Astronomy of Strong Gravity: Gravitational Wave Generation and Detection

This is the webpage for the course that I am teaching with Dr Priscilla Canizares in Lent Term 2014. The course is an optional course for the Part III Mathematical Tripos and a course for graduate students in Mathematics and Astrophysics. Slides of the lectures will appear below after each lecture is given. We wil also be posting some more detailed mathematical notes on the course material when these are finished.

If you have any questions, you can email myself at jgair AT ast.cam.ac.uk or Priscilla at pcm AT ast.cam.ac.uk .


Lecture slides

  • Lecture 1 - Introduction, History and recap of basic principles of General Relativity
  • Lecture 2 - Recap of electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves on the back of an envelope
  • Lecture 3 - Gravitational waves in GR - linearized theory, non-linear waves, radiation reaction, GW propagation
  • Lecture 4 - Properties of gravitational waves
  • Lecture 9 - Introduction to signal analysis, gravitational wave detectors
  • Lecture 10 - Gravitational Wave Sources - stochastic backgrounds, bursts, continuous waves (pulsars), galactic binaries
  • Lecture 11 - Gravitational Wave Sources - compact binary coalesence

  • Other Material


    Useful Books

  • Dirac, P A M, 1975, General Theory of Relativity, (New York: Wiley)
  • Landau, L D and Lifshitz, E M, 1975, The Classical Theory of Fields, fourth edition, (Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann)
  • Misner, C W, Thorne, K S and Wheeler, J A, 1973, Gravitation (New York: Freeman)
  • Wald, R M, 1984, General Relativity, (Chicago: University Press)

  • Useful Papers

  • Schutz, B F, Gravitational Waves on the back of an envelope, Am. J. Phys. 52, 412 (1984).


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