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Relativity, Gravitation, and Cosmology

  1. May 2, 2006 #1


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    Hi all,
    I'm going to spend my summer doing some self-study in the subjects which I'll be covering in the future and I think it'd be a great time to dive into relativity. I've had some education in special relativity but I've never dealt with general relativity. I'd like a good, thorough textbook on both and was leaning towards "A First Course in General Relativity" by Shutz but I've also seen "Relativity, Gravitation, and Cosmology : A Basic Introduction" by Cheng recommended. Which do you think would be better for someone entering their senior year in college? I'm pretty sure the course taught at my university uses Schutz, but that could vary depending on who is teaching.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2006 #2

    George Jones

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    Before you make a decision you might want to read these 2 articles on teaching general relativity - one by Wald, and one by Hartle.

    I recommend Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity by Hartle, which I think is a pedagogical masterpiece. I give more detailed reasons here. In this post, I refer to Exploring Black Holes by Taylor and Wheeler.

    The January 2005 issue of Physics Today contains a review of Hartle, and of Carroll, a nice, more advanced book.

    If Schutz, which I also like, is going to be used for your course, maybe you should go with it, but if you do study Hartle, you might find that sudying both will give you a deeper understanding of GR than you would achieve by studying either one separately.

    If you do decide to study GR this summer, the Special & General Relativity forum here is a good place to ask questions, as relativity gurus like pervect and robphy hang out there.

    Finally, I am not familiar with Cheng, but I may take it out from the library in order to have a look.

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