# Question Regarding Different Editions of Spacetime Physics by Wheeler

• Relativity
MidgetDwarf
Greetings! I have misplaced my copy of Spacetime Physics by Wheeler (1966 ed/red cover) and wanted to read it again. Was wondering if there is a major difference between the earlier blue hardback?

Staff Emeritus
It's Taylor & Wheeler (and was more Taylor than Wheeler).

The 2nd edition is usually blue. (And many feel the 1st, red, edition is better). I have never seen a hardback first edition. I know they are out there, but they are rare.

Keith_McClary

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Eleven-and-a-half years ago, I wrote

... Taylor and Wheeler, but I like the (red) paperback version of the first edition. I forget why I prefer the first edition over later later edition(s) (I have compared editions). I prefer the paperback version over the hardcover version of the first edition because the paperback edition has solutions (not just answers) to the problems. My battered and beaten copy (I got it while in high school) ...

My memory about the differences between versions is even more fuzzy now than it was then.

Staff Emeritus
Now free!:
2nd edition.

Daverz
The 2nd edition dropped the use of rapidity. I suppose they felt it didn't work pedagogically for their students, but it seemed like a shortsighted mistake.

The fire-engine red paperback edition had the solutions in the back. The blue hardback did not have solutions.

A recent book that emphasizes rapidity (and hyperbolic geometry) is

Tevian Dray, The Geometry of Special Relativity, 2nd Edition

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138063924/?tag=pfamazon01-20

PhDeezNutz
Homework Helper
my blue hardback is apparently the first edition, copyright 1963 and 1966, and is only about 208 pages, lacking the 61 pages of solutions at the end. There is no ISBN but there is a Library of Congress catalog card # 65-13566.

Homework Helper
Gold Member
At an AAPT conference, I asked Edwin Taylor about rapidity being dropped from the 2nd edition. He told me that he dropped rapidity because its users (teachers) reported to him that they didn't use it. A few of us (including Tevian) politely protested and suggested that he put it back in a future edition.

In my opinion, the maroon edition that has worked solutions (and rapidity) is the best version.
(The second edition has some nice touches, but lacks the worked solutions and the use of rapidity.)

(By the way, special relativity uses hyperbolic-trigonometry in a flat spacetime,
not curved hyperbolic-geometry [unless you are studying the mass-shell or the space of velocities])

A recent book that emphasizes rapidity (and hyperbolic geometry) is

Tevian Dray, The Geometry of Special Relativity, 2nd Edition

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1138063924/?tag=pfamazon01-20
I'd like to see what Tevian added in the second edition.
He asked to include my "clock diamonds" area-approach on rotated graph paper.
(It looks like it's in Ch 15... from the contents, preface, and overview.
See p. 143, 147 in the preview/sample.)

https://www.routledge.com/The-Geometry-of-Special-Relativity/Dray/p/book/9781138063921

Last edited:
dextercioby and vanhees71
MidgetDwarf
Thank you all those who replied. I settled on the blue hardback, since I was able to get it for $15 at a local book sale. The content is similar to the red (maroon) edition minus the solutions. Mondayman Mondayman Thank you all those who replied. I settled on the blue hardback, since I was able to get it for$15 at a local book sale. The content is similar to the red (maroon) edition minus the solutions.
I cannot find any edition for cheaper than a few hundred bucks. What a steal.

my blue hardback is apparently the first edition, copyright 1963 and 1966, and is only about 208 pages, lacking the 61 pages of solutions at the end. There is no ISBN but there is a Library of Congress catalog card # 65-13566.
I too have a blue hardback, 208 page version.
But it also shows ISBN 0-7167-0314-9
the printer's key indicates mine is from the 3rd printing ("987654").

I think "Copyright 1963, 1966" means this is the second edition (with the first ed being 1963), but I'm not sure about that

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I think "Copyright 1963, 1966" means this is the second edition (with the first ed being 1963), but I'm not sure about that

I think that 1966 is when the red paperback version (including solutions) of the first edition was released, and that this date was included in later printings of the hardcover first edition. I think that the second edition was published much later.

gmax137
Homework Helper
Gold Member
The hardback may be more expensive.

0-7167-0336-X 269
or:
071670336X 269
might help located an edition with the solutions, where 269 is the number of pages.

My maroon softcover has 208pg+61pg (text+solutions) with isbn 0-7167-0336-X and LOC 65-13566.

Here's my preface page (which is a little different from the one from @gmax137 ).

By the way,
the first 26 pages of the solutions
are available at Ed’s site
https://www.eftaylor.com/pub/stp/STP1stEdExercSolns.pdf

gmax137
Gold Member
Right now the independent 61 page solution manual (1966) is for sale on abebooks. Of course it is $181.26 … I guess this is what was added to red paperback. Last edited: Science Advisor Homework Helper speaking of startling prices, a hard copy like mine is offered on abebooks for over$1400, but 1971 (apparently red) paperbacks are available for about $30. Science Advisor offered on abebooks for over$1400
Used book selling is a mystery to me. OTOH, I have a friend who says "there's an ass for every seat..."

Oh and I like it when they want $1000+ and then want another$4 for shipping. Really?

mathwonk
Gold Member
a hard copy like mine is offered on abebooks for over $1400 Who needs a retirement plan when you own textbooks Science Advisor Homework Helper unfortunately they don't buy them for that, they only sell them. i logged on long ago to a bookstore in portland that offered many of my books at well over$100 each, only to find they were offering me less than \$5 or more often nothing, even for "like new" copies of them.

Frabjous