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Books on General Relativity (highschool just completed)

  1. Mar 23, 2015 #1
    Guys , i have just completed my high school (4 days back) and know just the basic maths and physics (only what was taught in school).I have a great interest in physics and want to become a researcher.I am free for 3-4 months (after which i will join a college for majors in physics) and in that time i want to master the general and special theory of relativity.

    I have searched a hell lot on books on net and found some common books like Carroll- Spacetime and Geometry, Schutz - a first course in relativity but i found them a bit mathematical.

    I want you to recommend me books for self study taking me from the basics to the advanced mathematics which would then enable me to read and understand the complex mathematical/physical books on GR and SR like that of wald's.

    I know it might take time but i want to start now.

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2015 #2


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    While I congratulate you on your enthusiasm, I do think you should settle for maybe trying to master special relativity and leave GR for later.
    GR is worlds away from SR in terms of complexity. You don't need much more than high school-level maths to get your head around SR, while GR is taught on the graduate level - and not without a reason.

    To get up to speed with maths required for most introductory and quite a lot of advanced university-level physics books, on relativity or otherwise, grab Mary L. Boas' 'Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences'. It gives you all the tools and tells you how to use them, but skips over where they come from, so to speak.
  4. Mar 23, 2015 #3


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    There is one brillant book which is precisely written for someone in your situation:

    M. Born, Einstein's Theory of Relativity

    It does not spare the math but uses only high-school math (or at least what was standard in the 1920ies when the book was written). The history behind this book is also quite remarkable: At the time, Born was physics professor at the University of Frankfurt (which was founded in 1914 and thus a very young university). At this time there was a hyperinflation, invalidating the money such that the physics institute had big problems to keep up work there. Thus Born donated the royalties of this first popular book on the Theory of Relativity (not only the general but also the special theory, which you necessarily have to understand anyway before you can move on with the general theory) to keep the institute running.
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