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StenEdeback

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**Summary::**I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

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- Relativity
- Thread starter StenEdeback
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- #1

StenEdeback

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I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

- #2

Frabjous

Gold Member

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Some of the standards

Schutz

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521887054/?tag=pfamazon01-20

d’Inverno

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198596863/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Hartle

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0805386629/?tag=pfamazon01-20

A couple of nonstandard suggestions include

Burke

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486845583/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Faber

https://www.amazon.com/dp/082471749X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

I learned a bunch about gravity from

Schutz

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521455065/?tag=pfamazon01-20

In a similar vein

Taylor and Wheeler

http://www.eftaylor.com/spacetimephysics/

http://www.eftaylor.com/exploringblackholes/

Schutz

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521887054/?tag=pfamazon01-20

d’Inverno

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198596863/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Hartle

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0805386629/?tag=pfamazon01-20

A couple of nonstandard suggestions include

Burke

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486845583/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Faber

https://www.amazon.com/dp/082471749X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

I learned a bunch about gravity from

Schutz

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521455065/?tag=pfamazon01-20

In a similar vein

Taylor and Wheeler

http://www.eftaylor.com/spacetimephysics/

http://www.eftaylor.com/exploringblackholes/

Last edited:

- #3

mpresic3

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You could try this series of lectures from MITSummary::I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

They are on the MIT website as well. They go quite well with Sean Carroll's book - although that is more advanced than Hartle.

- #5

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Here are some newer ones to consider:

Tom Moore - A General Relativity Workbook

http://pages.pomona.edu/~tmoore/grw/

(I didn't get to teach with this because the school bookstore wouldn't get this because it couldn't be "rented".

I chose Hartle instead.)

Andrew Steane - Relativity Made Relatively Easy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/019966286X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

(old lecture notes now published... possibly too advanced for typical undergraduates)

Robert Geroch - General Relativity: 1972 Lecture Notes

http://www.minkowskiinstitute.org/mip/books/geroch-gr.html

(Wald says that Geroch influenced some of his presentations of topics.)

some older ones:

Ellis & Williams - Flat and Curved Space-Times

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198506562/?tag=pfamazon01-20

N.M.J. Woodhouse - General Relativity (there's a Special Relativity book as well)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1846284864/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ohanian - Gravitation and Spacetime

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1107012945/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ludvigsen - General Relativity (A Geometric Approach)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/052163976X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

UPDATE:

My earlier answer above assumed that physics majors would be studying the material.

Here are some choices for a less technical audience:

Tom Moore - A General Relativity Workbook

http://pages.pomona.edu/~tmoore/grw/

(I didn't get to teach with this because the school bookstore wouldn't get this because it couldn't be "rented".

I chose Hartle instead.)

Andrew Steane - Relativity Made Relatively Easy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/019966286X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

(old lecture notes now published... possibly too advanced for typical undergraduates)

Robert Geroch - General Relativity: 1972 Lecture Notes

http://www.minkowskiinstitute.org/mip/books/geroch-gr.html

(Wald says that Geroch influenced some of his presentations of topics.)

- More of Geroch notes (some very rough)

http://home.uchicago.edu/~geroch/Course Notes (and see the parent directory)

some older ones:

Ellis & Williams - Flat and Curved Space-Times

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198506562/?tag=pfamazon01-20

N.M.J. Woodhouse - General Relativity (there's a Special Relativity book as well)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1846284864/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ohanian - Gravitation and Spacetime

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1107012945/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ludvigsen - General Relativity (A Geometric Approach)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/052163976X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

UPDATE:

My earlier answer above assumed that physics majors would be studying the material.

Here are some choices for a less technical audience:

- https://www.amazon.com/dp/0226288641/?tag=pfamazon01-20
- the Schutz book (Gravity from the Ground Up) - as mentioned above
- some of Taylor & Wheeler materials - as mentioned above

Last edited:

- #6

StenEdeback

- 54

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Thank you very much!Here are some newer ones to consider:

Tom Moore - A General Relativity Workbook

http://pages.pomona.edu/~tmoore/grw/

(I didn't get to teach with this because the school bookstore wouldn't get this because it couldn't be "rented".

I chose Hartle instead.)

Andrew Steane - Relativity Made Relatively Easy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/019966286X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

(old lecture notes now published... possibly too advanced for typical undergraduates)

Robert Geroch - General Relativity: 1972 Lecture Notes

http://www.minkowskiinstitute.org/mip/books/geroch-gr.html

(Wald says that Geroch influenced some of his presentations of topics.)

- More of Geroch notes (some very rough)

http://home.uchicago.edu/~geroch/Course Notes (and see the parent directory)

some older ones:

Ellis & Williams - Flat and Curved Space-Times

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0198506562/?tag=pfamazon01-20

N.M.J. Woodhouse - General Relativity (there's a Special Relativity book as well)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1846284864/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ohanian - Gravitation and Spacetime

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1107012945/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Ludvigsen - General Relativity (A Geometric Approach)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/052163976X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

UPDATE:

My earlier answer above assumed that physics majors would be studying the material.

Here are some choices for a less technical audience:

(from a recent post: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...om-multivariate-calculus.997339/#post-6431113 )

- https://www.amazon.com/dp/0226288641/?tag=pfamazon01-20
- the Schutz book (Gravity from the Ground Up) - as mentioned above
- some of Taylor & Wheeler materials - as mentioned above

- #7

StenEdeback

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You could try this series of lectures from MIT

They are on the MIT website as well. They go quite well with Sean Carroll's book - although that is more advanced than Hartle.

Thank you!

- #8

StenEdeback

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Thank you very much!Thank you very much!

- #9

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- #10

lomidrevo

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/069114558X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

- #11

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the OP's question on https://physics.stackexchange.com/q...vity-at-undergraduate-level?noredirect=1&lq=1

prompted a comment linking to an old page with useful details (with some recent updates)

https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/363/books-for-general-relativity

- #12

StenEdeback

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Thank you!

- #13

StenEdeback

- 54

- 34

Thank you!

- #14

StenEdeback

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Thank you!

the OP's question on https://physics.stackexchange.com/q...vity-at-undergraduate-level?noredirect=1&lq=1

prompted a comment linking to an old page with useful details (with some recent updates)

https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/363/books-for-general-relativity

- #15

StenEdeback

- 54

- 34

Thank you!

the OP's question on https://physics.stackexchange.com/q...vity-at-undergraduate-level?noredirect=1&lq=1

prompted a comment linking to an old page with useful details (with some recent updates)

https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/363/books-for-general-relativity

- #16

StenEdeback

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Thank you!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/069114558X/?tag=pfamazon01-20

- #17

Daverz

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The book by Ta-Pei Cheng,

I like Zee. It has tons of cool stuff in it. But that's what makes it less than ideal for a first pass: too much stuff.

D'Inverno has also become one of my favorite books, but I'd label it a graduate text.

If Tevian Dray rewrote his General Relativity book so that it is more coherent for linear study, it could be the best introduction.

- #18

StenEdeback

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Thank you!

The book by Ta-Pei Cheng,A College Course on Relativity and Cosmology,is similar in intent.

I like Zee. It has tons of cool stuff in it. But that's what makes it less than ideal for a first pass: too much stuff.

D'Inverno has also become one of my favorite books, but I'd label it a graduate text.

If Tevian Dray rewrote his General Relativity book so that it is more coherent for linear study, it could be the best introduction.

- #19

MidgetDwarf

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Summary::I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

I am looking for a good introductory book about general relativity at undergraduate level.

May be a bit off topic, but if you ever want to learn Special Relativity, give Spacetime Physics a gander. Look for the red edition.

Now for General Relativity. What is your math background?

- #20

StenEdeback

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I have a masters exam in electronics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. There, many years ago, I did extra studies for pleasure of tensor calculus and also some general theory of relativity. For a little more than a year I have now studied, just for fun, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and electrodynamics and some mathematics. I am now studying group theory, planning soon to study quantum field theory and hopefully later M theory and superstring theory.May be a bit off topic, but if you ever want to learn Special Relativity, give Spacetime Physics a gander. Look for the red edition.

Now for General Relativity. What is your math background?

- #21

Daverz

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I have a masters exam in electronics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. There, many years ago, I did extra studies for pleasure of tensor calculus and also some general theory of relativity. For a little more than a year I have now studied, just for fun, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and electrodynamics and some mathematics. I am now studying group theory, planning soon to study quantum field theory and hopefully later M theory and superstring theory.

In that case, it sounds like Zee's book is exactly the sort of thing you'd enjoy.

- #22

StenEdeback

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Thank you very much! Then I will read Zee's book. By the way, I have a hard time finding a book about group theory that I like and that gives me what I need for my studies. Can you recommend suc´h a book?In that case, it sounds like Zee's book is exactly the sort of thing you'd enjoy.

- #23

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M. Hamermesh, Group Theory and its application to physical problems, Dover (1989)

Another one is

H. J. Lipkin, Lie groups for Pedestrians, North-Holland Publ. Comp. (1966).

- #24

StenEdeback

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Thank you! What about Zee's group theory book?

M. Hamermesh, Group Theory and its application to physical problems, Dover (1989)

Another one is

H. J. Lipkin, Lie groups for Pedestrians, North-Holland Publ. Comp. (1966).

- #25

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- #26

atyy

Science Advisor

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http://www.blau.itp.unibe.ch/GRLecturenotes.html

Lecture Notes on General Relativity

Matthias Blau

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/tong/gr.html

Lectures on General Relativity

David Tong

- #27

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For me it is a big no. If you can get your hands on Wu Ki Tung's book, it is all you need for group theory in physics without invoking sofisticated mathematics. It takes you from 0 to Young Tableaux for the classical groups, which are a foundation for Quantum Chromodynamics and Electroweak Theory in the Standard Model. It goes through the Lorentz group smoothly, without trying to attempt finesse which Zee misses (real vs complex, real vs complexified vs real forms of complexified Lie algebras).Thank you! What about Zee's group theory book?

As for GR, I only recommend two books: Ray D'Inverno's (first level) and Wald's (second and third level). If the latter is too expensive as a used book, then perhaps Norbert Straumann's text should serve the same spot, if found at a decent price.

- #28

StenEdeback

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Yes, it is personal.

- #29

StenEdeback

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Thank you very much! I will look at the books you have suggested.For me it is a big no. If you can get your hands on Wu Ki Tung's book, it is all you need for group theory in physics without invoking sofisticated mathematics. It takes you from 0 to Young Tableaux for the classical groups, which are a foundation for Quantum Chromodynamics and Electroweak Theory in the Standard Model. It goes through the Lorentz group smoothly, without trying to attempt finesse which Zee misses (real vs complex, real vs complexified vs real forms of complexified Lie algebras).

As for GR, I only recommend two books: Ray D'Inverno's (first level) and Wald's (second and third level). If the latter is too expensive as a used book, then perhaps Norbert Straumann's text should serve the same spot, if found at a decent price.

- #30

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I don't think it's been mentioned that Sean Carroll's notes are online here:Thank you very much! I will look at the books you have suggested.

https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/grnotes

These form the basis of his GR textbook.

- #31

StenEdeback

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Thank you very much!I don't think it's been mentioned that Sean Carroll's notes are online here:

https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/grnotes

These form the basis of his GR textbook.

- #32

haushofer

Science Advisor

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I really like Zee's book, because they offer a lot of intuition, insights and context. That compensates the lack of rigour more than enough.Yes, it is personal.

Also, they're actually fun to read. As a reviewer wrote: "his books are not meant for you to become experts, but to fal in love with the subject." Personally, I don't have the ambition to become an expert. I mainly want to be amazed and get an intuitive understanding. Al that rigorous math is easily forgotten anyway. But maybe I'm braindamaged.

- #33

PAllen

Science Advisor

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Scanned PDFs of Wald are easy to find on the internet. I won’t link, because I am not sure about the legalities for different countries.For me it is a big no. If you can get your hands on Wu Ki Tung's book, it is all you need for group theory in physics without invoking sofisticated mathematics. It takes you from 0 to Young Tableaux for the classical groups, which are a foundation for Quantum Chromodynamics and Electroweak Theory in the Standard Model. It goes through the Lorentz group smoothly, without trying to attempt finesse which Zee misses (real vs complex, real vs complexified vs real forms of complexified Lie algebras).

As for GR, I only recommend two books: Ray D'Inverno's (first level) and Wald's (second and third level). If the latter is too expensive as a used book, then perhaps Norbert Straumann's text should serve the same spot, if found at a decent price.

- #34

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Well, the qft book is not that brillant. You can read it if you have already good knowledge about the topic. Then it offers entertaining approaches to the known topics, but imho usually it's not detailed enough for the beginner to really understand the topic. I don't mean the lack of rigor. Rigor in QFT is something for the mathematicians to work out. One should be aware that it's an unsolved problem. Except for toy models in lower dimensions afaik there's no rigorous non-perturbative treatment of real-world QFTs, let alone the Standard Model.I really like Zee's book, because they offer a lot of intuition, insights and context. That compensates the lack of rigour more than enough.

Also, they're actually fun to read. As a reviewer wrote: "his books are not meant for you to become experts, but to fal in love with the subject." Personally, I don't have the ambition to become an expert. I mainly want to be amazed and get an intuitive understanding. Al that rigorous math is easily forgotten anyway. But maybe I'm braindamaged.

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