Lenny Susskind Has Done It Again - General Relativity

In summary, Lenny Hestenes's latest book is a popular and well-written book on general relativity. It covers the mathematics in a clear and concise way, and is perfect for someone with a basic understanding of calculus.
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This time with General Relativity:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1541601777/?tag=pfamazon01-20

I got a copy as soon as I noticed it. And it is good - as all his books are.

Notice - number one best seller. Lenny deserves a medal.

There is a genuine thirst for science beyond banal popularisations. I am sorry I get emotional when the public embraces the real deal - it gives me hope for a much more scientifically literate future.

Now for the long-awaited one on Quantum Field Theory.

Thanks
Bill
 
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I'm planning to get the book too. I have his others read most of the CM book, and part way through the QM book but haven't touched the special relativity book.

What math is he using in his descriptions tensor math, or differential forms or geometric calculus or something else?

I ask because Hestenes had been pushing the use of geometric calculus in GR:

http://geocalc.clas.asu.edu/pdf/SpacetimeGeometry.w.GC.proc.pdf

EDIT: Answered my own question -> Lenny used Tensor math which makes sense to use the traditional math Einstein used in his seminal paper.

Wondering if he will tackle EM next?
 
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jedishrfu said:
Wondering if he will tackle EM next?
He covered a lot in his Special Relativity book.
 
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jedishrfu said:
What math is he using in his descriptions tensor math, or differential forms or geometric calculus or something else?

The usual tensor calculus - not differential forms.

Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #5
Yeah, I looked at the preview on Amazon and saw that they were using tensor calculus. I studied that ages ago using the McConnell Dover book on Tensor Analysis. My math prof let me do an independent study in it and I remember getting up to the Frenet Serret formuli before we called it quits (10 week course).

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R8Y3R9H
 
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I haven't seen it, but I have to say that I don't like his style. At least the things written by him that I have read. It always seems too chatty. Spending too much time on small talk and then not covering some of the more interesting parts.
 
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You have to remember his audience and the need to limit to the math hence the chattiness. I recall one time publishers saying to Stephen Hawking that every equation added to your book will reduce sales by so much but Lenny is bucking the trend because his audience is more savvy want the math but are math rusty.
 
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  • #8
martinbn said:
I haven't seen it, but I have to say that I don't like his style. At least the things written by him that I have read. It always seems too chatty. Spending too much time on small talk and then not covering some of the more interesting parts.

That is not an uncommon reaction. I like it personally. The thing that makes it special is its real science with math, yet a popular book - not a textbook. That makes it unique. When someone says they want to know more about QM I point them to that book. It leaves others for dead and prepares you for stuff a bit more advanced if you want to pursue it further eg:



Thanks
Bill
 
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  • #9
Does it include all the necessary tensor math in the book?
 
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Muu9 said:
Does it include all the necessary tensor math in the book?

Yes. That's one thing that makes Lenny's books unique. You only need to know some vaguely remembered calculus you learnt at HS or College. It is still counted as a popular book rather than a textbook. You start with Lenny's book, then proceed to a beginner's textbook, an intermediate textbook, and then more advanced ones. For GR, I would suggest Lenny's book, followed by the beginners' textbook:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1074054652/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Then Sean Carrols Lecture Notes:
https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/grnotes/

The final reference, if you are serious, is either MTW or Wald:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691177791/?tag=pfamazon01-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0226870332/?tag=pfamazon01-20

I have both. MTW is the more popular and good at developing intuition with solid mathematical grounding. Wald has greater mathematical rigour, is more suited to those like me with a background in math, and is considered by many to be the more modern (even though it is over 30 years old :DD:DD:DD:DD:DD). My recommendation is to get both and take your time going through both.

John Baez's view has been tweeted here:


Of course, any questions or issues can be posted here.

Thanks
Bill
 
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bhobba said:
Yes. That's one thing that makes Lenny's books unique. You only need to know some vaguely remembered calculus you learnt at HS or College. It is still counted as a popular book rather than a textbook. You start with Lenny's book, then proceed to a beginner's textbook, an intermediate textbook, and then more advanced ones. For GR, I would suggest Lenny's book, followed by the beginners' textbook:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1074054652/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Then Sean Carrols Lecture Notes:
https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/grnotes/

The final reference, if you are serious, is either MTW or Wald:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0691177791/?tag=pfamazon01-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0226870332/?tag=pfamazon01-20

I have both. MTW is the more popular and good at developing intuition with solid mathematical grounding. Wald has greater mathematical rigour, is more suited to those like me with a background in math, and is considered by many to be the more modern (even though it is over 30 years old :DD:DD:DD:DD:DD). My recommendation is to get both and take your time going through both.

John Baez's view has been tweeted here:


Of course, any questions or issues can be posted here.

Thanks
Bill

Have you read Relativity Visualized by Lewis Carroll Epstein? It's another popular/beginner book
 
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  • #12
jedishrfu said:
[...] I recall one time publishers saying to Stephen Hawking that every equation added to your book will reduce sales by so much [,,,]
Actually, it was Roger Penrose, but still good of you that you brought that relevant remark to attention.
 
  • #13
Muu9 said:
Have you read Relativity Visualized by Lewis Carroll Epstein? It's another popular/beginner book
Sorry - I don't know that one.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #14
apostolosdt said:
jedishrfu said:
[...] I recall one time publishers saying to Stephen Hawking that every equation added to your book will reduce sales by so much [,,,]
Actually, it was Roger Penrose, but still good of you that you brought that relevant remark to attention.

from medium.com/predict/stephen-hawkings-a-brief-history-of-time-remembered-4003e560c95
"The desire to reach a wider audience influenced one of Hawking’s major decisions in the presentation of the book. Simon Mitton at Cambridge University Press had warned Hawking to drop all but one equation, Einstein’s E=mc². Hawking refers to this in his acknowledgements, claiming that for every equation he featured his sales would drop by half."

Hawking (A Brief History of Time, page vi, 1990, maybe also in 1988)
"Someone told me that each equation I included in the book
would halve the sales. I therefore resolved not to have any equations
at all. In the end, however, I did put in one equation, Einstein’s famous equation E=mc^2."

Penrose (The Road to Reality, page xv, 2004)
"The reader will find that in this book I have not shied away from
presenting mathematical formulae, despite dire warnings of the severe
reduction in readership that this will entail."
 
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  • #15
robphy, thanks for that very informative correction! Appreciated!
 
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