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Gravitation - Thorne, Misner, Wheeler

  1. Dec 10, 2006 #1
    What do you think about this book? What level of mathematics and physics knowledge is needed to understand the material?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    It's an excellent book, though it's presentation is dated. For example, it uses notation that is considered relatively archaic today. Is it excellent for getting a deep understanding of the material, but you might want to supplement it with a more modern text. You will have to supplement it if your intention is to be able to read current literature.

    It's also enormous and pretty wordy, so you might find some parts of it a little tedious. You don't really need much more than an decent undergraduate exposure to math, at least for it's "Track 1" material.

    - Warren
     
  4. Dec 10, 2006 #3
    Where do MTW use archaic notation? They were more enthusiastic about Koszul notation than is common in GR books these days, but that is not archaic notation, it's very much modern notation. Compare with doCarmo, Riemannian Geometry or Kuhnel, Differential Geometry.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2006 #4

    chroot

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    MTW does not use abstract index notation, which is the currently accepted notation.

    - Warren
     
  6. Dec 10, 2006 #5

    Stingray

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    I don't like it very much. I prefer texts that are more rigorous and to-the-point. Wald is excellent, for example, but requires more mathematical sophistication. Still, MTW discusses many things that are not in any other texts. It also has a lot of fun and interesting problems.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2006 #6
    MTW starts out pretty easy and ramps up gradually. If you have physics at the level of, say, the Feynman Lectures volumes 1 & 2, you should be reasonably prepared for track 1. A knowledge of Lagrangian mechanics would probably be helpful as well.
     
  8. Dec 10, 2006 #7
    I think you're way overstating this. None of the following use abstract index notation AFAICT:

    Poisson (2004)
    Carroll (2004)
    Ohanian & Ruffini (1994)
    Felice & Clarke (1992)
    Schutz (1985)

    Of course the difference is very subtle, so maybe I'm wrong. In fact, the difference is so subtle, I'm not sure why anyone would make a big deal about it. In any case, the notation used in MTW is in no way "archaic" relative to current usage, except that nowadays Koszul notation is not used much in GR books.
     
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