ASTR 2030

Black Holes


Black Holes and Time Warps (Kip S. Thorne)

LECTURE NOTES (from previous edition of the class)

Lecture 1: Introduction and overview
Lecture 2: Newton, gravity, and dark stars
Lecture 3: Simultaneity and time dilation
Lecture 4: Twin paradox
Lecture 5: Mass-energy equivalence
Lecture 6: Foundations of general relativity
Lecture 7: Gravitational redshift
Lecture 8: Spacetime curvature
Lecture 9: Stars and their fates
Lecture 10: Chandrasekhar limit
Lecture 11: Neutron stars
Lecture 12: The binary pulsar
Lecture 13: Stellar mass black holes
Lecture 14: Binary evolution
Lecture 15: Accretion disks
Lecture 16: The Galactic Center
Lecture 17: Galactic Center accretion
Special lecture: New evidence for inflation
Lecture 18: Active galaxies
Lecture 19: Gamma-ray bursts (textbook Ch 7)
Lecture 20: Black holes and their galaxies
Lecture 21: Hawking radiation
Lecture 22: Primordial black holes
Lecture 23: Quantum gravity
Lecture 24: Gravitational waves
Lecture 25: Dark matter
Lecture 26: Inside black holes
Lecture 27: Black hole mysteries


The aim of this course, in brief, is to provide an introduction to perhaps the strangest and most mysterious objects in the Universe: black holes. We will try to explain what black holes are, what evidence there is that they really exist, and why they are important astronomical objects. What goes on inside black holes, out of sight, is beyond our established understanding of physics, and we will finish by discussing how black holes may lead us to a deeper understanding of the laws of nature.

Black holes is approved for the A&S Core Curriculum (Natural Sciences) and does not require any CU prerequisites. The subject is deep and (I hope) fascinating, but it relies on concepts of space and time that are very far from our everyday experience. Please ask questions if you get lost! There is no calculus in this class, but we will be using algebra pretty extensively, expecially for the first third of the semester.

Lectures will be at 1pm Monday / Wednesday / Friday. My office is A909 (in the JILA tower) - office hours are Tuesday and Thursday 11am-noon. Policies and further info about the course are set out in the course syllabus (pdf format). Problem sets will be posted here.

The notes at the left are from an earlier edition of this class. There will be some changes, and the notes will be updated accordingly as we go along.

MIDTERMS: will be on Feb 15th and March 18th, in class

FINAL: Wednesday May 4th, 4:30-7:00pm



Philip Armitage
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO80309-0440
Tel: 303-492-7836; FAX: 303-492-5235