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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Completing John Wheeler's Vision: Undergraduate General Relativity
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Monday, Aug.1
  Time: 1:00 PM -1:30 PM
  Author: Edwin Taylor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: John Archibald Wheeler was a radical conservative: Take the laws of physics seriously, then drive them to their limits. He drove general relativity to its limits with the black hole, our "little jugged apocalypse." Wheeler's Rules of Writing include "Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!" For undergraduate general relativity this means (1) Describe curved spacetime with the metric instead of the field equations, which reduces required mathematics to simple calculus. (2) Command the moving stone to obey the Principle of Maximal Aging, a simple extension of the Twin "Paradox." A second edition of Exploring Black Holes with cosmologist Edmund Bertschinger treats the wealth of recent cosmological observations and repairs the first edition's neglect of the dark side of General Covariance: We can choose global coordinates with (almost) complete freedom, so they need have no direct relation to physical measurements and observations.
  Footnotes: None
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