American Association of Physics Teachers

 Loretta Johnson's POSTER from the AAPT Topical Workshop
Teaching General Relativity to Undergraduates
Held at Syracuse University, July 20-21, 2006

Loretta Johnson

 Experimental results and experimental apparatus are fantastic ways to connect an abstract theory like general relativity with the tangible and physical, with which many students are interested and familiar. However, undergraduate students are likely not prepared to appreciate either results or apparatus without considerable assistance. Some textbooks may provide adequate explication. If the text does not, then either the professor will need to select some experiments to discuss in considerable detail, or the professor may assign learning about an experiment to each student and then allow the students to teach one another. Professors who choose to teach undergraduates about experiments must bear in mind that these students are likely to have surprisingly weak understandings of apparatus and surprisingly little experience and ability to interpret graphs. General relativity courses offer opportunities for faculty to introduce students to diverse apparatus and to enhance studentsí abilities to read and interpret graphs.

 
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Experimental Tests of General Relativity: What students need to know  
(click below on the poster for the full sized pdf version)


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