Advanced Theoretical Physics: a book on SR & GR for Undergrad Students?

In summary, the book covers relativity in a brief and to-the-point way. It is not meant to be a resource for someone who wants to learn the subject in depth, but rather for someone who wants to brush up on the basics.
  • #1
Hamiltonian
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I recently came across a book called advanced theoretical physics -nick lucid. chap6 covers tensors and chap 7&8 cover SR&GR. I have studied a bit of SR before but never GR. At this point in life I don't want to read huge books on the subject. this book covers relativity entirely in three relatively small chapters. Does the book rush through these chapters? or does it require a prior introduction to it? the preface states its meant for undergrad students and that "this book is not intended for anyone without at least some background in basic calculus and introductory physics."
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  • #2
In general, I've found that no one book can give you true mastery of any subject with GR being no exception. It can take a long time to master GR solving as many problems as you can to gain insight into how it works. Basically you need to understand the concepts behind Differential Geometry to get a feeling for the special geometry of GR.
 
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  • #3
What's your learning goal, concretely?

To add to Jedishfru: different books give different perspectives and emphases. I only know Lucid's YT channel, and that's really good and great fun.

And fun is often underrated in physics textbooks.
 
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haushofer said:
What's your learning goal, concretely?
I just want to have a taste of relativity before entering uni next year, so there is a bit of a time crunch! that's why I am not following the more conventional books and resources to go about learning the subject.
 
  • #6
Ok. I don't know Lucid's book, but Schutz's From the ground up is excellent, right in between high school and university level.
 
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  • #8
Hamiltonian299792458 said:
I just want to have a taste of relativity before entering uni next year, so there is a bit of a time crunch! that's why I am not following the more conventional books and resources to go about learning the subject.
If you are just graduating high school, I'd concentrate on what you'd see in the first couple of years of university, not what you'd see in an advanced 4th year or graduate school. You got a long way to go.
 
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Hamiltonian299792458 said:
I recently came across a book called advanced theoretical physics -nick lucid. chap6 covers tensors and chap 7&8 cover SR&GR. I have studied a bit of SR before but never GR. At this point in life I don't want to read huge books on the subject. this book covers relativity entirely in three relatively small chapters. Does the book rush through these chapters? or does it require a prior introduction to it? the preface states its meant for undergrad students and that "this book is not intended for anyone without at least some background in basic calculus and introductory physics."
Judging from the sample posted on Gumroad, I'd think you'd find this book relatively terse if you haven't seen these topics before. It would be good for review, for refreshing your memory on a topic, or clarifying notions in your mind, but I don't think it would be a good resource on its own to learn SR or GR from. There's a reason why people have written entire books on each topic.
 
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Related to Advanced Theoretical Physics: a book on SR & GR for Undergrad Students?

1. What is the difference between Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR)?

Special Relativity is a theory of space and time developed by Albert Einstein that describes the laws of physics in inertial (non-accelerating) frames of reference. It is based on the principle of the constancy of the speed of light and explains phenomena such as time dilation and length contraction. General Relativity, on the other hand, is a theory of gravity that describes the effects of gravity on the curvature of space and time. It is a more comprehensive theory that includes the principles of Special Relativity and extends them to non-inertial (accelerating) frames of reference.

2. What are some real-life applications of Special Relativity and General Relativity?

Special Relativity has been verified through numerous experiments and is used in various technologies such as GPS systems and particle accelerators. General Relativity has been confirmed by observations of gravitational lensing, the precession of Mercury's orbit, and the detection of gravitational waves. It is also used in astrophysics to explain the behavior of celestial objects such as black holes and the expansion of the universe.

3. How does General Relativity explain the concept of spacetime?

General Relativity describes spacetime as a four-dimensional manifold that is curved by the presence of matter and energy. This curvature is what we experience as gravity. The theory also explains how the curvature of spacetime affects the motion of objects and the flow of time.

4. What are some key equations in Special Relativity and General Relativity?

In Special Relativity, the most famous equation is E=mc^2, which relates mass and energy. Other important equations include the Lorentz transformation equations, which describe how space and time measurements change between different reference frames. In General Relativity, the Einstein field equations are the fundamental equations that relate the curvature of spacetime to the distribution of matter and energy.

5. Is it possible to understand Special Relativity and General Relativity without a strong background in mathematics?

While some of the concepts in SR and GR can be understood intuitively, a strong understanding of mathematics is necessary to fully grasp the theories. The mathematics involved includes calculus, differential geometry, and tensor analysis. However, there are resources available that explain the theories in simpler terms for those without a strong mathematical background.

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