# Intermediate SR textbook

• Relativity
• Orodruin
In summary, I am reshaping my course on special relativity (master level intermediate relativity course, I am getting it back after having the GR course instead for a number of years) and I find myself wanting to include two things:- A more geometrical approach to Minkowski space.- Basic classical relativistic field theory in Lagrangian form. Essentially discussing the restrictions arising from requiring the Lagrangian density to be a Lorentz scalar and the resulting implications for scalar and vector fields (essentially the classical KG field and electromagnetism).I have some trouble finding a good textbook, particularly when it comes to the second requirement. Does anyone know of any good choices?f

#### Orodruin

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I am reshaping my course on special relativity (master level intermediate relativity course, I am getting it back after having the GR course instead for a number of years) and I find myself wanting to include two things:

- A more geometrical approach to Minkowski space.
- Basic classical relativistic field theory in Lagrangian form. Essentially discussing the restrictions arising from requiring the Lagrangian density to be a Lorentz scalar and the resulting implications for scalar and vector fields (essentially the classical KG field and electromagnetism).

I have some trouble finding a good textbook, particularly when it comes to the second requirement. Does anyone know of any good choices?

Edit: It won't hurt if it also includes introductory GR as many students will be taking both courses.

@vanhees71 @robphy @PeroK (or anyone else)

Wrichik Basu and berkeman
vanhees71
I am reshaping my course on special relativity (master level intermediate relativity course, I am getting it back after having the GR course instead for a number of years) and I find myself wanting to include two things:

- A more geometrical approach to Minkowski space.
- Basic classical relativistic field theory in Lagrangian form. Essentially discussing the restrictions arising from requiring the Lagrangian density to be a Lorentz scalar and the resulting implications for scalar and vector fields (essentially the classical KG field and electromagnetism).

I have some trouble finding a good textbook, particularly when it comes to the second requirement. Does anyone know of any good choices?

Edit: It won't hurt if it also includes introductory GR as many students will be taking both courses.

@vanhees71 @robphy @PeroK (or anyone else)
Concerning classical relativistic field theory, I like

D. E. Soper, Classical field theory, Dover Publications, Minneola, New York (2008).

dealing with (ideal) fluid dynamics, elastics, and (in-medium) electrodynamics, everything based on the action principle (Lagrangian).

dextercioby, Orodruin and malawi_glenn
Soper's book is built on an older one by Asim Barut.

vanhees71
This set of books by Andrew Steane ( https://users.physics.ox.ac.uk/~Steane/ ) might be something of possible interest:

I haven't looked at these in detail

Relativity Made Relatively Easy: vol 1 and vol 2
https://www.amazon.com/dp/019966286X/?tag=pfamazon01-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0192893548/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Also possibly interesting (based on their tables of contents):
Relativity Matters by Johann Rafelski
https://www.amazon.com/dp/3319512307/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Core Principles of Special and General Relativity
by James Luscombe
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138542946/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Maybe Joe Minahans lecture notes would work https://www.physics.uu.se/digitalAssets/405/c_405910-l_3-k_specrel.pdf
IIRC it does not treat KG, but tensors, EM and Lagrangians.
(I used them when I took his relativity course about 15y ago)
Fun fact: I sat in the same PhD grading committee as Joe this past spring. We both questioned the respondent’s claim that there are no Weyl fermions in the standard model …

D. E. Soper, Classical field theory, Dover Publications, Minneola, New York (2008).
This is so cheap I had to order it on the spot.

Will look into the rest of the suggestions also of course.

malawi_glenn
We both questioned the respondent’s claim that there are no Weyl fermions in the standard model …
What kind of fermions did the respondent think were in the SM?

This set of books by Andrew Steane ( https://users.physics.ox.ac.uk/~Steane/ ) might be something of possible interest:

I haven't looked at these in detail

Relativity Made Relatively Easy: vol 1 and vol 2
https://www.amazon.com/dp/019966286X/?tag=pfamazon01-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0192893548/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Also possibly interesting (based on their tables of contents):
Relativity Matters by Johann Rafelski
https://www.amazon.com/dp/3319512307/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Core Principles of Special and General Relativity
by James Luscombe
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138542946/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Be careful with Rafelsky's book...

I have not looked at Rafelsky, but agree with @vanhees71 . Johann Rafelsky has an..um...unique way of looking at things. That may be agood, It may not be.

vanhees71
- A more geometrical approach to Minkowski space.
- Basic classical relativistic field theory in Lagrangian form. Essentially discussing the restrictions arising from requiring the Lagrangian density to be a Lorentz scalar and the resulting implications for scalar and vector fields (essentially the classical KG field and electromagnetism).
Probably too abstract and/or too advanced and/or too detailed, but the book "Special Relativity in General Frames" by Eric Gourgoulhon has some really nice geometrical stuff.

The Bill, Orodruin and vanhees71
Probably too abstract and/or too advanced and/or too detailed, but the book "Special Relativity in General Frames" by Eric Gourgoulhon has some really nice geometrical stuff.
This looks quite promising. It is very extensive at about 800 pages, probably too much for my 1/4 semester course, but it turns out my university has a Springer subscription so it should be available to the students for free in electronic form, which is a big plus.

SolarisOne and vanhees71
probably too much for my 1/4 semester course

Are you saying that your course is a short course lasting 0.25 semesters?
(Maybe I am misunderstanding "1/4 semester".)

vanhees71
[...](master level intermediate relativity course, [...]

- A more geometrical approach to Minkowski space.
Since the course is "master level", have you considered abandoning the light postulate?

vanhees71
It is very extensive at about 800 pages, probably too much for my 1/4 semester course

Are you saying that your course is a short course lasting 0.25 semesters?
(Maybe I am misunderstanding "1/4 semester".)
If so, here 1/4 semester would be nine 50-minute lectures, or about 89 pages per lecture!

Are you saying that your course is a short course lasting 0.25 semesters?
(Maybe I am misunderstanding "1/4 semester".)
It runs over half a semester, but the credits correspond to 1/4 of the semester so typically students take several courses at the same time.

I have 12 90-minute lectures.

vanhees71
If so, here 1/4 semester would be nine 50-minute lectures, or about 89 pages per lecture!
So … significantly below my usual pace!

SolarisOne, vanhees71 and George Jones
Be careful with Rafelsky's book...
Can you explicitly state the reason for this?

I have not looked at Rafelsky, but agree with @vanhees71 . Johann Rafelsky has an..um...unique way of looking at things. That may be agood, It may not be.
Is it possible for you to expound on your statement?

Daverz
A blurb from the back cover of Rafelski's book:

Rafelski presents Special Relativity in a language deemed accessible to students without any topical preparation - avoiding the burden of geometry, tensor calculus, and space-time symmetries – and yet advancing in highly contemporary context all the way to research frontiers.​

That's unusual...

PhDeezNutz, berkeman and shinobi20
This book I don't even mention. It's even worse than the other one ("Relaivity matters").

avoiding the burden of geometry, tensor calculus, and space-time symmetries
So ... physics without the actual insights ...

PhDeezNutz, malawi_glenn, berkeman and 1 other person