Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session 
Recitations: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session


8.033 Relativity, or 8.20 Introduction to Special Relativity.


Weekly meetings include an evening seminar and recitation. The last third of the semester is reserved for collaborative research projects on topics such as the Global Positioning System, solar system tests of relativity, descending into a black hole, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves, Gravity Probe B, and more advanced models of the Cosmos.


The two texts for this class are:

Taylor, Edwin F., and John Archibald Wheeler.Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity. Addison Wesley Longman, 2000, ISBN 9780201384239. Called “EBH” in all assignments. NOTE: You should have the fifth printing; the first number in the very bottom line of the Acknowledgments page (behind the title page) should be a 5.

Thorne, Kip. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy. W. W. Norton, 1995, ISBN 9780393312768. Called “Thorne” in all assignments.


There is a weekly homework assignment due at the end of each week.

Grade Policy

Activities Percentages
Homework 25%
Mid-term examination 30%
Final project 35%
Meeting intermediate deadlines for projects 5%
Recitation quiz grades, participation in recitation and online discussions 5%

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

theaters Lecture Videos
grading Exams
assignment Problem Sets