25
Mar
05

Physics workshop

During the last week (Mar, 14th-18th) I took part in a physics workshop organized by the Polish Children’s Fund (don’t let the name fool you!) as part of its “educational enrichment and support programme”. The workshop took place at the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Warsaw University.

There were three people in my working group (Marcin Bieda, Marcin Grzybowski and myself) in which we were working on “simulating the effects of large masses within the framework of general relativity” under the guidance of Mikołaj Korzyński.

For me, the workshop was a lot of fun and a source of new knowledge and experiences. The result of our 5-day work is a program that can simulate the optical effects in the vicinity of a massive, sperically symmetric and non-rotating body (we’re using the Schwarzchild metric). At this point, the code needs some clean-ups and possibly some new features as well (support for relativistic aberration and gravitational redshift, rendering directly to a X window, generating animations, etc). As soon as the cleanups are complete, I’ll publish the code in a new science-related section of my devsite. I’ve been planning on creating such a section for quite some time and I guess this program, along with a bunch of other ones, will be a good way of starting it.

The workshop has been my first chance to use general relativity in a practical project. I have been interested in the topic for quite some time before, but I never really got into applying it to anything. Now that I have a program to play with, I hope exploring this subject will be easier and more fun.

I’m currently reading “A First Course in General Relativity” (Bernard F. Schutz), “Gravitation” (Kip S. Thorne, et al) and I’m waiting to get my hands on “Relativistic Astrophysics” (Marek Demiański). If you happen to know any other good textbooks on general relativity, I would be grateful for sharing information about them with me.

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