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A good grad-level intorduction to general relativity

  1. Mar 19, 2012 #1
    Hi there,

    I am wondering if anyone might be ablet to suggest a good book to give me a working knowledge of general relativity. I have already sat a "relativity and cosmology" undergraduate module but I find that I am still unable to understand papers on gravity. I would like something that is quite easy to get into but yet can provide enough rigour to help me to understand, a kind of "general relativity for dummies" type book.

    I have been through most of the Leonard Susskind lecture series on GR but I would like it spelt out to me.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2012 #2


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    There's always MTW's Gravitation, it's very comprehensive, but it has a "track 1" for beginning students in GR. There's also Wald's General Relativity, which tends to be a lot more terse but also mathematically rigorous. Carroll has a book on GR as well which are arranged from his lecture notes but I haven't really read that one except for his short spiel on Killing vector fields.

    I think a good upper undergrad, lower grad level book is Bernard Schutz's A First Course in General Relativity.
  4. Mar 19, 2012 #3
    There's also 'General Relativity' by I.R. Kenyon, which gives a decent account of the formalism.

    A lower-level book is Edwin Taylor's 'Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity'. It's useful for understanding about the outcomes of the theory but doesn't go into the maths.
  5. Mar 19, 2012 #4
    Carroll is my personal favorite. Wald will probably be of little use to a beginner. Schutz with Hartle as a supplement were how I myself got started. Schutz has an excellent intro to tensors, and especially the stress-energy tensor. Hartle goes over some topics that Schutz leaves out, like the extremal aging principle and a few others.
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