Summer School 2021

Understanding gravity


Rob Louw, retired senior executive      

The course will discuss the important aspects of gravity. Beginning with Isaac Newton’s story of the apple, the course progresses to free fall, inertia and tides. This moves on to Einstein’s understanding of forces and fields and how gravity affects light and time. It then explores the four dimensional geometry of space-time and how this geometry is distorted by gravity, which results in light being bent. The bending of light gives rise to interesting phenomena such as gravitational lensing.

Each Monday morning lecture will cover the material in brief. More detailed explanations will be supplied in a series of twelve videos by Professor Benjamin Schumacher of Kenyon College which will be streamed for viewing Monday to Thursday from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm. The Zoom links to both the lectures and the streamed videos will be sent to registered participants.

This course will be delivered via Zoom meetings.



1. Early attempts at understanding gravity

2. From orbits to curved space-time

3. From cosmic inflation to dark energy


Recommended reading

Schumacher, B. Black Holes, Tides and curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity. Chantilly, Vrginia: The Great Courses T.L.L.Plus.


Date: Monday 11, Monday 18, and Monday January 25
Time: 11.15 am