A New Group

The new semester is underway and it’s off to a good start. I’m teaching the upper division class that I designed some years ago on General Relativity and got put on the course catalog here at USC. My thought back then was that since we are graduating streadily increasing numbers of talented physics students, many of whom are now going to the top graduate schools around the country, we really should have an opportunity for them to learn in depth about general relativity before they graduate. My thinking was also that it affords them the opportunity to not only learn about one of the most beautiful and important discoveries (almost 100 years old now) about our Universe, but also to learn skills and ways of thinking about physics and calculational techniques that they do not necessarily see in other classes. For many students it will be one of the last classes they take in physics as an undergraduate, and so they leave on a mind-expanding high note, off into the world to do wonderful things with their knowledge. For others who may take it the year before they graduate (or possibly even a year earlier) it may inspire them in their growing love and appreciation for all of physics in their remaining undergraduate years, maybe even help them decide to go to graduate school. More about all this here.

So anyway here we are. I’m happy to say that once again the group of students is great. There is huge enthusiasm and ability, and I think I am also lucky that they are bringing a great sense of cameraderie into the classroom that will mean that we will have fun exploring the material together as a group. I try to run my classes somewhat interactively and so I am pleased about this aspect.

Looking forward to a fun semester!


P.S. You can read blog posts about this class and other classes (topics like electromagnetism and general relativity) from previous years by using the search engine. (See also the list below.)

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2 Responses to A New Group

  1. Anonymous Snowboarder says:

    C – you should consider putting one of your classes up on Coursera or EdX.

  2. Clifford says:

    Hi! Thanks for the comment. That’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think the way I do my classes right now would work so well for that. I would not want my students to feel that they could not get involved in trying to do a computation I am leading them through for fear of getting it wrong in front of millions of viewers arbitrarily far into the future…