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Introductory Special Relativity book? UK

  1. Jun 9, 2010 #1

    I'm an undergrad studying Materials Science in the UK and hope to move more and more towards physics in my academic career, and was wondering if anyone new of any good books to introduce Special Relativity, I can do basic calculus, and I am OK with classical mechanics, and know a little about electromagnetism.

    The uni I attend offer a Physics undergraduate degree, and one of the recommended text for the second year modules 'Electromagnetism and Special Relativity I' is 'Special Relativity' by A.P.Fench. Had anyone used this book?

    And also are there any other relevant books available in the UK that would be of use?


  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2010 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jun 10, 2010 #3
    The few books that I would mention are:





    I would probably go with Rindler's book if I had to choose out of those four with French being a close second (as in they seemed pretty similar if I remember correctly). Woodhouse's book is alright but I prefer the other two. Taylor and Wheeler's book has some nice descriptions and explanations but I always felt that it was not formal enough with the math. You would probably not go wrong with Rindler or French. See if they're in the library, it's probably worth having a look through them.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  5. Jun 10, 2010 #4
    French's book is good. But Traveller's guide to Spacetime is more modern and gets immediately to the point in an extraordinary clear way.
  6. Jun 10, 2010 #5
    My advice is to start with the Traveller's Guide which explains to you the basic physical principles and ideas in a lucid, modern and mathematical way and then move to something with more details, both historical and theoretical.
  7. Jun 10, 2010 #6
    I suggest It's About Time by N. David Mermin as a supplement to the more formal texts. Mermin has been thinking about how to teach relativity for more than 40 years, and the derivations are extremely clever.
  8. Jun 10, 2010 #7

    George Jones

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    I agree with Goldbeetle's comments. I haven't looked at Mermin's book; I think I'll put it on my "to get" list.
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