This page contains copies of the class handouts, and other items of interest to the Physics 171 class. This course is being offered during the 2014 fall quarter at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Letter grades are based on the cumulative course average, which
is weighted according to:
homework (5 problem sets)40%;
midterm exam25%; and
the final exam35%. This cumulative course average is then
converted into a letter grade according to the following
approximate numerical ranges:
A+ (92.5100); A (87.592.5); A (82.587.5); B+ (77.582.5); B (72.577.5);
B (67.572.5); C+ (62.567.5); C(57.562.5); D(52.557.5); F (052.5).
Here is the statistical summary of the distribution of
the cumulative course averages:
mean: 74.2
median: 73.2
standard deviation: 9.7
high: 95.3
low : 41.2
Students who did not take the final exam are not included in this
statistical summary, but are included in the histogram.
Revised solutions to final exam have been posted to Section IV of this website. Please note that the original solutions omitted some key steps in arriving at the solution to problem 1. This has now been rectified. I also took the opportunity to clean up some notational issues in the solution to problem 2. I also simplified the presentation of the solution to problem 3(b).
Here are the relevant final exam statistics.
A histogram of the test scores is shown below:
Horizontal axis labels correspond to the midpoint value of a bin,
which is 10 points wide.
Here is the final exam statistical summary:
exam mean: 60.2
exam median: 64.5
standard deviation: 17.8
highest grade: 86
lowest grade: 25
You can pick up your graded final exams in my office starting on Thursday December 18 after the SCIPP Holiday lunch.
A handout entitled The Cosmological Constant Problem describes the worst prediction in the history of physics. I discussed this briefly in class, and I have now written it up as a little parting gift for the holidays. It has also been posted to Section V of this website.
If you want to learn more about the twin paradox in a Schwarzschild geometry, check out the last entry in Section VIII of this website.
A typographical error that appeared multiple times in the solution to
problem 1 of Problem Set 5 has been corrected (replace r/r_{s}
with r_{s}/r), and has been reposted to Section
IV of this website.
The General Information and Syllabus handout is available
in either PDF or Postscript format
[PDF  Postscript]
Some of the information in this handout is reproduced here.
General Information  

Instructor  Howard Haber  
Office  ISB 326  
Phone  4594228  
Office Hours  Mondays and Thursdays, 23 pm  
haber@scipp.ucsc.edu  
webpage  scipp.ucsc.edu/~haber/  
Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1011:45 pm, Nat. Sci. Annex 103
Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology, by Robert J.A. Lambourne (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
40% regular problem sets
25% Midterm Exam (takehome exam November 1314, 2014)
35% Final Exam (Monday December 15, 2014, 123 pm)
Problem sets will be handed out on a regular basis. The homework problem sets are not optional. You are encouraged to discuss the class material and homework problems with your classmates and to work in groups, but all submitted problems should represent your own work and understanding.
The final exam will be held in Nat. Sci. Annex 103 and will cover the complete course material. You must take the final exam to pass the course.
The course outline is available in either PDF or Postscript format
[PDF
 Postscript]
Problem sets and exams are available in either PDF or Postscript formats
The problem set solutions are available in either PDF or Postscript formats.
1. THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN GENERAL RELATIVITY AND EXPERIMENT.
By Clifford M. Will (Florida U.). Mar 28, 2014. 113pp.
Published in Living Rev.Rel. 17 (2014) 4
DOI: 10.12942/lrr20144
ePrint: arXiv:1403.7377
[grqc]  PDF (arXiv
version) PDF
(Journal version)
2. A handout entitled The velocity and momentum fourvectors examines the properties of the velocity and momentum fourvectors of special relativity, and provides a careful derivation of the relativistic law of addition of velocities. In addition, an appendix provides a derivation of the most general Lorentz boost matrix. [PDF  Postscript].
3. A handout entitled The
Cosmological Constant Problem describes the worst prediction in
the history of physics. The predicted value of the vacuum energy
density (due to quantum fluctuations)
is a factor of 10
4. ASTROPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY REVIEWS from the Particle Data Group.
Astrophysical constants and parameters  (2 pages)  
Experimental tests of gravitational theory  (13 pages)  
Big Bang cosmology  (33 pages)  
Cosmological parameters  (21 pages)  
Dark matter  (21 pages)  
Dark energy  (19 pages)  
Cosmic background radiation  (24 pages) 
A free textbook entitled Introduction to Tensor Calculus and Continuum Mechanics by John H. Heinbockel is available via the links below. Check it out if you would like more practice in using tensors and manipulating indices.
The above files are zip files that should be unzipped on a Windows based PC. You should be warned that I have not succeeded in printing out any of the above files obtained after unzipping (although they can be viewed successfully with acrobat reader or ghostview). For your convenience, each chapter of the book appears separately as a pdf and a postscript file below. I made the pdf files from the postscript (rather than use bookpdf.zip) and I was able to print out the resulting pdf files.
Part 1 contains the book cover, preface and a table of contents. Parts 25 cover topics of tensor algebra and calculus and Part 6 introduces some differential geometry and applies it to general relativity. Parts 712 cover topics of continuum mechanics. Part 13 is the bibliography and three appendices and Part 14 is the index.
Title, preface and table of contents  

Index Notation  

Tensor Concepts and Transformations  

Special Tensors  

Derivative of a Tensor  

Differential Geometry and Relativity  

Tensor Notation for Vector Quantities  

Dynamics  

Basic Equations of Contiuum Mechanics  

Contiuum Mechanics (Solids)  

Contiuum Mechanics (Fluids)  

Electric and Magnetic Fields  

Bibliography and Three Appendices  

Index  
WARNING! You may receive a printer error if you try to print
the postscript files above. To obtain a hard copy of these chapters,
I recommend printing the pdf files.