American Association of Physics Teachers  

 James Hartle's TALK  The Case for GR for Undergrads

from the AAPT Topical Workshop:
Teaching General Relativity to Undergraduates
Syracuse University, July 20-21, 2006

James Hartle

Five web pages summarize Hartle's talk. Click on the indicated subject to go to those pages.

pg. 1 the case for GR for undergrads

pg. 2 two ways to present GR: logical order, physics first

pg. 3 advantages of physics first;

Some flow charts show the order in which to develop background, tools, and concepts needed to teach about:
  1. Gravitational Waves
  2. Black Holes  and

pg. 4
  3. Cosmology
and should you use frames or not.

pg. 5 concludes with important considerations to have a successful course:




Hartle began by offering three major reasons for teaching general relativity to undergraduates. The essence of his argument: GR  is a major foundational theory of contemporary physics.

He presented a list of textbooks suitable for undergraduates to show that there is an extensive pedagogy for teaching of GR.  The list is also a useful guide for anyone thinking of teaching a GR course.  As further evidence that the teaching GR to undergraduates is spreading, he showed a list of colleges and universities that have adopted his book


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