I want to learn special relativity. More details below

In summary: As an alternative to Taylor & Wheeler, you could start with Morin's book, as the first chapter is free online:If you are serious and study a bit every day, I'd give yourself 4-6 weeks to understand the first chapter of Morin.
  • #1
rgtr
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I want to learn special relativity.I have read a tiny bit of 2nd edition of Spacetime Physics: Introduction to Special Relativity and am liking it. Is it a good book? I also want problems to solve. I tried Special Relativity: For the Enthusiastic Beginner but found it to difficult. Does anyone have any suggestions.Also my knowledge of physics is limited but I figure I can learn classical physics as I go along.I am open to reading any book. I just don't like books that give you questions that the book don't explain.
I would prefer a book I can access online for free.

The book Spacetime Physics: Introduction to Special Relativity, is the 1st addition or the 2nd addition better? Because I heard the 2nd addition is worse.Also if possible I would like the book to have answer key. I also want to learn general relativity but that is way down the line.
Thanks for any advice.
 
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  • #3
From my limited knowledge in order to study general relativity you need more topics then just special relativity but after finishing the book will I have sufficiently covered the topic of special relativity for general relativity?
 
  • #4
rgtr said:
From my limited knowledge in order to study general relativity you need more topics then just special relativity but after finishing the book will I have sufficiently covered the topic of special relativity for general relativity?
Have you studied multivariable calculus, including the multivariable chain rule?
 
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  • #6
George Jones said:
Have you studied multivariable calculus, including the multivariable chain rule?
No but I can learn it.
 
  • #7
rgtr said:
From my limited knowledge in order to study general relativity you need more topics then just special relativity but after finishing the book will I have sufficiently covered the topic of special relativity for general relativity?
Many GR books cover the necessary SR as well. Schutz, for example, does a really good job.

Bernard Schutz, A First Course in General Relativity, 2nd Edition

 
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  • #8
But don't I need to know calculus and multivariable calculus? Also how much knowledge of GR do I need to understand the field of warp drive physics? I find warp drives interesting.
 
  • #9
Daverz said:
Many GR books cover the necessary SR as well. Schutz, for example, does a really good job.

Bernard Schutz, A First Course in General Relativity, 2nd Edition

I just made a new comment and forgot to hit reply.
 
  • #10
rgtr said:
But don't I need to know calculus and multivariable calculus? Also how much knowledge of GR do I need to understand the field of warp drive physics? I find warp drives interesting.

Yes, so I'd still try to hunt down the maroon paperback first edition of Spacetime Physics.

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Se...716703365&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-used

(Not affiliated with abebooks. They are a good site to find exactly the edition you want.)

 
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  • #11
I have a few questions that I will ask later but what feeds energy into the system to accelerate?
 
  • #12
rgtr said:
Also how much knowledge of GR do I need to understand the field of warp drive physics?
A lot. It is quite a few steps past Taylor and Wheeler.

Why not take the first step?
 
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  • #13
rgtr said:
I have a few questions that I will ask later but what feeds energy into the system to accelerate?

feel free to ask…. But not here in this thread about textbooks. Start a new thread in the appropriate subforum.
 
  • #14
Vanadium 50 said:
A lot. It is quite a few steps past Taylor and Wheeler.

Why not take the first step?
Followup question should I learn the math first then tackle schultz's book or should I try wheeler book then learn the math for gr? Can someone list the math necessary to learn? I Just know high school algebra
 
  • #15
rgtr said:
I Just know high school algebra
You have about six years to go. You should start with Taylor and Wheeler. When you're finished with that, we can talk about the next steps.
 
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  • #16
rgtr said:
Followup question should I learn the math first then tackle schultz's book or should I try wheeler book then learn the math for gr? Can someone list the math necessary to learn? I Just know high school algebra
As an alternative to Taylor & Wheeler, you could start with Morin's book, as the first chapter is free online:

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/david-morin/files/relativity_chap_1.pdf

If you are serious and study a bit every day, I'd give yourself 4-6 weeks to understand the first chapter of Morin.

Schutz's book is graduate level, so that will be way too advanced for a first step.

Re mathematics, you only need high school maths for SR. GR is a different ball-game altogether. If you find you can't get through Morin because you don't understand the mathematics, then you'll have to revise high-school maths - in particular, algebra, trigonometry and differentiation.
 
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Related to I want to learn special relativity. More details below

1. What is special relativity?

Special relativity is a theory developed by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century that describes the relationship between space and time. It states that the laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion, and that the speed of light is constant regardless of the observer's frame of reference.

2. Why is it important to learn special relativity?

Special relativity is important because it has revolutionized our understanding of the universe and has led to many advancements in modern physics. It also plays a crucial role in technologies such as GPS and particle accelerators.

3. What are the key concepts of special relativity?

The key concepts of special relativity include the principle of relativity, the constancy of the speed of light, time dilation, length contraction, and the equivalence of mass and energy (E=mc²).

4. How can I learn special relativity?

There are many resources available for learning special relativity, including textbooks, online lectures, and courses. It is important to have a strong foundation in mathematics, particularly calculus, before diving into the subject.

5. What are some real-world applications of special relativity?

Some real-world applications of special relativity include GPS satellites, which use the theory to accurately determine location, and particle accelerators, which use the principles of relativity to study subatomic particles at high speeds. It also plays a role in the development of nuclear energy and understanding the behavior of stars and galaxies.

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