HPS 2534      General Relativity and Gravitation        Fall 2007

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Access this site at http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/GR&Grav_2007

This seminar will survey foundations issues in classical general relativity theory (including the causal structure of spacetime; the initial value problem, the "hole argument", and the status of general covariance; and spacetime singularities) and in general relativistic cosmology (including the "horizon problem" and the genesis of inflationary cosmology; accelerating expansion and "dark energy"; and the multiverse and anthropic selection). Well--that is a first approximation. Topics covered will shrink and grow under pressures from time and interest.

John Earman, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Room 1017CL, 412 624 5885 jearman@pitt.edu
John D. Norton, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Room 817 CL, 412 624 1051 jdnorton@pitt.edu
Room G28 CL
Thursday 9:30-12:00 noon

Your Part

Term paper
To be submitted by noon, Friday 14th December in 1017CL.
To be submitted in hard copy (two copies) by noon Friday December 21 in 1017CL; or e-versions in email to the two Johns by 5pm.

Our policy is NOT to issue incomplete grades, excepting in extraordinary circumstances. We really do want your papers completed and submitted by the end of term. We do not want them to linger on like an overdue dental checkup, filling your lives with unnecessary worry and guilt.

In return for the rigidity of the deadline, the seminar will not meet in the final week of term (Thursday December 13) to give you extra time to complete the paper.

The paper may be on any subject of relevance to the seminar. While much of the seminar will be devoted to fairly technical issues in general relativity and gravitation, we want to encourage graduate students with less technical backgrounds in the seminar. So we will be liberal in the range of topics admissible for the term paper. For example there is an important literature connecting the early emergence of general relativity with new movements in philosophy of science in 1910s and 1920s.

To assist you in commencing work, we ask you submit a paper proposal to us by Thursday 15th November. The proposal need only be brief. It should contain a short paragraph describing the topic to be investigated and give a brief indication of the sources you intend to use. Do talk to us about possible topics in advance!

Take your turn presenting material
The seminar will be structured around weekly readings drawn from this list.

Attendance and participation
We look forward to seeing and hearing you each week in the seminar.