 2: Electromagnetism
    1. Reading: Chapter 2, Zwiebach