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Best book for an understanding

  1. May 22, 2008 #1
    Hello, I am a low level university student, and ever since my Electromagnetism class where we derived the wave equations and my professor gave us a brief sample on what implications they had on the way things are in the world, I've been trying to get a true understanding of the topic of relativity. I have picked up "Brief History of Time" and it was great, it showed the effects of everything but did not do such a good job in my opinion in explaining why. Now I know this might be a case of my brain needing that one special example to get it to click or it might need a complicated derivation of some kind. What I would like help on is finding a book that can give me an understanding of the topic, not just be able to predict its effects.

    edit: i have done some looking on the internet, but I find that I cannot read extensive things off a computer screen, however printing something out to read would be a possibility.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
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  3. May 22, 2008 #2

    George Jones

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  4. May 22, 2008 #3

    robphy

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    Texag,
    Schutz's A First Course in General Relativity might be useful... and it is used by Fulling ( http://www.math.tamu.edu/~fulling/ ), who seems to be local to you [based on your earlier posts and your username]. Fulling also makes reference to some notes that available at your bookstore.

    I'd also suggest
    which emphasize geometric reasoning with spacetime diagrams.
     
  5. May 22, 2008 #4
    I went out earlier and got "Demystifying relativity" from a B&N, and I am having to detour and learn the operators used, since the physics classes I took only used the integral form of maxwell's equations. Thanks for the suggestions, I think I might have to check out the Schutz, since I'm considering a physics minor or major at A&M.
     
  6. May 24, 2008 #5
    If you mean Relativity Demystified by David McMahon and Paul M. Alsing, I think that's a rather shallow book, more like a set of notes. I second the recommendation of Hartle for GR, though for SR I still think working through the problems in the first red paperback edition of Spacetime Physics is the best way to get a solid grounding. Rindler's books are also very good and go further with 4-vectors, though his coverage of GR is probably too eccentric for a general recommendation. Then if you want a little more of the math of SR after that, read the 2 SR chapters in Jackson.
     
  7. May 25, 2008 #6
    Yes, its the one by McMahon. I read through the first chapter, and after I noticed a few mistakes (he switched current density and charge density at one point) I am deciding to try to return the book, also It only had a small review on SR, which I have yet to grasp. I will be returning to the store today with your recommendation in mind to see what I can find. Thanks.
     
  8. May 25, 2008 #7
    Note that the red (or maroon as Robphy sees it) paperback 1st edition of Spacetime Physics is preferable to the second edition. It includes all the solutions for one thing, and the second edition dropped the use of rapidity for some supposed pedagogical reason.
     
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