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Mathmatics Needed

  1. Jul 19, 2006 #1
    I was just wondering if anyone is able to give me a list of mathmatical areas that i will need to learn before i am able to start to learn about the special and general therories of relativity?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2006 #2
    linear algebra(vectors/matices) and some basic knowledge of tensors and understanding mathematical proofs..oh yeah and how to take data from a diagram/graph
  4. Jul 19, 2006 #3
    SR: Nothing really. Presumably you know basic calculus and linear algebra.

    GR: They'll teach you most of the math as you go, but it's quite intensive. You should have classical mechanics and SR, and classical field theory (EM). Linear algebra is a strong prerequisite - the subject is heavy with multilinear algebra and tensors.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006
  5. Jul 19, 2006 #4


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    To learn SR, you need only high school algebra.

    To learn GR you will need tensor calculus and differential geometry - and a good knowledge of SR. Other elements of physics would also be extremely handy - for instance, a tensor-oriented view of SR & electromagnetism (ala Jackson), and some knowledge of classical hydrodynamics (much more sensible to learn it in flat space-time first than trying to master it in curved).
  6. Jul 19, 2006 #5


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    in addition to linear algebra (mentioned above),
    learn euclidean and riemannian geometry using vector and tensor methods.
    Learn to draw and interpret spacetime diagrams.

    Pay attention to the mathematical definitions and their physical interpretation.
  7. Jul 19, 2006 #6
    Do you know of any good websites where I could learn this?
  8. Jul 19, 2006 #7

    Here is one for tensors:


    Do not start with this. You will use it much later , when you get to coordinate-independent SR/GR
  9. Jul 19, 2006 #8


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    Have you googled spacetime diagrams?
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