Spotlight on UCI Open Education

This week, UCI OpenCourseWare features Professor Herbert Hamber's Einstein's General Relativity and Gravity

Prof. Herbert Hamber teaching Einstein's General Relativity and Gravity at the University of California, Irvine

Why it's important: Einstein's relativistic theory of gravity describes physics from the largest scales (the Universe) to the smallest scales (the Big Bang). It predicts unique astrophysical phenomena such as black holes, gravitational lensing and the existence of gravitational waves. In addition, general relativistic effects nowadays include the slowing down of clocks in a gravitational field, which is relevant for the synchronization of gps systems.

On the small scale frontier, gravity participates as one of the four fundamental forces in nature, mediated by a spin two massless particle (the graviton). In Einstein.s vision, all of the above effects are universally due to curvature of a space-time continuum, caused locally by the presence of mass. One of the great problems of twenty-first century physics is the development of a quantum theory of gravity and the unification of gravity with the remaining three fundamental forces.

Associated research: Professor Hamber's research area is in theoretical physics, focusing on quantum field theory, particle physics, gravity and quantum cosmology. You can find more about his research at these websites: or

Watch: View the full class in its UCIrvineOCW YouTube playlist below:

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