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Good thorough book for SR?

  1. Aug 16, 2007 #1
    can someone recommend one? i have spacetime physics by wheeler and whoever else and though it's decent and self consistent, it proves too many things by analogy rather rigorously. preferably something that doesn't use any of the common thought experiment like the clock on the train or something like that.
     
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  3. Aug 16, 2007 #2

    robphy

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    Can you give an example of something proved by analogy in Spacetime Physics [that you are unhappy with]? Are you using the classic maroon version [with worked solutions]?
     
  4. Aug 17, 2007 #3
    good book@

    The Romans used to say "De gustibus non est disputandum. According ro my taste
    David Bohm "The Special Theory of Relativity" (Routledge Classics, London New York) 1996.
    I would appreciate your opinion.
     
  5. Aug 17, 2007 #4
    yes maroon

    the existence of the invariant interval is invoked because of its analogy to the invariant distance to euclidean distance. though it is proved using the pedagogical clock/train experiment the interval isn't developed from first principles.

    essentially i'm having and odd problem. i've been studying SR for about two weeks now and i still don't have an intuitive understanding of almost any of it.
     
  6. Aug 17, 2007 #5

    learningphysics

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    Not sure if it's thorough enough... But I liked Wolfgang Rindler's "Introduction to Special Relativity". Thought it was very rigorous. As far as I remember, everything is derived from first principles.
     
  7. Aug 17, 2007 #6

    robphy

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    What is your level of preparation? and at what level are you trying to understand it [and in what time frame]?

    Maybe it's just me.... but it took me much more than two weeks to get an intuitive understanding of any of SR. See my post https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=1230123#post1230123


    In my opinion, you need to learn [in order]
    spacetime diagrams, operational definitions of measurements in relativity [light clock, radar], k-calculus and rapidity, ... , Minkowskian geometry [by analogy at first, but from many possible physical starting points, you can derive everything else using Minkowskian geometry].

    As listed in my first url, I'd suggest first Geroch, Ellis-Williams, and the maroon Taylor-Wheeler. Each offers a unique perspective of the big picture. Other books I came to like: Bondi, Bohm, Moore http://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Guide-Spacetime-Thomas-Moore/dp/0070430276, ...

    Here is the often cited url "Are There Any Good Books on Relativity Theory?"
    http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Administrivia/rel_booklist.html
     
  8. Aug 17, 2007 #7
    I have just started with Rindler's Relativity: Special, General and Cosmological (newer book, 2 Ed.). Another book I recently came across is Gabriel Barton's Introduction to the Relativity Principle (Wiley). While I have not seen it listed among the must-reads of relativity literature, I find this book quite useful. I feel the author takes the time to state everything as clearly as possible. He actually uses the light clock to introduce time-dilation, but this is before introducing the LT, and even the in the chapter on LT, he derives them at the last. The case where the frames may not be oriented in standard configuration is dealt with in an appendix. Yet to read the chapters introducing four-vectors, but the chapter on space-time intervals is more or less straightforward - introduce the expression and prove that the interval is an invariant by substituting the Lorentz transformations, classifying intervals, and a couple of examples on space-time diagrams.

    I have not read many books on relativity, so I can't really say if this better than other 'standard' ones.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2007
  9. Aug 17, 2007 #8

    pervect

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    Taylor & Wheeler is fairly rigorous, in my opinion, though they do use analogies and a rather chatty style (for instance, the Lorentz transforms are compared in detail to a rotation, using the notion of fictional suerveyors).

    I have a suspicion that the OP might like Bondi's book, "Relativity and Common Sense", but it's hard to be sure. It's very inexpensive to buy, being a dover paperback, and there's a reasonable chance one might find it at the library and be able to evaluate it without buying it.
     
  10. Aug 17, 2007 #9

    robphy

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    Naber's book (mentioned in Baez's list)
    http://www.amazon.com/Geometry-Minkowski-Spacetime-Introduction-Mathematics/dp/0486432351
    is somewhat more rigorous [discussing some topics not found in the standard books in SR]...
    but requires more from its reader than Taylor & Wheeler (first chapter available at http://www.eftaylor.com/special.html ).

    I'm not sure if a "rigorous" treatment will necessarily lead to a better "[physical] intuition" for relativity. There are lots of books that describe the Lorentz Group, rigorously from a group theoretic viewpoint,... but I don't think one is likely to get much physical intuition from them. I think one needs to see the clocks and the rods [or better worldlines and light rays] at some level.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2007 #10
    i've returned the spacetime physics book to the library and i've checked out a book on mathematical methods; maybe my familiarity with hyperbolic functions and the complex plane aren't sufficient. but can someone tell me why in the world all upper level physics books don't have the answers to the assigned problems? how am i supposed to know if i've done the problem right?
     
  12. Aug 17, 2007 #11
    I'd also recommend Rindler's Relativity: Special, General, and Cosmological. It has about the same amount of material as Rindler's SR book, but also has the GR material at the same price.
     
  13. Aug 17, 2007 #12

    robphy

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  14. Aug 18, 2007 #13
    short and concise.
     
  15. Aug 18, 2007 #14
  16. Aug 18, 2007 #15

    robphy

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