Gravitational Lensing

PHY-765, Summer Semester, Potsdam University, 2019

On this page you’ll find information about the course on Graviational Lensing (PHY-765) at Potsdam University, summer semester 2019.

If you are interested in the course, please fill out this short google questionnaire. This will help for preparing and focusing the lectures and seminars througout the semester.

Page Content

Course Description

Gravitational Lensing

The theory of gravitational lensing (GL) is one of the three fundamental observational consequences of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. GL describes how rays of light are bend by massive astronomical objects like stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters. This results in magnification and potentially in multiple images of lensed sources.

The unique consequences of GL have been instrumental and of growing importance in modern astronomy. Laying out the theoretical framework of GL, and through seminar sessions developing and strengthening the student’s “astronomer skill set”, this course will focus on recent studies enabled by GL and explore scientific applications, where GL plays a crucial role. These include galaxy (cluster) mass determination, study of low-mass galaxies in the early Universe, determining the expansion rate of the Universe, and detecting planets around other stars.

The weekly seminars will focus on developing “astronomer skill sets”, which will introduce and explore tasks and tools used on a daily to weekly basis by most astronomers. This includes text review, problem solving, scientific outreach preparation, presentation skills, etc.

Hence, this course provides a broad overview of gravitaional lensing from both the observational and theoretical side, and help develop personal skills for general use in astronomy.

Basic Info

Course: Gravitational lensing - Summer Semester 2019 PHY-765

Location: Golm, physics building, 2nd floor, room 011 (

Time: Wednesdays 08:00 - 10:00 (45min. lecture & 45min. seminar)

Contact: kbschmidt at

Course Plan

The course plan and overview

Lecture Slides

Slides week 1

Slides week 2

Slides week 3

Slides week 4 - May 1st (holiday; no lecture - compensated by longer lectures the rest of the semester)

Slides week 5

Slides week 6

Slides week 7

Slides week 8

Slides week 9

Slides week 10

Slides week 11

Slides week 12

Slides week 13

Slides week 14

Slides week 15

Seminar Worksheets

Worksheet week 1

Worksheet week 2

Worksheet week 3

Worksheet week 4 - May 1st (holiday; no lecture - compensated by longer lectures the rest of the semester)

Worksheet week 5

Worksheet week 6

Worksheet week 7

Worksheet week 8

Worksheet week 9

Worksheet week 10

Worksheet week 11

Worksheet week 12

Worksheet week 13

Worksheet week 14

Worksheet week 15


The course is part of the PHY-765 module, where the student’s are free to take the exam in any of the module courses. The exam format of the Gravtiational Lensing course is:

“45 min. oral examination: 20 min presentation w. topics known in advance + Q&A.”

The details of the exam are described in Exam Info and Format.