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Learning General Relativity

  1. Apr 29, 2012 #1
    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this topic, but I need some opinions.

    I would really love to learn General Relativity. I possess a working knowledge of tensors (namely tensor calculus and analysis).

    Upon doing some research I was told Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler is one of the best books out there however I've also read that it is not ideal for beginners. Is there any other book that would be ideal for me.

    Also, is it necessary to know Special Relativity before learning General Relativity? If so, can someone recommend a good book (my mathematics skills are very advanced).
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2012 #2
    Special relativity isn't difficult. The first few chapters in Schutz go over it in enough detail that, with your math background, you should be able pick it up immediately. Schutz is a good book for beginners, though you're probably ready for something a little more advanced.

    My recommendation is Carroll with Wald as a reference.
  4. Apr 29, 2012 #3


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    This looks like a very good recommendation. I really like Schutz for the chapters about SR, but i'd prefer something else for GR. I like Wald better than Schutz for the GR, but I think it's a bit too hard for most people. I don't know anything about Carroll, but it has a really high rating at Amazon.

    I also recommend the books by John M. Lee for differential geometry. (The ones with "smooth manifolds" and "Riemannian manifolds" in their titles).

    Edit: I didn't see this:
    If this is the case, then Wald is definitely an option. If you have the mathematical maturity, the only problem is that it doesn't really cover SR.
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