University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Mathematical Astrophysics

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy

DESCRIPTION Students will be given an introduction to gravitational theory in terms of Einstein's theory of general relativity. This will include an exploration into the foundations of general relativity which will include tensor analysis and a derivation of the field equations.

Using this background simple solutions will be presented. The study-unit will close on an investigation of the standard tests followed by an introduction into neutron stars and their equations of state.

Study-unit Aims:

The main target of the study-unit is to give students an appreciation of the complexity of the standard theory of gravity. Ideally students will be able to make calculations for predictions of general relativity as well as a number of other theories of gravity. This means that the study-unit will have to work in cooperation with the Mathematics and Statistics for Astroinformatics study-unit. At the very least this study-unit will introduce students to the theoretical foundations of their project titles.

In practice the study-unit will provide a more holistic view of the physics side of astroinformatics. This will take advantage of the mathematics already covered in the programme while bridging the gap toward the expected knowledge outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will:
- Have a critical understanding of the general theory of relativity;
- Have knowledge of the way general relativity is constructed, i.e. its derivation from basic principles;
- Have knowledge of the standard tests of general relativity;
- Know how to apply general relativity to gravitational systems;
- Have a critical understanding how modified gravitational theories are constructed.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to find standard solutions of general relativity;
- Demonstrate the ability to make predictions using the theory;
- Work out some elements of numerical relativity such as the gravitational wave emission of simple sources;
- Work out the theoretical parts of numerical relativity projects.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology, Robert J. A. Lambourne (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
- The State of the Universe, Pedro G. Ferreira, Phoenix.
- Numerical Relativity: Solving Einstein's Equations on the Computer, Thomas W. Baumgarte, Stuart L. Shapiro (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Project Yes 20%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Jackson Said

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
Members of ISSA join the KiDS Consortium
Members of ISSA, in collaboration with the Department of Physics, has recently joined the KiDS Consortium
University of Malta Awarded Title: 'CUDA Research Center'
The Institute of Space Science and Astronomy (ISSA), in collaboration with the University of Malta’s Department of Physics and the Faculty of Information and Communications Technology, announces that the University of Malta has been awarded the title of 'CUDA Research Center' by NVIDIA.

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