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Cornell University

Relativity and Astrophysics

Cornell University via edX

This course may be unavailable.


The study of the night sky instilled wonder in our ancestors. Modern astronomy extends the human view to previously unexplored regions of space and time. In this course, you will gain an understanding of these discoveries through a focus on relativity—Einstein's fascinating and non-intuitive description of the physical world. By studying relativity and astronomy together, you will develop physical insight and quantitative skills, and you’ll regain a profound sense of wonder for the universe we call home.


  • What topics will the course cover?
    • Section One—Introduction
    • Section Two—3, 2, 1 … Launching the journey into spacetime
    • Section Three—Special relativity: from light to dark
    • Section Four—General relativity: from flat to curved
  • Is there a required textbook?

    • No textbook is required. Notes will be posted weekly. A list of supplemental resources, including textbooks, will be provided.​​
  • What are the learning outcomes of this course?

    • Explain the meaning and significance of the postulates of special and general relativity.

    • Discuss significant experimental tests of both special and general relativity.

    • Analyze paradoxes in special relativity.

    • Apply appropriate tools for problem solving in special relativity.

    • Describe astrophysical situations where the consequences of relativity qualitatively impact predictions and/or observations.

    • Describe daily situations where relativity makes a difference.

Taught by

David F. Chernoff


3.2 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Relativity and Astrophysics

  • Anonymous
    This course was plagued by errors, poorly worded questions, incorrect graders, and inconvenient delivery. I learned some interesting physics but found the delivery so frustrating that I dropped it after 2 or 3 weeks. I hope they iron out the kinks and offer it again in the future.
  • Maitri Mukesh Sharma
    The videos of this course sounded very fabricated, and in some cases did not make any sense to me. They were also very poorly worded, and sounded like a poem instead of a learning forum. I would not recommend this course to anybody, especially beginners.
  • Anonymous
    Poor content. Homeworks are a copy of the exercises of "Spacetime Physics: Introduction to Special Relativity".
  • Anonymous
    Great! A very interesting course, well explained and exciting.

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