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Books for the study of General Relativity

  1. Nov 17, 2011 #1
    I am about to start my thesis and I have, let's say, just an introductory course of General Relativity as background and I would like to know which would be a good book as a reference so that I can get a stronger knowledge of General Relativity.

    All this taking into account that I will do my thesis on gravitational waves. Some had suggested me books like:

    Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity-D'Inverno
    Gravitation-Misner,...(I am very tempted to take this my principal reference but I don not know it would be a good idea.)
    Gravitation- Weinberg
    An introductory course ...- Shutz B.F

    Well these are my main options. I am thinking about taking Gravitation-Misner as my first reference and D'Inverno as my second reference. The other ones would be just as complements.

    Any advise is accepted, keep in mind that I am just a beginner on G.R.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2011 #2


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    For comprehensiveness, I don't think you can beat MTW.

    MTW tries for a very geometric approach to GR while D'Inverno is purely index-based. Every definition in D'Inverno's book is something like "the components of _____ transform as...".

    I also hear that because D'Inverno is a mathematician, his writing on physics can be like "nails on the chalkboard" to a physicist. Not that he gets things wrong, but he will make statements like "the (relativistic) mass increases with speed". If you can deal with that, it should be alright, lol.
  4. Nov 17, 2011 #3


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    I suggest using Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler (1973) as your first reference. It is the most comprehensive I've ever seen. As for a book specifically concerning gravitational waves, I suggest a more recent book. Sorry, can't recommend one.
  5. Nov 18, 2011 #4


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    I'm rather partial to MTW's Gravitation, and for a completely different style I'd suggest Wald, which is considerably more terse.

    Schutz I don't really care for much, your mileage may vary.
  6. Nov 18, 2011 #5


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  7. Nov 18, 2011 #6
    So, Which would you recommend for a good understanding? What I am looking for is a book with a very strong physical background. Any suggestion for a book with a very strong physical approach??
  8. Nov 18, 2011 #7
    Could it be comprehensive for a graduated beginner(Like me)?? Or, Should I go to something more modest?
  9. Nov 19, 2011 #8
    If you have a strong Physics background, I'd start with Sean Carroll's Spacetime and Geometry. MTW is just too unfocused for an introduction.
  10. Nov 19, 2011 #9


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    There are, just like for QM and QFT, extremely many books from which to choose. I can say that for the beginning, just to get to the physics behing GR and not overshadow the arguments with tons of tensors and integrals, pick the 2nd volume of Landau and Lifschitz text <Classical field theory>. It won't get you abruptly into the mathematics, for sure. Then, if you need rigor and a wider range of subjects treated, go to R.Wald's book.
  11. Nov 19, 2011 #10
    And for the part of gravitational radiation which would be the best reference??
  12. Nov 19, 2011 #11

    George Jones

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