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Recommend good Special relativity texts

  1. Dec 8, 2011 #1
    Hello, i am reading ahead for my special relativity class next year.
    I was wondering if anyone could recommend some good special relativity texts. I would like it to be quite mathematical/geometric, but also include physical intuition. I am not interested in any semi popular books (i have read these), i want rigorous textbooks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2011 #2
  4. Dec 8, 2011 #3
    Thanks Kevin, have you read it? If so could you tell me how mathematically rigorous the latter chapters are?

    It looks like good physical intuition is presented, but it seems trivial, at least for the early chapters. It seems way too simplistic for my purposes.
  5. Dec 8, 2011 #4
    I wouldn't be able to tell you since I haven't read it. The third part gets into more detail when it starts to discuss Lorentz Transformations. I heard it's a very good book for intuition and as an introduction, the math in special relativity is fairly trivial nothing really gets overly complicated, general relativity on the other hand is very complicated.

    I also heard that it uses a more modern approach to describe special relativity, in the past author's used ideas such as relativistic mass to describe certain properties of special relativity that isn't really right. This book focuses on the more accepted ideas.
  6. Dec 8, 2011 #5
    yes, i understand that, in my mathematics classes i allready have covered tensor analysis and differential geometry, but i am required to take SR before GR in by the physics department. So i was interested in a problem focused book as well, one which will give me a good shot at topping the exams.
  7. Dec 8, 2011 #6
    Ahh, okay. In that case I'm not sure if you want to start with Schutz which is a primarily a general relativity text but the first 100 or so pages is on special relativity (you probably won't get the same intuition as the book I recommended before though):

  8. Dec 8, 2011 #7
    Try to read the first 46 pages of Landau/Lifshitz 'The Classical Theory of Fields' before reading anything else, I wish I had.
    Maybe read it concurrently with Susskind's SR lectures:
    As for an SR text emphasizing the geometric viewpoint in Susskind's lectures, well The Geometry of Spacetime is the best thing I could find.
    The most mathematical book I found is Naber's Geometry of Minkowski Spacetime.
    As for a problems book: Special Relativity: An Introduction with 200 Problems and Solutions
    Mix all this with Spacetime Physics & I'd think you'd be getting enough of a varied viewpoint.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. Dec 8, 2011 #8


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    Chapters 14, 15, 16 of Franklin "Classical Electromagnetism" give a good treatment of special relativity.
  10. Dec 8, 2011 #9
    Chapter 14 of Thornton's "Classical dynamics of particles and systems" has a good intro too
  11. Dec 8, 2011 #10
    Special Relativity is not as mathematically rigorous as General Relativity. In fact, most Special Relativity textbooks barely even use calculus.

    Check out Introduction to Special Relativity by Resnick.
  12. Dec 12, 2011 #11
    I second the recommendation for Naber's "Geometry of Minkowski Spacetime", I really like how he presented the mathematical structures of special relativity, but the focus is on rigorous mathematics, not the physics.
  13. Dec 12, 2011 #12
    Taylor seems to have a good chapter on Special Relativity which should give you a nice general overview in his "Classical Mechanics" textbook.
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