Physics 4501/6 - Course Information 2020/2021

Professor : Dwight Vincent

Office : Online via Zoom Conference Call / NORMAL Office 2L29

Office Hours : To ask questions and get course information contact me by email:

If you wish to have a person to person chat, request to see me online using Zoom. I am open to meeting most normal times of the day, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can also chat with me around the usual Zoom class time (before or after).

You can leave a message on my UW office phone me anytime at the number 786-9715 for help on assignments or other course work. Let the phone ring more than 4 times and then you can leave a message. I will try to phone back if you need me to.


Course Access Information: Online classes occur on Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30PM to 3:45PM. To take part in this course, for attending the lectures, for interacting with the professor, and for doing the tests and exams, -- you will need a way to access the Internet. You will be expected to use a webcam and microphone, preferably managed using a computer, although a smartphone or tablet may be used in circumstances where you cannot access a computer. A Zoom link will be emailed to you before the course starts and at any time that the access password has to change.

The General Relativity course website, which has important course related information can be found at:

Occasionally, you may have to access material on the online learning system Nexus which is available here: Check that you can logon to the area for this course on Nexus with your ID and password.


Tests : There will be two term tests ( T1 and T2 ) each lasting two hours, one in early January, and one after, probably in early March. I will most likely schedule these tests out of the normal course time slot. The time will be determined by vote in the class as to the most convenient time for everyone. Weekend days are a possibility for such tests. I will be very accommodating to your constraints and choose the best possible time for everyone. Note : No matter what the excuse, there will be no make-up tests after T1 or T2 , since, as described below, you are getting three chances at the term test mark.


Assignments : Expect assignments about every two weeks. Late penalties may be given for overly late assignment work. Overly late here implies a duration > 3 days.


Required Textbook : Introducing Einstein’s Relativity by Ray d’Inverno

(Any version: Oxford Univ Press)


You are expected to read the material in the textbook along with the material covered in class. Material will also be handed out to students, or provided on the General Relativity website. The program MAPLE may be used with its native tensor package and the addon GRTensor symbolic algebra package available for free from Queens University. You may be required to purchase the student version of this software from the company Maplesoft.


You will find the following book useful for learning the basics with respect to tensors: Tensor Calculus (Schaum’s Outline) by David Kay




Topics To Be Covered :


Preliminary General Relativity Ideas

Tensor Calculus

The Einstein Equations In Free Space

The Einstein Equations With Matter Present



Note: This is a mathematically intense course. You will be expected to already know well the mathematics of multivariable calculus, linear algebra, vector calculus and differential equations. Completion of the two courses Mathematical Physics I and Mathematical Physics II should be sufficient for starting the course.


Mark Distribution :

Term Test Mark = MAXIMUM [T1 , T2 , (FE)] = 30%

Assignments = 30%

Final Exam (FE) = 40%

Tests and the final exam will be conducted through email delivery of documents to me and from me. Also expect the use of Zoom with an active webcam. There will be strict timed limits on completion of these assessments. In doing the tests or the exam you are not permitted to communicate with another person for help, or to give help, during the duration of the assessment.

The Final Exam will occur in April on a date to be announced.


Grading System: Below are the guidelines for conversion from numerical (percentage) grades to letter grades. The finals grades are approved by the Department Review Committee.

A+ 95-100 ; A 87-94 ; A- 80-86 ; B+ 74-79 ; B 67-73 ; C+ 61-66 ;

C 53-60 ; D 50-52 ; F 0-49


Important Dates:


Sept. 8 Dec. 7, 2020 (Fall)

Fall Course Lectures

Oct. 11 -- 17, 2020

Fall Term Reading Week: (No classes)

Wed. Nov. 11, 2020

No classes Remembrance day

Dec. 24, 2020 to Jan. 4, 2021

December Holiday

Jan. 6 to April 6, 2021 (Winter)

Winter Course lectures

Feb. 14 to 20, 2021

Winter Term Reading Week (No classes)

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021

Voluntarily Withdrawal Date

April 2, 2020

Good Friday Holiday

To be announced

Final Exam

For all dates, see


Teaching Outcomes:

You will learn the theory of the gravitational field using Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.


Specifically you will learn and be able to do calculations with: both Cartesian and non-Cartesian tensors, Riemannian and pseudo-Riemannian geometry, relativistic astrophysics and early universe cosmology.






Academic Integrity


You are expected to take Academic Integrity very seriously and be mindful of your own activities and the requests/offers you may receive from others.

In addition to the guidelines in the Academic Calendar (Section 8 a), for all assessment items in this course, the followings are considered cheating and plagiarism:

  1. Copying from another student’s work and submitting them as your own
  2. Consulting or copying from any unauthorized sources, including, but not limited to,, internet, online calculators and graphing tools, assignments or tests/exams from previous years or from other courses, solutions provided by a third party (purchasing or otherwise)
  3. Asking questions from another student or any other person during the exams and tests
  4. Using any unauthorized sources during the tests and exams
  5. Soliciting and obtaining solutions to the assignments, tests, and exams via any means of communication (e.g., e-mail, text, phone call, social media chats, etc)

It is your responsibility to know the policies, guidelines, and be aware of procedures of Academic Misconduct. Anybody involved in the process is considered aiding and abetting in plagiarism and could be charged with Academic Misconduct. For more information, please see the Academic Calendar, Regulations and Policies, Section 8a.


Important Information


  1. A permitted or necessary change in mode of delivery may require adjustments to important aspects of this course outline, like class schedule and the number, nature, and weighting of assignments and/or exams.


  1. Students can find answers to frequently ask questions (FAQ) related to remote learning here:


  1. When it is necessary to cancel a class due to exceptional circumstances, every effort will be made to inform students via UWinnipeg email, or on Nexus, via Course News.


  1. Students have the responsibility to regularly check their UWinnipeg e-mail addresses to ensure timely receipt of correspondence from the University and/or their course instructors. span>


  1. Please note that withdrawing before the VW date (Feb. 23, 2021) does not necessarily result in a fee refund. A minimum of 20% of the work on which the final grade is based will be evaluated and available to the student before the voluntary withdrawal date. I encourage you to contact me before withdrawing in case I can help in any way.


  1. Regulations, Policies, and Academic Integrity. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Regulations and Policies found in the University Academic Calendar at: Particular attention should be given to subsections 8 (Student Discipline), 9 (Senate Appeals), and 10 (Grade Appeals).


Please note the importance of maintaining academic integrity, and the potential consequences of engaging in plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic misconduct.


Even unintentional plagiarism, as described in the UW Library video tutorial Avoiding Plagiarism ( is a form of academic misconduct.


Similarly, uploading essays and other assignments to essay vendor or trader sites (filesharing sites that are known providers of essays for use by others who submit them to instructors as their own work) is a form of misconduct, as it involves aiding and abetting plagiarism. More detailed information can be found here:

Academic Misconduct Policy and Procedures: and


  1. Respectful Learning Environment. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful manner on campus and in the learning environment irrespective of platform being used. Behaviour, communication, or acts that are inconsistent with a number of UW policies (e.g. Respectful Working and Learning Environment Policy, Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy could be considered non-academic misconduct. More detailed information can be found here:

Non-Academic Misconduct Policy and Procedures: and



  1. Copyright and Intellectual Property. Course materials are the property of the instructor who developed them. Examples of such materials are course outlines, assignment descriptions, lecture notes, test questions, and presentation slidesirrespective of format. Students who upload these materials to filesharing sites, or in any other way share these materials with others outside the class without prior permission of the instructor/presenter, are in violation of copyright law and University policy.


Students must also seek prior permission of the instructor/presenter before, for example, photographing, recording, or taking screenshots of slides, presentations, lectures, and notes on the board (or computer). Students found to be in violation of an instructors intellectual property rights could face serious consequences pursuant to the Academic Misconduct or Non-Academic Misconduct Policy.


  1. Privacy. Students are reminded to know their rights in relation to the collecting of personal data by the University (, especially if Zoom is being used for remote teaching ( and testing/proctoring (


  1. Research Ethics. Students conducting research interviews, focus groups, surveys, or any other method of collecting data from any person, including a family member, must obtain research ethics approval before commencing data collection. Exceptions are research activities done in class as a learning exercise. For submission requirements and deadlines, see


  1. Religious Holidays: Students may choose not to attend classes or write examinations on holy days of their religion, but they must notify their instructors at least two weeks in advance. Instructors will then provide opportunity for students to make up work or examinations without penalty. A list of religious holidays can be found in the 2020-21 Undergraduate Academic Calendar.


  1. Service for Students with Disabilities: Students with documented disabilities, temporary or chronic medical conditions, requiring academic accommodations for tests/exams or during lectures/laboratories are encouraged to contact Accessibility Services (AS) at 204.786.9771 or to discuss appropriate options. All information about a student’s disability or medical condition remains confidential.